The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Program provides need-based scholarships and supports a community of undergraduate student leaders who have demonstrated a significant commitment to off-campus service activities.
Named in honor of legendary Cal alumnus Peter E. Haas, who was known for his deep compassion for helping others, the program seeks to grow a new generation of leaders committed to helping society.
Adrian Alejandro Chavez, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare & Education Major
Adrian Alejandro Chavez is a first-generation Chicano scholar at UC Berkeley, pursuing a B.A. in Social Welfare and a minor in Public Policy. He is a native of Azusa, CA, and was raised by a courageous single mother of five. Adrian’s familial experiences of parental separation due to incarceration and deportation have influenced him to become a community social work professional and university researcher. His research interests are centered in prison mental health treatment programs as they relate to health outcomes for system-affected children and young adults, specifically in regards to early death and suicide. As a Peter E. Haas Leader, Adrian will co-facilitate a Democratic Education at Cal course entitled “Prison & Society: Get On The Bus,” which focuses on how parental incarceration affects children, families, and communities psychologically and socially. Through public service and outreach, students will get hands on experience working within a nonprofit setting and affecting change in the local community.
Amandalynn Peralta, Class of 2016
Social Welfare Major
Amandalynn is a first generation college student pursing a degree in Social Welfare. Growing up in Bellflower, a small town in Southern California, as low-income Black and Mexican-American woman of two hardworking parents, she experienced the intersections between poverty and race at a young age. The hardships that her family have experienced continually serve as a source of inspiration and have fueled her passion for social justice. Her sophomore year she joined the Suitcase Clinic, a student-run organization that provides a safe space for those facing homelessness to receive health and social services. Currently one of the Class Directors, she leads the required training course for new members. Her project focuses on establishing a task force centered on advocacy with the goal of ensuring that clients and their needs are top priorities. Because she has to work and take out loans in order to finance her education, being selected as a Haas Public Service Leader will allow Amandalynn the financial freedom to make this goal a reality.
Amber Benton, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare Major
Amber is a first generation, reentry, transfer student parent and Bay Area native that is working towards a B.A. in Social Welfare. Having fought through a tumultuous upbringing and facing single parenthood Amber strives to give her daughter a better life and to live her dreams. Now a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, Amber is heavily involved in public service and has worked as a mentor for aspiring UCB community college students, works with the ASUC (Associated Students of the University of California) Senator Chris Yamas as the Student Parent issues staffer and has worked with the Student Parent Association for Recruitment and Retention Food Donation’s Program for eight months. She has both witnessed and experienced first hand the struggles that student families face. Amber’s project has the potential to provide food for hundreds of student parent families and is vitally important for the growing numbers of families at UCB that experience hunger and food insecurity. Being chosen as a Haas Leader will give Amber the opportunity to focus on expanding this program and feeding as many families as possible while providing basic resources for her child.
Anabel Lucero Osorio, Class of 2017,
Political Science and Spanish Literature Major
As a daughter of Mexican migrant parents, Anabel has personally seen the difficulties faced by immigrants who come to the United States. She was born and raised in Escondido, California which is home to many immigrant families. She further saw the injustices against the immigrant community in her hometown which has pushed her to bring change and strive to give this marginalized community a voice. During her undergraduate career at UC Berkeley, Anabel has worked with organizations such as East Bay Sanctuary Covenant to aid her in her growth and be better prepared to help her own community at home. In being a first generation, low-income college student, she has faced multiple obstacles during her undergraduate career, but the Peter E. Haas Scholarship will work as a way to alleviate the financial burden in order to keep working to bring about change.
Andre Jocelyne Solís-Flores, Class of 2017,
Psychology and Education Major
Born and raised in Santa Ana and Anaheim, California, Andre is a proud daughter of two hard-working and humble Mexican immigrants. As a 1st generation woman of color, Andre has struggled to navigate the series of institutions and systems that continue to oppress vital parts of her identity. While her mental and emotional health have been often challenged before and during her years at UC Berkeley, she has learned to heal by listening to and absorbing the community wisdom around her. Her first exposure to food justice efforts in the Bay Area through the Alternative Breaks program has since driven her to learn more about food insecurity, educational inequality, mental health disparities and stigma, and community resistance in the face of injustices. The impact of Alternative Breaks in her life has motivated her to continue the Alternative Summer Internships program which will strengthen the partnership between students and community.
Andres Iniguez, Class of 2017,
Political Science Major
Andres Iniguez is a fourth year political science major minoring in disability studies at UC Berkeley. He was born in South Central Los Angeles to hardworking parents from Mexico and is a first generation college student. Due to his area of study and his upbringing, Andres has developed a strong interest in public service and public policy geared towards social justice. Learning about the underrepresentation and discrimination faced by certain minority groups in government and public policy has inspired him to become involved with local governments and communities to pursue positive change. Therefore, it is his goal to use his position as an intern with Berkeley’s Office of Emergency Services and as a Haas Public Service Leader to gain the necessary skills and experience that would allow him to help build healthy communities and affect important change, particularly in disadvantaged communities that need it most.
