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Young Alumni

Giving Back

‘Justice for Communities of Color’: Amber Gonzales-Vargas ’15 on Inspiring Change

The November 2020 election season is not one that anyone will forget. It was an exhausting period that brought many first-time voters and more people paying attention to the voting process. Berkeley alum Amber Gonzales-Vargas ’15 was meant for this.


Emily Pilloton Is Opening Up the World of STEM—and Possibilities—for Girls

It’s late September, and Emily Pilloton ’03 is at Girls Garage, a nonprofit she founded in 2013 in Berkeley. Girls Garage recently reopened for small groups of girls eager to get back to the space and get building again. "I just feel like failure is not an option," she explains. "This space means a lot to the girls that come here." 


Who Are You Now? Maria Smith ’19 Asks Us to Look Inward

During the early weeks of the COVID pandemic, many of us hoped the pandemic would quickly pass and we could resume our lives. But Maria Smith ’19 believed this is a time to take stock of things that matter to us. This thought led her to create Who Are We Now?, a series of conversations with Cal alums that challenge us to think about how the pandemic has changed us. The first episode was released in July, and we talked with Smith about the series.


Who Are We Now? For Young Cal Alums, We’re a Community Speaking Up

Recent national events have changed much about the world we live in and have sparked questions about how such events influence our identities. Both personally and collectively, we are wrestling with our individuality and struggling to have productive, honest conversations with one another. That’s why there’s something very special about Maria Smith, Isabella Marten, Jordan […]


Soumya Karlamangla ’13 Reports on the Front Lines of COVID-19

In any society, people play specific roles. Some are leaders, some are nurturers, some are creators, and some are builders. All are important. However, in a time of crisis, the demand for specialized roles goes up. During a pandemic, doctors, nurses, and first responders become especially important. And keeping the public informed—now more than ever—is […]


Community-Builder Omotara Oloye ’21

Four years before Omotara Oloye ’21 was born, her parents immigrated from Nigeria to the United States. “They moved in hopes that they could give their children a better life,” Omotara says. “My parents knew that in order for their children to have a better life, for their children’s children to have a better life, going to college would level the playing field.”


Giving Back to Her Alma Mater

Growing up in Carson, California, Liliana “Lili” Iglesias ’12 remembered her mom saying often to her, “When you go to college….” This message ingrained in Lili the thought that she would go to college someday. Then, in middle school, her mom admitted to her, “I don’t know what [going to college] means, so try and ask your teachers and counselors how you can get there.”


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. […]


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 […]


Komal Ahmad ’12: Feeding the World from San Francisco

At just two years old, Komal Ahmad ’12 had already decided: she wanted to become a doctor. “I thought that was the only way you could help people,” she remembers. Komal kept this goal close to heart throughout her childhood, even as she immigrated with her family from Pakistan to the United States. When time […]


Ankur Nagpal’s Teachable Moment

For Ankur Nagpal ’09, his first day of CalSO (the orientation for new UC Berkeley freshman and transfer students, now Golden Bear Orientation) was also his first time in California—and America. Ankur was born in India but grew up in Oman, and it wasn’t until high school that he decided to pursue his college education […]


A Rock, a Paleontology Book, and Rosie the Riveter

by Courtney Cheng ’16 Alexis Williams ’17 knew from the first moment she set her foot on the UC Berkeley campus that she wanted to become a Golden Bear. She had the chance to visit Cal as a high school student through the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program at her high school, which offered […]