CAA Announcements

Director’s Chair: Summer 2019

In late April, I had the privilege of traveling to Sacramento to discuss the inclusion of higher education in California’s state budget. I joined UC Berkeley leaders like Chancellor Carol Christ and UC Regent Jason Morimoto ’02 to meet with those working on the budget to advocate on behalf of students and their needs.

Five Moments of Pride for Queer Cal Alumni

UC Berkeley has long been at the forefront of social movements—Free Speech, disability rights, and environmental protection, to name just a few. Cal community members have also played critical roles in pushing for equal rights, visibility, and representation for the LGBTQ+ community.

Here are five moments—out of many—when Cal students, faculty, and alumni helped reach milestones for the LGBTQ+ community that all Cal alumni can look back on with pride.

By Sharing Transfer Student Stories, Lily Espinoza Ploski ’98 Inspires Underrepresented Communities

While Lily Espinoza Ploski ’98 had always known that she wanted to attend UC Berkeley, she never imagined that she would pursue several more degrees after graduating from Cal: an A.A. in liberal studies, a master’s in student personnel administration, and an Ed.D. in educational leadership.

“Never in a million years did I imagine I’d go to school this much,” Lily laughs. She still has one degree to finish, but already promised her son it would be her last. “I told my son to remind me that I’d already said, ‘This is my last one!’” Lily adds.

Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Legacies

In May we celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month to honor the history and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in our country. At Cal, we are extremely lucky to have had our legacy of service and achievement carried on by AAPI alumni who have found success in politics, the arts, STEM, business, and many other fields. During this month of celebration, we would like to recognize a few of the many Asian American and Pacific Islander alumni who have shaped communities and blazed the path for future generations.

Crossing Sproul Plaza

Since my time at Berkeley (1968–72), I have made it a point to return often, be it for a night at the Faculty Club, a concert, ballgame, or—best yet—simply a quiet seat on Sproul Plaza watching the changing of classes as the Campanile tosses out its tunes. A seat on the plaza is my own Brooklyn Ferry, free of charge and without the tossing tides. It’s so reaffirming to watch the legions of students pass by, just as I passed through Sather Gate in the late 60s and if my experiences at my alma mater are any indication, it is thrilling to imagine the difference that professors will make on those who pass through Sather Gate.

Software Design Engineer Finds Second Career as a Mentor

After more than 35 years in the San Francisco Bay Area’s tech industry, Norbert Jeske M.S. ’81, Ph.D. ’86 has amassed a wealth of knowledge about software, hardware, the solar system, and career advancement. Rather than start a consulting business or develop a new product, he decided to spend his post-early-retirement years helping UC Berkeley students and alumni get ahead.

Passing on the Gift of Transformation at the 2019 Berkeley Charter Gala

The Cal Alumni Association (CAA) and the UC Berkeley Foundation honored the recipients of the 2019 Achievement Awards at the annual Berkeley Charter Gala on May 16, 2019. Hundreds of UC Berkeley community members came together to celebrate the achievements of accomplished alumni and the chartering of the university 151 years ago.

How One Lecture Is Influencing Glaucoma Research: Janey Wiggs ’76, Ph.D. ’81

By paying attention to what excited her, this clinician-scientist became a world-leading glaucoma genetics expert

Justin Hogenauer ’22: Different Platforms of Leadership

Justin Hogenauer ’22 isn’t certain how he ended up on-stage at the 34th Leadership Award Recognition Lunch this March. “As a freshman, sitting among people who were so much older than me, I remember thinking the entire time, ‘What can I share with these people that they don’t know or they haven’t heard before?’” he recalls. A student who comes from a single-parent home, Justin has a lot to share and offer to the community around him.

Meet Current Leadership Award Scholars

In 1934, as the United States reeled from the Great Depression, the Cal Alumni Association (CAA) launched the statewide Alumni Scholarship Fund to pay for half the room and board of 26 students on the Berkeley and Los Angeles University of California campuses. Today the fund, under a new name—The Leadership Award—is the largest non-academic merit-based scholarship on the UC Berkeley campus.

Evangeline Ebeyer ’19: A Leader Among the Transfer Student Community

Evangeline Ebeyer ’19 knew since she was a little girl that she was expected to work hard. Her mother immigrated to the United States from Indonesia and became a computer programmer at the University of California Office of the President. Her father is a Marine veteran. Her maternal grandfather held a doctorate degree in mathematics.

Mikela Lazari ’20: Learning to Recognize Herself as a Leader

Mikela Lazari ’20 recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of her family’s immigration from Iran to the United States as Assyrian, religious refugees. Having lived in the Muslim country of Iran with her family, Mikela has many childhood memories of people pushing her to convert. She laughs now, as she recalls her “smart, sassy” responses to these suggestions, but the tension was undoubtedly a constant presence in her and her family’s life.

Saneeha Shamshad ’20: Expanding Access and Redefining Leadership

Saneeha Shamshad ’20 considers herself a “different type of leader.” When asked to elaborate, she adds, “I’m super quiet and I tend not to speak a lot.” The long list of extracurricular activities that Saneeha pursued in the past and continues to develop today, however, suggests that speaking up perhaps isn’t the best measurement of a person’s leadership potential.

Advice from UC Berkeley Commencement Speakers That We All Could Use

The big day is here. The sun is shining bright on Memorial Stadium, and nobody told you how hot you’d get under your black cap and gown. The air is buzzing with excitement, and you feel slightly overwhelmed. Although you sit in uniform attire with your peers, you know how differently Berkeley has shaped each and every one of you.

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