Brittney Enin, Class of 2018,
Public Health Major
Brittney is a proud, extroverted, 1st generation, low-income, Woman of Color at UC Berkeley majoring in Public Health. Although she jokes often about being “in the struggle”, poverty is something that she is familiar with having grown up in impoverished conditions in Fontana, CA for most of her life. After coming to the well-resourced Berkeley, California, she experienced the classism, racism and sexism, that is alive and well in her day-to-day life. On campus, she strives to make spiritual spaces of belonging for Black Students by serving as the president of Black Campus Ministries. Brittney has struggled financially all throughout her time at Cal, and has had to work 2 jobs in order to survive living in the Bay Area, thus severely limiting her engagements with service to the greater Bay Area community. Upon being selected as a Haas Leader, Brittney now has the bandwidth to devote her time to interning at Essie Justice Group, an organization that supports women with incarcerated loved ones, highlighting the negative impacts of the Prison Industrial Complex from this perspective.
Caleb Martinez, Class of 2016,
Political Science & Public Policy Major
Caleb Martinez was born on the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Reservation in Arizona. His passion in pursuing the Political Science major, and subsequently, pursuing a JD in Law, stems from his adolescence; as he was raised in several inner city neighborhoods that were rife with crime, and became witness to and directly experienced social inequality and injustice. Martinez is a single father to a ten-year-old daughter. He has served as president for the Student Parent Association for Recruitment and Retention (SPARR) and is a UCLA Law Fellow. He currently works as the Lead Transfer and Outreach coordinator for the Underground Scholars Initiative at UC Berkeley, which provides services to formerly incarcerated students and those impacted by mass incarceration. In his work with the community Caleb focuses on increasing the presence of Native Americans, student parents and formerly incarcerated people in higher education.
Calixtho B. Lopes, Class of 2017,
Political Science Major
Calixtho Lopes is a first-generation non-traditional transfer student at UC Berkeley, pursuing a B.A in Political Science with an emphasis in American Politics. He is a native of Los Angeles, where he was raised in a low income, single mother home. After being removed from the Los Angeles Unified School District, Calixtho finished up his high school education with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, where he attended with formerly incarcerated youth. He realized the environment an individual grows up in, often dictates what they may amount to. Because of this he set out to passionately advocate for disadvantaged populations. He has been involved in local government, and non-profit organizations advocating for issues centered around education, homelessness, and mass encarceration. At UC Berkeley, he is the incoming Student Director for the Public Service Center’s East Bay Community Builders program, where he will assist in the development of student interns engaging in grassroots organizing. He is also involved with the Underground Scholar Initiative –a student led organization seeking to assist formerly incarcerated students and students impacted by incarceration on their journey to higher education. Calixtho is the Director/Facilitator of Teach in Prison, a student led course that prepares student tutors to assist with GED course work at San Quentin State Prison. In addition to that, Calixtho is a member of the Homeless Student Union, a student organization advocating for affordable housing policy and for removing barriers that may hinder economically disadvantaged students’ academic performance.
China Ruiz, Class of 2017,
Ethnic Studies Major
China, pronounced chee-nah, is a third year in the department of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. Her San Diego and Rosarito roots have inspired her to pursue education as a first generation high school graduate and university student. For the past two years, She has worked collectively to #demystifyhighereducation with UC Berkeley’s Bridges Multicultural Resource Center. This year she will be organizing HYPHEE (Helping Youth Pursue Higher Education Early), a yearlong mentoring program that connects Bay Area youth with CAL students in the college application process. She dreams about culturally relevant and sustainable curriculum and hopes it will be the norm for education one day. Her gemini magic manifests when she is able to vision, create, and celebrate.
Cristina Delgado, Class of 2017,
Film & Media and Education Major
Christina Delgado is gender-fluid and their pronouns are she/they or ella/elle. They are a proud first-generation queer person of color at UC Berkeley, pursing a B.A. in Film and Media Studies with an Education minor. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico but raised by a resilent single mother in Southern California- mostly in North Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley. Growing up in a “low-income/working class” environment as the middle child and the first in her immediate family to graduate high school and attend a university in the States, has exopsed them to the challenges and intersections race, class, gender, sexuality and citizenship have in our contemporary society. Christina’s passion towards social justice work began at an early age when familial experiences exposed her to the dynamics of violence. Ideally, Christina wants to combine the Arts and Education to strive towards social and restorative justice. She has been involved in creative, queer, academic, and community spaces where she intentionally strives to spread awareness and challenge the cycle of violence in a white heteronormative capitalist society, but ultimately this scholarship will continue to help her achieve their goals in academia and activism.
