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Who Are We Now?

Open conversation about our collective identity

The current pandemic and worldwide demonstrations against systemic racism have had an unprecedented impact on the world. The question “Who are we now?” prompts a consideration of the forces that drive us.

This question, and the conversations that follow, were inspired by Cal alumna Maria Smith ’19. While sheltering in place, Maria began to evaluate our ideas of self and purpose during this time of uncertainty, and saw the importance of having open, honest conversations around these themes.

This moment in history will no doubt impact our identities as individuals and, ultimately, as a society. To address this historic moment, “Who Are We Now?” engages Cal alumni and students in virtual discussions around current events to find out how their experiences at Cal have shaped their identities. Join us in these important conversations as we address these complex topics head-on.

About the Host

Host Joe Spano ’67 is an Emmy Award-winning actor who plays Tobias Fornell on television’s NCIS. Previously, he played Lt. Henry Goldblume on the series Hill Street Blues and starred in Mercy Point, Amazing Grace, Murder One and NYPD Blue. Joe has starred in 20 films made for television and guest-starred on 38 television shows. He has appeared in 30 feature films, including Hart’s War, Primal Fear, Apollo 13, American Graffiti, Hollywoodland, Fracture and Frost/Nixon.

joe spano Image courtesy of Joe Spano

Episode 4: Joe Spano ’67

“In this time of pandemic and social change, how can we exercise the same tools that we use in the theater? Well, here’s my take.” —Joe Spano ’67. Join host Joe Spano ’67 as he reflects on the meaning and search for identity in our fourth episode of our “Who Are We Now?” series.

Episode 3: Sara East ’22, Sydney Reid ’22, Camryn Rogers ’22, and Joe Spano ’67

With most sporting events and hands-on science laboratory classes on hold, join members of the Cal Women’s Track and Field team as they discuss how they navigate the in-person and virtual on campus scholar-athlete experiences during the pandemic in our third episode of our “Who Are We Now?” series.

Sara East ’22 is studying integrative biology and is a sprinter on the Cal Women’s Track and Field team. She was named to the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) 2020 All-Academic team. After graduation, Sara wants to combine her interests in human biology and athletics as a sports medicine physician assistant.

Sydney Reid ’22 is studying integrative biology with a focus in integrative human biology. She is a long jumper on the Cal Women’s Track and Field team, placing in the top 8 at the 2019 Pac-12 championship. She was also named to the 2019–2020 Pac-12 spring academic honor roll and the MPSF 2020 All-Academic team. Sydney would like to be an orthopedic surgery physician assistant after graduation.

Camryn Rogers ’22 is pursuing a double major in political economy and society & environment. Camryn is originally from British Columbia, Canada. She is the reigning NCAA and Pac-12 hammer throw champion. After her freshman year, Camryn won the World Junior Championships in Finland. Camryn aspires to represent Canada at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and to become an environmental lawyer.

Episode 2: Marcel Dancy ’22, Evan Rambo ’19, and Joe Spano ’67

Team loyalty and academic discipline led these two scholar-athletes to pursue entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Join host Joe Spano ’67, Evan Rambo ’19, and Marcel Dancy ’22 for an intimate conversation about community leadership, resilience, and adapting to constant change in the second episode of our “Who Are We Now?” series.

Marcel Dancy ’22 is majoring in American Studies with a minor in education and food systems. He is a running back and punt/kickoff returner. Marcel is a coach for the Oakland Dynamites and Bay Area Next Level Flag Football youth teams. In response to the economic crisis created by the pandemic, he raised money for Burckhalter Elementary School families. He was named to the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works team and received the Stub Allison and Ted Agu awards.

Evan Rambo ’19 graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in legal studies. He is currently a second-year MBA candidate at Texas Tech’s Rawls School of Business. While at Cal, Evan was a multi-positional football student-athlete. In 2018, he won the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology’s Collider Cup for a wearable technology product for coaches and athletes. Evan was born and raised in Los Angeles, California.

Episode 1: “Who Are We Now?” with Elijah Hicks ’20, Jordan Veasy ’18, Isabella Marten ’18, and Joe Spano ’67

In our first “Who Are We Now?” conversation, current and former Cal student-athletes Elijah Hicks ’20, Isabella Marten ’18, and Jordan Veasy ’19 join host Joe Spano ’67 to discuss how COVID-19 and recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations have impacted their lives and identities. Watch this discussion now and stay tuned as we continue to engage alumni and students in these important conversations.

Elijah Hicks ’20 is a current Berkeley student and Cal Football safety. Elijah is the founder of the Intercept Poverty Foundation, a nonprofit with a mission to intercept poverty on college campuses by helping low-income students overcome financial roadblocks, which is now focusing on raising funds to feed low-income families during COVID-19.

Isabella Marten ’18 is a recent Berkeley graduate with a master’s in strategic public relations from USC. Isabella was born in Stuttgart, Germany and first moved to the US in 2014 to complete her undergraduate degree at Berkeley with a major in media studies. During her academic career, Isabella also lettered in track and field, scoring as a two-time first-team All American at the D1 NCAA Nationals and winning the Pac-12 Championship title for Cal in both 2016 and 2017.

Jordan Veasy ’18 is a native of Gadsden, Alabama and a former Cal football player. Jordan is now a professional NFL wide receiver for the Washington Football Team.

Author and Creator of “Who Are We Now?”

Maria Smith ’19 is a former star student-athlete, an essential player on the Cal Women’s Tennis team, and an exemplary scholar. Her collegiate achievements include—but are not limited to—academic accolades from Cal and the Pac-12, and a national team championship in tennis.

maria smith on tennis court

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