CAA Announcements

Meet the 30 Incoming Recipients of the African American Initiative Scholarship

In 2018, the San Francisco Foundation funded the first set of African American Initiative (AAI) scholarships. Administered by the Cal Alumni Association (CAA), these scholarships have been awarded to more than 80 students. The continued support of this scholarship highlights CAA and UC Berkeley’s ongoing commitment to Black and African American student success.

For Gabby Cole ’05, Self-Care Is Following Your Dreams

College was an eye-opening experience for me. Growing up in a conservative, sheltered environment, I longed for exposure to the real world, as a lot of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed youngsters do. I knew then—and I am even more sure of it now—that the path to the real me was through Cal. It was challenging, but no one grows in their comfort zone. Cal made me the person I am today—a person who is confident and on the right path.

UC Berkeley Alumni Celebrate Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest national celebration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth honors June 19, 1865, the date enslaved people in Texas learned they were free—more than two years after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation. On June 17, 2021, President Joe Biden signed legislation making Juneteenth National Independence Day a federal US holiday. It becomes the first federal holiday established since Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 1983.

‘Not Easy, Not Impossible’ Path to Careers for Undocumented Students

“Things are not always going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean that they’re impossible,” shares Berkeley alum Uriel Rivera ’15. A new workshop series, offered by the Cal Alumni Association’s Alumni Scholars Program and facilitated by Rivera, aims to acknowledge the stigmas undocumented students face, and demystify what comes after graduation by connecting them with resources for navigating post-Cal life.

One-Man Play Explores James Baldwin, Black Male Vulnerability

Berkeley alum and artist Harmony Holiday’s one-man play, God’s Suicide, takes Black male vulnerability as its central subject. Adapted from an essay by the artist and constructed around the rarely acknowledged five suicide attempts of writer and public intellectual James Baldwin, this deeply personal work examines the interplay between creative and destructive forces in societies infected with white supremacy. In this special presentation hosted by the Hammer Museum at UCLA, actor Larry Powell portrays Baldwin.

Get Excited—Camp Is Back at the Lair of the Golden Bear

Disconnect from your screens and reconnect with what really matters: family, friends, nature…and s’mores! Join us for a week in the mountains at the Lair of the Golden Bear. The Lair offers a family vacation with plenty of wide open spaces and fun things to do for kids of all ages.

2021’s Best and Brightest Alumni, Faculty Honored at Berkeley Charter Gala

In partnership with the UC Berkeley Foundation, the Cal Alumni Association honored this year’s Achievement Award recipients at the all-virtual Berkeley Charter Gala on May 13, 2021. Get to know the esteemed award recipients—alumni and faculty who are pushing through the boundaries of what’s possible.

Bears in Business: Jamba Dunn’s Plant-Based Kombucha Is Cultivating Change

Originally from Southern California, Jamba Dunn ’97 transferred to Berkeley hoping to study sociology, which led to an interest in Egyptology and Near East studies. He’s worked in Silicon Valley and for companies like Rosetta Stone. He moved to Boulder, Colorado for a master’s degree program at Naropa University. There, his passion for gardening, herbs, and making the perfect cup of tea—plus a small challenge from his daughter to create a kombucha she would love—led to the creation of Rowdy Mermaid, the first plant-based kombucha on the market.

Kai Mai ’01 Bridges the Gap Between Students and Alumni

I was a transfer student from the City College of San Francisco. Coming to Berkeley was a huge shock for me, and everyone seemed smarter than me. I remember that my introductory computer science classes had a few hundred students. I spent a lot of time in Cory Hall and Soda Hall and pulled a few all-nighters. Looking back, I wish I had engaged with other aspects of campus life more.

Yuner Evelyn Lu ’21 Urges Class of 2021 to Realize Its Power

My name is Yuner Evelyn Lu. I’m a senior studying electrical engineering and computer science at Cal, and I am honored to share my UC Berkeley journey with you.

2020 was a challenging year. The pandemic took many lives worldwide. As students at Cal, we have been confined to our homes in front of computers instead of being on campus. What I realized while quarantining for more than a year was the privilege I hold as a student at UC Berkeley, and how this privilege inspires me to push for social change.

“Pursue Your Dreams Fearlessly”: An Entrepreneur’s Wisdom for Graduating Scholars

Congratulations, Class of 2021. Today is a day of celebration, a day you’ve been waiting for since you entered Cal. As a former TAAP Scholar, it’s an honor to be here and celebrate with you. Ten years ago, I was exactly where you are right now: graduating with big dreams and aspirations ahead. Reflecting on the last decade, a few things have happened in my life. Lots of trials, lots of failures, and some wins. Allow me to share with you some of my learnings.

Advice for the Class of 2021: “Carry Berkeley With You”

After a long journey filled to the brim with unexpected twists and turns, the time has finally arrived for UC Berkeley’s Class of 2021 to graduate. Years of growth and transformation, beginning with the seemingly distant days of anxiously waiting for college acceptances, campus tours, and that fateful commitment to Cal, are now coming to an end under challenging circumstances that still feel unusual after all this time.

What Pedro De Anda Plascencia ’21 Wants His Fifth-Grade Self to Know

Dear Fifth-Grade Pedro,

I want to begin by telling you that I love you. You are valid, and you are worthy of love and protection. While your friends are on the playground with their fresh sneakers, talking about the latest version of Call of Duty—you are in your head, trying to search for the right video game language…

From Cal to the Capital, How Ben de Guzman ’94 Stays Connected

In the classroom, I was try-lingual: I “tried” to speak English, Spanish, and Tagalog. I took a two-year course at Berkeley and got accepted into a language immersion program in the Philippines. I was able to explore my identity through organizations like the Pilipino American Alliance, where I learned to be a student organizer and fight for racial and educational equity issues. As an athlete, I competed as a member of the Cal Men’s Volleyball Club and ran the volleyball program at Cal Intramural Sports. 

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