Dalia L. Nava, Class of 2018,
Political Science Major
Dalia L. Nava is a first-generation undocumented student born in Jalisco, Mexico and raised in Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles. Coming from a predominantly low-income Latino immigrant community she firsthand experienced the need for legal, economic representation and empowerment in communities like hers. In the past, Dalia has worked for the East Bay Community Law Center, Oakland City Hall and currently works at Pangea Legal Services, a deportation defense law office in San Francisco. On campus she does research through the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program and was a Site Leader for the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA), which provides free tax preparation to low-income individuals. The Haas Leaders Scholarship will support her as the Community Partnerships Director for the VITA program where she will be the primary liaison between UC Berkeley and current and prospective community partners. Dalia works towards being a better public servant and dreams of going to law school to do just that.
Daniel Moreno, Class of 2019,
Economics and Public Policy Major
Daniel Moreno is a first-generation Chicano student studying Economics and Public Policy. He was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles in a low-income single parent household. He grew up in an environment where housing insecurity, fear of deportation, and incarceration were normal realities he and many others had to face. While in Los Angeles, Daniel worked with grassroots organizations that advocated for the expansion of public housing and homeless rights. Once at UC Berkeley, Daniel co-facilitated a class about mass incarceration and its impacts on women, children, and communities. Now because of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Award, Daniel will have the amazing opportunity to intern for a grassroots organization called “Causa Justa :: Just Cause” which advocates and organizes for the expansion of immigrant and housing rights. He will assist the organization with translating for Spanish speaking folks, facilitating immigrant rights workshops to empower undocumented folks, and work to organize people to advocated for their own rights.
David J. Colby, Class of 2019,
Physics Major and Computer Science Minor
David J. Colby is a first generation college student at the University of California, Berkeley. David grew up in the foster care system in the Bay Area. Despite severe disabilities early in life and moving from home to home in the foster care system, David excelled in school and made it to college. David is now studying Physics. David will be working on a public awareness project that will work on helping close the achievement gap that affects so many foster kids throughout California.
Donna Wang, Class of 2018,
Public Health Major
Donna is a first-generation Chinese American who grew up in a predominantly blue-collar neighborhood in San Francisco. She found her passion for urban health through her upbringing and volunteering. After seeing the inaccessibility of healthcare for her neighbors, she started to realize the intersectionality of race, socioeconomic status and health care. Her drive for health equity prompted her to pursue a major in Public Health and learn more about Urban Health in other parts of the world. With this scholarship, she will be co-leading 15 students to South LA for an urban health centered service trip. Through this trip, she and her students will be exposed to the different intersectionalities of health through volunteering and connecting with local community health partners, such as Homeboy Institutes and the L.A. Country Hospital. Currently, she is involved in various volunteer organizations, such as Project Vision and is an officer for MEDLIFE (Medication, Education and Development for Low Income Families Everywhere).
Dulce Karina Walton Molina, Class of 2018,
Dulce was born in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico. At age 11, she came to the United States with her family and settled in Fairfield, CA. She transferred from Solano Community College in Spring 2016. Her experience as a first-generation, low-income, undocumented student has encouraged her to serve and be a voice for underrepresented communities. This year, through the Cal-in-Local Government program, she will be an intern at the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board, where she will have the opportunity to develop a high impact project to improve housing conditions for students of color. This experience will allow her to learn what community leaders are doing to address local issues and collaborate in the decision-making process. Receiving the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders scholarship will allow Dulce to apply more of her time and energy to this internship position and understand the political process of the local community to create systematic change.
Elias Hinit, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare Major and Education Minor
Elias Hinit is a senior from Santa Rosa, C.A. majoring in Social Welfare with a minor in Education. He was raised by recent refugees from Eritrea, growing up in a loving, but marginalized diverse community. While analyzing him and his family’s experiences with law enforcement, immigration offices, school systems, and city government, he was inspired to become involved in social justice and equity from an anti-oppressive framework. Elias is interested in elevating and advocating for transformative structural improvement in the conditions for under-resourced communities, particularly the Black community. Currently Chair of the Black Student Union, Elias enjoys volunteering for the Black Recruitment and Retention Center and the African American Student Development Office programs and activities. As a Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship recipient, he will be learning from and co-organizing with local middle, high school, city college, and Cal Black Youth, Adults, and Elders to be at the forefront of advocating for their needs and creating community partnerships.
Emily Sandoval, Class of 2017,
Emily is the proud daughter of her parents, who despite their poverty and lack of opportunity in Mexico were able to strive for more in the U.S. As her parent’s proud daughter, Emily took the media’s construction of her family personally. It was the representation of Hurricane Katrina, however, that she saw the same situation for African-Americans. While many saw the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina as long gone, the reality is that Hurricane Katrina was simply a point of time in the long history of racial injustice carried out by those in power. It is Emily’s attempt to reaffirm this history through a student-run class, as her and other Berkeley students prepare for a New Orleans service trip in order to learn through community organizations. Given that Emily is a full-time student and has three jobs, she needs the Haas Scholarship to fulfill her roles as a student and leader.
