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No Shortage of Laughter

Emily Nodal ’22 is a recipient of The Achievement Award Program (TAAP) and a 2019 Lair of the Golden Bear staffer. Like her TAAP peers, Emily works hard to make Cal more inclusive. She is majoring in society and environment with an emphasis on justice and sustainability, minoring in public policy, and she aspires to build a career in international development.

September 7, 2021
Portrait of Emily Nodal Ryan Fiorito / Cal Alumni Association

When Emily talks about the impact of CAA’s Alumni Scholars Program on her life, the smile and warmth in her voice tells her story for her. She shares, “I’ve met so many wonderful people through TAAP, and CAA has been an indispensable part of my Berkeley experience that I know I will hold onto for a very long time.” She adds, “The workshops, welcome receptions, and other Alumni Scholars Program events during which I meet alumni from diverse backgrounds who are succeeding in their careers are so comforting. Conversations with alumni always put me at ease, and it is through CAA that I can keep having them. I love hearing their stories and knowing they’re here for us students.”

Emily is appreciative of the welcoming environment at Alumni House. She reflects, “All of Berkeley should be as inviting and easy to be yourself in as Alumni House. CAA is forging a sense of community and promoting inclusivity across a broader spectrum of communities. The importance of outreach in creating spaces for people of diverse backgrounds to establish connections with those they can relate to and feel at home with can’t be understated.”

Working at the Newspapers & Microforms Library often reminds Emily that without TAAP, she could not get by with just one paid job, nor could she pursue her interests—one of which is comedy. She is the administrative director for Best Laid Plans Improv, a UC Berkeley student group specializing in the art of longform improv, and serves on the Board of Directors for Theater for Charity, which is funded by the Associated Students of the University of California. Theater for Charity is Cal’s largest student-produced theater group, and all show proceeds are donated to charity. In the fall, Emily is looking to teach a DeCal on the craft of improv.

“Being a CAA Scholar allows me to spend much of my time doing what I love to do, from making people laugh to doing improv workshops and researching wildlife damage programs. I have the luxury of pursuing all these things that make me who I am.”