Against all odds: From the streets to UC Berkeley

April 16, 2024

Growing up in the East Bay, Michael Cerda-Jara faced adversity throughout his hardscrabble childhood. He joined a gang at the age of 13. He got into fights in school and faced expulsion multiple times.

He was lost academically because of the trouble he got into and lack of support from those around him, including his teachers. One of them, his 6th-grade teacher, once told him he “wasn’t going to end up anywhere except for prison or dead.” No one expected Cerda-Jara to amount to much and he had low expectations for himself. ...

Q&A: Viet Thanh Nguyen, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of ‘The Sympathizer,’ reflects on libraries, UC Berkeley, and the class that ‘radicalized’ him

April 12, 2024

Viet Thanh Nguyen emerged from UC Berkeley with more than a diploma.

In fact, he earned three (but who’s counting?) — dual bachelor’s degrees in English and ethnic studies in 1992, and a doctorate in English in ’97.

But his education wasn’t confined by the walls of a classroom.

Nguyen became steeped in activism, leaving Berkeley with “four misdemeanors, three diplomas, two arrests, and an abiding belief in solidarity, liberation, and the power of the people and the power of art,” he recalls in his memoir, 2023’s A Man of Two Faces.

Berkeley Sociology paper shows the difficulty in landing a job for college grads with criminal records

April 11, 2024

In today’s job market, a college degree is often seen as a pathway to success, promising greater opportunities and higher chances of employment. But for individuals with a criminal record, the reality can be starkly different.

UC Berkeley Sociology alumnus Michael Cerda-Jara explores the challenges formerly incarcerated individuals face while seeking employment in a study published in Sociological Science titled "Criminal Record...

Berkeley Social Sciences launches comprehensive internship program to prepare students for meaningful careers

February 13, 2024

Berkeley Social Sciences launched a new program recently to better equip students for successful careers by giving them real-world experiences. The Social Sciences Career Readiness Internship Program (SSCRIP) prepares students for a variety of professions by offering skills workshops, personalized coaching, internship placement assistance, and stipends for unpaid and low-paid internships.

"Our responsibility towards...

MPS Scholars learn from the best: Berkeley alums

January 19, 2024

In October, Audrey Liddle joined dozens of students in Durant Hall’s bookshelf-lined atrium to listen to a group of accomplished alums share lessons from their careers. Liddle, a first-year student in astrophysics, was still processing all the opportunities available to her at UC Berkeley and beyond. Her future’s open-ended horizon could feel overwhelming at times.

“I grew up assuming that adults somehow had an ‘aha’...

Sebastian Cahill, class of '23, "Archival research was the highlight of my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley."

January 16, 2024

Graduate dressed in black with lime green sneakers waves commencement regalia while sitting in front of University LibrarySebastian Cahill, class of '23, is a recent graduate of UC Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in English and Comparative Literature. Currently, he works as a news reporter for Business Insider. He hopes to return to graduate school in the coming years to do a Ph.D. program combining his studies...

Office of Development and College Relations

The L&S Development and College Relations Office is responsible for raising private support for all L&S departments from alumni and friends, corporations, and foundations, and provides leadership and assistance to the campus community.

The College of Letters & Science is made up of five academic divisions, each with their own funding opportunities, priorities, and development directors. Scroll down to learn more about each division, the different funds you can donate to, and for contact information of L&S development directors.

Arts & Humanities...

The Morgans on becoming Builders: “Leave something behind that’s more than you can be”

December 14, 2023

Brad Morgan and Julie Shin Morgan found their people at UC Berkeley. Julie’s best friend for life, Stella Sebastiani. Brad’s mentor, Paul Bartlett, and his first labmate, Yumi Nakagawa. And, at a party filled with chemistry students and church youth counselors, they fell for one another — “a small town Midwestern boy and a big city girl from LA,” as Brad said.

Moving to Berkeley had been a culture clash for both...

Interview with alumna Heidi Kühn, Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace

November 13, 2023

Heidi Kühn is the Founder and CEO of Roots of Peace. She founded the humanitarian non-profit organization with a vision of turning Mines to Vines. After winning her own battle with cancer, Kühn was inspired to remove an insidious ‘cancer of the earth’—replacing remnants of war with bountiful farmland worldwide. Since 1997, her farmer-focused development model that restores farmland, food security, livelihoods and resilience after devastating conflicts has transformed war-torn lands worldwide. For more than a decade, she has shown millions of people living in war-torn regions...

Jeff Nathan: Pursuing a Less Predictable Path

May 17, 2023

When Jeff Nathan (BA 2013, MCB) received his undergraduate degree with a concentration in immunology and pathogenesis, he assumed he’d pursue a predictable path in research or medicine. A decade later, he’s carved out a very different kind of career for himself: as an acquisition professional for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Nathan currently serves as an assistant program manager for the Joint Program Executive Office for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Defense (JPEO-CBRND) at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. The office develops, procures, and fields sensors,...