Fred Canas, Class of 2017,
Cognitive Science Major
Frederick Canas is a first-generation college student from Bell Gardens, CA in Los Angeles County, majoring in Cognitive Science. He will co-facilitate a class in the Spring regarding animal rights and welfare. This class will then lead into a week long service learning trip to Oregon. Frederick is grateful for the Peter E. Haas Leader Scholarship as it will reduce the number of hours he has to work during the school year and allow him to dedicate more of his time to his service learning trip and class.
Hoa Quynh Luong, Class of 2018,
Psychology and Linguistics Major
Immigrating to the United States in 2007 at the age of 44, Hoa Luong is a nontraditional transfer student parent inspiring youths to pursue social services and higher education. In 2015, Hoa graduated from Berkeley City College with high honors and transfered to UC Berkeley, majoring in psychology with a minor in linguistics. Hoa is passionate about reducing health disparities for Highland Hospital patients and building up generational connection within Vietnamese American families. On campus, Hoa serves as a writer under the Southeast Asian Student Coalition Prison Outreach Program, mentoring incarcerated individuals about post-incarceration opportunities. As a Haas leader, Hoa helps the underserved population whom she works with to develop their own leadership qualities and become leaders themselves by implanting the hope and belief that individuals can transform their conditons with the support of social services. Hoa is grateful for the Peter E. Haas Leader Scholarships that enables her to provide Vietnamese classes and generate cultural activities for Vietnamese communities as well as devote herself as a health advocate to provide resource referrals to more than 150 needy people each year.
Janelli Vallin, Class of 2017,
Public Health Major
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Janelli is a first generation college student who is passionate about public health and learning new languages. She is a native Spanish and English speaker and is well on her way to becoming fluent in Mandarin. On campus, she is part of La Clinica Student Alliance, which is a club on campus dedicated to volunteering at La Clinica De La Raza in Fruitvale. As a Haas Public Service leader, she is working with La Clinica, the Oakland Public Library and the East Bay Children’s Book’s Project to have books available in Spanish and English for children to read with their parents or volunteers at La Clinica. After reading the books, the children have the option of taking the book home with them. Janelli believes that language is a powerful tool and incorporating it in a health setting can help connect people of different and similar backgrounds. With the help of this scholarship, she will be able serve an underrepresented community by trying to improve literacy and health, one book at a time.
Jasmine Rivera, Class of 2017,
Jasmine is a first-generation college student graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology in May 2017. Born and raised by a single mother in poverty, witnessing domestic violence within her family and then becoming a survivor of Domestic violence herself has inspired her passion to work towards deconstructing the cycle of violence that effects all too-often low-income families. With the help of the Haas Public Service Leaders Award, Jasmine will be able to fulfill her goal of highlighting domestic violence awareness here at UC Berkeley, connecting community resources to our campus, and spreading awareness of how to help support those who may be experiencing an abusive relationship while still maintaining her academics and caring for her 2 ½ year old son, Antonio-Jose.
Anthony Mata, Class of 2018,
Legal Studies Major
Anthony is a first-generation student, from Southern California, raised in northeast Los Angeles by an extraordinary single-mother of four. Growing up there were many encounters with the court and the family law system that had given him the desire to make a change in the lives of our youth in order to empower them. These experiences had led him to pursue a degree in Legal Studies with a minor in Public Policy in order to serve low-income minority communities focusing on the success of our youth. He is a co-founder of the the Justice Rising Youth Court at Berkeley Technical High School where he mentors students working to put an end to the School to Prison Pipeline that was once abundant at this school. His current work on campus includes working as a recruiting manager for the university’s Cal Calling Center, and is also the Vice-President of Risk-Management and Programming for his fraternity, Pi Lambda Phi. In the upcoming year Anthony will be serving as a Policy and Government Services intern under Contra Costa County District Supervisor John Gioia. Thanks to the Haas Leader Scholarship, he is able to participate in this internship and will be focusing his efforts on supporting youth services within the region, as well as working on an initiative to cut urban poverty. Anthony hopes to continue his work after college by furthering his education in pursuit of a Masters in Public Policy.
Jonathan Hsu, Class of 2018,
Jonathan is a third year student at UC Berkeley, pursuing a degree in Economics with a minor in Public Policy. Resonating with the low-income and minority households that continue to be displaced from their communities due to hikes in rent, he was determined to mitigate the effects of the housing crisis in the Bay Area – which has seen some of the highest rent increases in recent years. As a Haas Public Service Leader, Jonathan will be working with the Berkeley Rent Stabilization Board under the Cal in Local Government Program – guided by the UC Berkeley Public Service Center. His focus is to assist the student community in Berkeley by promoting the various resources that the board provides in order to help navigate their legal rights as tenants. Having served as a volunteer for both the UC Berkeley Food Pantry and the Berkeley Student Food Collective, Jonathan is also passionate about tackling food insecurity within the campus community and believes that both food and housing are essentials to life that should not be compromised for those who need them.
Juan Eloy Lazo Bautista, Class of 2017,
Intedisciplinary Studies Major
Juan Lazo Bautista is a first generation, 4th year student originating from Oaxaca, Mexico. Growing up in an indigenous community and later immigrating to California, Juan soon understood the stark differences of his current and former environment. These events largely drove Juan to become involved in social justice based programs like the Youth Empowerment Program, R.I.S.E (Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education) as well as serving as a student advisor to Casa Joaquin Murrieta. Through these transformative experiences, Juan reframed his own self-perception as a servant of his communities. Juan hopes to continue in this line of work, focusing on environmental awareness amongst youth and underrepresented communities. Receiving the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Scholarship provides Juan the opportunity to continue his education while serving his communities. This year, Juan will be co-leading the Dreamer’s Project, a mentorship program assisting undocumented youth in their professional and personal development. Juan has previously served as a mentor for two years and aims to provide an improved experience to the program’s participants in his new role.
Judy Li, Class of 2017,
Business Adminsitration Major and Asian American Studies Minor
Judy Li is a fourth year pursuing a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Asian American Studies. Judy is the Co-Founder and currently the Finance Director of Flejcon (Financial Literacy and Economic Justice Conference at UC Berkeley.) As a 1st place recipient of a $7,500 grant award from the Big Ideas at Berkeley Contest, Judy and her co-directors planned and organized UC Berkeley’s 1st Financial Literacy Conference in April 2016. During the conference, facilitators from the UC Berkeley faculty and various community partners hosted fifteen lectures and workshops on various aspects of financial literacy and socioeconomic inequality. Through the conference, Judy and the Flejcon team aim to reduce financial illiteracy amongst low-income individuals. Judy serves as a liaison between Cal and the Bay Area Community, communicating with UC Berkeley faculty and community partners in Berkeley and Oakland. Judy is passionate about volunteering and dedicated to reversing income inequality in the Bay Area. Judy is overall interested in philanthropy and plans to establish her own non-profit development center in the future.
Katherine Necochea Tinco, Class of 2018,
Business Administration Major
Katherine Necochea Tinco is a first generation student born in Lima, Peru. At the age of 7, she and her mother moved to the United States and settled in the Bay area. Her experience growing up as an undocumented student has encouraged her to support and be a voice for underrepresented communities. She is currently pursuing a degree in Business Administration and hopes to provide financial literacy to low-income communities. During her freshman year she became involved with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Decal , a student-taught course at UC Berkeley. As part of the course, she then volunteered at the Unity Council in Oakland providing free tax preparation assistance to low income spanish speaking families. Fascinated by the program’s mission she decided to continue volunteering her sophomore year of college. Now as an incoming junior, she is the new student director and co-facilitator for the VITA course. This coming semester she will be teaching federal tax preparation, financial literacy, tax policy and national conditions around socio economic injustices to 75 UC Berkeley students. She hopes to inspire many students to help close the economic gap among underrepresented communities.
Ky Borunda, Class of 2018,
American Studies Major
Raised, Loved, and Nurtured in South Central Los Angeles, Ky Borunda is a 1st Generation, Queer and Trans Fourth year student who uses “They/Them” pronouns. Ky grew up in a household of 13 people so at a very young age they understood the importance of Collective work and Community. Thus, came to college with a passion to work with others and to fight for the American dream their immigrant parents crossed the border to actualize. Ky’s mission is to continue to advocate for the lives, well-being, and liberation of Queer and Trans Communities of Color. They are driven by their love for people and desire to support their LGBTQ community which led them to founding the Queer and/or Trans People of Color Retention Center (QTPOC-RC). This center aims to provide resources needed to support Queer and/or Trans Students of Color that include addressing unsafe housing, food insecurity, and mental health resources. While these issues affect many college students, Queer and/or Trans People of Color are disproportionately affected due to the discrimination, violence, and harassment that many face. Ky will use this scholarship to help expand their skills for the project and cover expenses that come with giving up working a second job to have capacity to run this project.
Leslie Soto, Class of 2017,
Raised by Mexican immigrant parents, Leslie is the first of her family to attend college. Coming from East Los Angeles, she is aware of how higher education is not accessible for everyone due to many school-related and external factors. She is determined to improve the quality of education for all under-represented and low-income students. Leslie is a leading member of R.I.S.E. (Rising Immigrant Scholars through Education) at Berkeley, striving to cultivate a safe environment for the empowerment and development of the undocumented community. During her internship at B.U.S.D (Berkeley Unified School District), Leslie will work with staff and the community to assure that school programs are meeting students’ needs. By assisting with policy research, she hopes to deconstruct the educational inequalities that are prevalent in the public education system. With the Haas Leader scholarship she will be able to fully invest her time serving the students of B.U.S.D.
Maria Guadalupe Rubalcava, Class of 2017,
Physical Geography and Anthropology Major
Maria Guadalupe is a fourth year, double majoring in physical geography and anthropology. She is originally from a small, agriculture-based town in the Central Valley and is a first generation college student and daughter to farm-working parents. After experiencing Alternative Breaks, first as a participant on the Central Valley trip, then as a co-break leader, she now continues her work as director of communications for the whole program. In this role, she looks forward to supporting all the new break leaders this upcoming year and creating a voice for the Alternative Breaks program. As a recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship, she is excited to continue her work with social justice and equity, and she looks forward to cultivating a space of growth with others!
Meli Catalan, Class of 2017,
Chicanx Studies Major
Meli is a proud 1st generation queer Chicana/Chapina who was born and raised in Compton, Inglewood, and Hawthorne. In order to focus on being an activist and student, Meli is using this scholarship to use more of her time to be of service to her communities rather than working full time to attend Cal. For the academic year, Meli will be involved in organizing two different projects. The first will be establishing the Queer and/or Trans People of Color Recruitment and Retention Center along with their peers. The second project, which will be her focus for the Haas Leader’s project, will be co-facilitating the Lavender Road Trip. Her trip will focus specifically on how LGBT+ Centers throughout California organize, mobolize, and provide for their communities. She with her co-lead, will develop a course during the spring semester that will hold space for different dialogues around the lives of LGBTQIA+ peoples on and off campus as well as the importance of LGBT+ centers in the lives of underrepresented communities. Meli continues to strive for social change by centering community, vulnerability, and love in her social activism.
Michelle Hong, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare Major
Michelle is a first generation transfer reentry student parent who was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. She will be graduating in 2017 and plans to pursue her MSW/JD. She is currently doing amazing work bridging the campus with state and local officials to maximize resources and expand access to food assistance programs and health services for low income first generation communities on campus. For the past two years, Michelle has worked with partners on campus to identify the factors that directly impact student food insecurity, and in response she has created the CalFresh Clinics to address the issue of hunger head on, one clinic at a time. She hosts First Friday CalFresh Clinics every month, helping students apply for outside resources and provides case management services to help students navigate program requriements. Data shows that 1 in 5 UC Berkeley students experience hunger and or has skipped meals to make ends meet. As the cost of attendance continues to rise along with the cost of living, Michelle is passionate that students have access to resources they qualify for by hosting clinics and continuing to build lasting relationships with community partners across Contra Costa, Solano, and Alameda counties to address food insecurity and heal hunger on campus. She understands that education is a priority and feels that no student should ever have to prioritize the cost of education over food.
Miguel Avila, Class of 2017,
Ethnic Studies Major
Miguel. Son. Brother. Friend. Activist. He is a first generation Chicano born in Etzatlan Jaslisco, Mexico striving for a B.A in Ethnic Studies. He rose in the streets of East Oakland surrounded by violence, poverty, and drugs. His life experiences along with the significant role of mentorship inspired him to alter his lifestyle but most importantly formulate his political consciousness. His desire for social justice led to his enrollment into community college and eventually transferring to UC Berkeley. Through his work he explores themes including immigrant rights, racial and ethnic politics, social inequality, mass incarceration in order to help interrupt the status quo. His project aims at providing mentorship support at a High School in the Fruitvale neighborhood of East Oakland.
Myrtha Ortiz Villar, Class of 2017,
Myrtha Ortiz Villar is a first-generation college student from Echo Park, Los Angeles. She comes from a mixed-status family and has been involved with the immigrant rights movement. Despite being in the Geography department, Myrtha has interests that range from educational policy to grassroots organizing. Through working with the Chicana Latino Student Development Office and the Student Learning Center, Myrtha’s passion for program and leadership development in her community continues to grow. As part of her Haas Leaders Project, Myrtha will be working on leadership development with first-generation college students at UC Berkeley and college bound Latinos at Berkeley High. The end goal is to have both college and high school students come together and create a conference that touches on leadership, higher education, and social justice. Myrtha hopes to grow her own leadership skills through this experience while supporting her financial needs.
Natalie Penado, Class of 2017,
Environmental Earth Science Major
Natalie Penado is a fourth year at UC Berkeley studying Environmental Earth Science. She is a first generation college student and comes from Los Angeles, CA. Natalie will be facilitating a class for UC Berkeley undergraduates about the different issues present in the Central Valley. She will also be co-leading a week long service trip to the Central Valley this upcoming spring break. Although Natalie is not a native to the Central Valley, she feels passionate about addressing and bringing to light the social injustices present in the Central Valley. She works in two laboratories, Lawrence National Berkeley Lab and the Department of Toxics and Substance Control as a student assistant. She is also the President of SACNAS (Society for Advance Chicanos/Latinos and Native Americans in Science). Being a recipient of the Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Scholarship, Natalie will be able to lessen her hours of working to dedicate her time to focus on the public service trip and other leadership roles.
Natalie Ruiz, Class of 2017,
Natalie is a transfer student from Vacaville, studying Sociology and Social Welfare. After graduation she aims to pursue a Masters in Social Work. As a student mother living in the UC Village (family student housing), Natalie understands the needs unique to students who are also parents. As a Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader, she will continue coordinating the Student Parent Food Donation Program which distributes free healthy food donations to students parent households more than three times per week. Her project is grounded in the belief that students balancing parenting responsibilities with the academic rigor of Berkeley should never be at risk for dropping out or failing out due to food insecurity. With the support from the Peter E. Haas Leader scholarship program, Natalie is excited to devote time to continue growing this program as a sustainable model that will feed families of student parents at Cal for years to come.
Nicole Canete, Class of 2017,
Psychology and Social Welfare Major
Nicole Canete is a non-traditional transfer student and single mother. As a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence, Nicole is determined to use her life experiences in order to be a positive social agent of change. Through her program, S.T.O.P. IPV! (Inter-Personal Violence), Nicole is committed to preventing future interpersonal violence by providing workshops that teach children socioemotional tools to empower themselves and express their feelings in healthy ways in order to communicate more effectively. On campus, Nicole is a Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Prevention Peer Educator who engages her peers in meaningful dialogue about anti-violence, social justice, anti-oppression, and a culture that supports survivors. Additionally, Nicole is the Student Coordinator for Eye to Eye, a national mentoring movement that pairs children who have learning disabilities and ADHD with mentors who have been similarly labeled. This program uses an arts-based curriculum that helps these children understand their unique way of learning and thinking, build self-esteem and skills, and become self-advocates.
Robert DeMarco, Class of 2017,
Robert is a first-generation college student who was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. When Robert was in ninth grade his father died of cancer, resulting in him dropping out of high school and leaving home. Robert moved to Watsonville California where he struggled to find long term employment and as a direct result began getting in trouble with the law. In 2008, Robert found himself serving a four month sentence in Santa Cruz County Jail for a drug related crime, a sentence that did not address his needs as a drug user at the time. In jail he witnessed racial segregation and racism first hand, and from this experience learned about the lack of social justice in California jails and prisons. After Robert was released from jail he noticed a deficiency in supportive services for formerly incarcerated individuals and was driven to improve them. Robert started working with formerly incarcerated students in the Learning Communities at Cabrillo College where he performed extensive work volunteering as a Student Support Facilitator for the Academy for College Excellence (ACE). Robert took the lead role of recruiting students into the program from drug rehabs and prison release programs and supporting them through all the steps of the enrollment process. In 2016/17, Robert will work with the Underground Scholars Initiative (USI) at UC Berkeley, helping formerly incarcerated individuals currently attending community colleges transfer into the UC system. His project will involve visiting local community colleges and doing class presentations for ACE and other support based programs. At these schools Robert will recruit formerly incarcerated student ambassadors for USI.
Sandra Vences, Class of 2017,
Chicano Studies Major
Sandra Vences is a transfer student parent and a first generation student at UC Berkeley. Sandra grew up in Logan Heights, a low-income neighborhood in San Diego near the Mexican border where she experienced and witnessed the inequalities suffered by undocumented people. She was involved in the creation of the Trail for Humanity March in 2014. Mothers and their children walked over 350 miles in 26 days beginning in Merced and ending at the Mexican border. The goals were to raise awareness about the atrocities occurring along the US-Mexico border, the separation of families, and bringing an end to criminalization and racial profiling of documented, undocumented and migrant bodies. In Spring 2017, Sandra will help lead a group of Berkeley students through Arizona in order to teach them about racist immigration policies that criminalize the Latino community. This will be done through interaction with numerous nonprofit organizations and other community leaders.
Tre’shunn Harlan, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare Major
Tre’Shunn Harlan is an avid filmmaker who has written, produced and directed several films. He was born in Los Angeles, California along with his twin brother, and grew up in South Central. Tre’Shunn is involved in many social justice related activities from being a member of UC Berkeley’s Black Student Union, and teaching a filmmaking for activists course where students are taught how to intertwine activism with film. Tre’Shunn is a first generation college student who will be working with communities of color that belong to various youth centers throughout the Bay. He will teach film theory, production and screenwriting while implementing discussions around race, class and gender. Participants will also have an opportunity to work with Tre’Shunn on his next film. With his scholarship he can now invest more time and energy into film and education. He hopes that with his project he is able to influence youth to involve themselves with art expression and to take control of their own narrative through filmmaking.
Ulises Garcia, Class of 2017,
Social Welfare Major
Ulises Garcia is a first generation college student from Montebello, CA—a small city located east of Los Angeles. He is going into his 5th year as a Social Welfare Major with the intention of later pursuing a Masters Degree in Student Affairs and Higher Education. He is passionate about helping others, especially those of his Raza. During his first year, Ulises resided in the Casa Magdalena Mora Theme Program—a community of people who identify as Chicanx/Latinx. Casa Mora gave Ulises a second familia and it ignited his passion to learn and advocate for educational justice. Throughout the course of the year, Ulises will be working very closely with Casa Mora, the Chicanx/Latinx Student Development Office, and other great spaces on campus to host Casa Mora’s SECOND Chicanx/Latinx Conference geared towards local high school students! Last year’s conference was a success and Ulises is ready to apply what he learned to make it even better.
Ursula Kajani, Class of 2017,
Public Health Major and Anthropology Minor
Ursula is the daughter of Pakistani/Indian immigrants and a transfer student from Rocklin, a small city outside of Sacramento, CA. She is currently in her fourth year studying Public Health with a minor in Anthropology. She found her passions for public service while serving on her community college Student Senate where she became an advocate for various social justice causes. This summer she had the opportunity to take classes and engage in public health field work in Ghana which furthered her passions and interest in the intersection between health, gender, culture, and global inequities. This year, she will be serving as a director with the Public Service Center’s Alternative Breaks Program which seeks to help students engage with various issues, ranging from immigration, to native rights and food justice, through semester long student led classes and one-two week service trips. She is excited to help other students explore and further their passion for public service in the same way that the Alternative Breaks program helped her when she was a participant. The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders scholarship will serve as a tremendous financial support for Ursula as she continues her work towards social justice and equity.
Van Sam, Class of 2019,
Ethnic Studies Major
Van is a first generation college student from Philadelphia, PA. Van moved to Philadelphia to live with her dad in a single parent household in Northeast Philadelphia when she was 11. She later decided to move to California to follow her passion for social justice work. Before coming to Berkeley, Van was involved with multiples non-profit organizations in Philadelphia to fight against deportation within the Southeast Asian community, and challenging standardized testings. With other immigrant youth in Philadelphia, she helped create curriculum for different youth prorams in their native language so that everyone can feel empowered to make changes. Currently, Van is involved with REACH! (The Asian and Pacific Islander Recruitment and Retention Center) and SASC (Southeast Asian Students Coalition) on campus to work with underrepresented, underesources youth of color. With many experiences working with youth, Van feels the need to learn to work with the elders within her community and that is why she decided to join Chinese Progressive Association in San Francisco to work along with Chinese immigrant workers in Chinatown to fight against wage theft. The immigrant workers within the Chinatown community faces many barriers while working to support their family, including but not limited to language barriers, family obligations, health issues. The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders scholarship will help provide Van the funding that she needs to continue to learn more about organizing work so that one day she can bring her experience back to her community in Philadelphia and continue the work there.
Virginia Lin, Class of 2017,
Political Economy Major
Virginia is a fourth-year at UC Berkeley studying political economy and minoring in public policy. She is a first-generation college student from San Francisco who is passionate about educational equity. Her involvement with Cal Rotaract on campus allowed her to understand the true meaning of service and what it meant to be a leader in a community. Combining both passions, she will be interning for the Vice President of the Oakland School Board. During her time there, she hopes to gain behind-the-scenes experience on how education policy affects members of the community. Participating in the roadmap for Oakland’s education system reform, “Pathway to Excellence: 2015-2020 Strategic Plan,” she hopes to make a positive impact on students at underserved and underfunded schools. The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders scholarship will provide Virginia the financial assistance she needs to continue to fight for educational equity.
Yiping Kao, Class of 2018,
Yiping moved from her hometown in Irvine to UC Berkeley, where she is a current junior studying economics. She enjoys combining her passion for public service with her interest in finance as the Finance Director of The Berkeley Project, a student-run community service organization, as well as the Education Training Director of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax filing services for low-income communities. Yiping is also organizing the second annual Financial Literacy & Economic Justice Conference as Executive Director. Through her own volunteering experience as site lead with The Berkeley Project and VITA, Yiping has seen firsthand the impact that she and her volunteer groups have made on the community that they serve. This serves as both a reward and continuous motivation. The Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders scholarship provides her with the financial support needed to help her successfully carry out her roles in these programs.
Yongbin Chang, Class of 2018,
Economics & Education Minor
Yongbin (pronounced “Yo” or “Yaw”) is a junior at UC Berkeley pursuing an Economics major with an Education minor. Born in Seoul, South Korea, Yongbin traveled between the U.S. and South Korea several times until he was three years old. Since then, he has lived in the Bay Area and Sacramento with his mother and father. Yongbin is a proud undocumented student and activist, wanting to allow other peers and people to empower themselves and become wonderful leaders. Since his first year, Yongbin has been involved in various areas, leading student orientation for residential life to public service organizations where he has been driven by a strong sense of conscientiousness and passion. Yongbin strives to stay happy and wants to give back to his parents, both of whom have sacrificed so much to open so many doors of opportunity. Continuing that, Yongbin wants to leverage his privileges and passion to open those doors of opportunities for others as well so that they can achieve greatness and happiness.