Small-but-mighty Demography Department finds new support in collective alumni effort

After a fruitful career in academia teaching sociology and demography, Elwood “Woody” Carlson M.A. ’73, Ph.D. ’78 was putting his financial affairs in order. He wanted to direct some of his retirement funds to his graduate school, so he contacted UC Berkeley. What he heard shocked him:

Sandile Hlatshwayo: “These are historic times, and they need a historic response”

A personal journey of macroeconomic curiosity has led UC Berkeley alum Sandile Hlatshwayo Ph.D. ’17 to the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) as a senior economist. Hlatshwayo is covering the international portfolio during her year at CEA, which advises the president on trade, inflation, employment, supply chains, and other top economic issues. She is on a temporary leave from the International Monetary Fund, where she began working in 2017.

Hlatshwayo’s career trajectory began with an “econ origin story,” as she calls it, which stemmed from growing up in suburban Ohio and often...

Viet Thanh Nguyen on finding himself at Berkeley

February 15, 2023

Pulitzer-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen ’92, Ph.D. ’97 found at UC Berkeley the intellectual home, identity, and political passion that ultimately led to his creative success. He knows first hand the important part that grad students play in the academic ecosystem, and how hard they have to work to be here.

Translation writ large: Meg Parker, Rhetoric and French '10

February 1, 2023

Headshot of Meg Parker '10 against navy blue backgroundMeg Parker graduated from UC Berkeley in 2010 with a double major in French and Rhetoric, then went on to earn her JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

An attorney specializing in employment law, she is currently an associate at Nye, Stirling, Hale & Miller, where she specializes in handling complex civil litigation in state and federal court. Her...

Meet Nayzak Wali-Ali '21

June 24, 2021
L&S Student Spotlight: Nayzak Wali-Ali ‘21
Majors: Ethnic Studies (College of Letters & Science); Legal Studies (Berkeley Law)

Nayzak Wali-Ali, Recent Graduate; Photo by John Henry Stewart IVAfter navigating serious obstacles over the past year -- the pandemic, racial uprisings, and remote learning -- most college students are eagerly awaiting a break...

Award-winning Mentors and their Students

An Undergraduate and a Nobel Winner

Imagine you’re an undergraduate with the great fortune of having a faculty research mentor. And then your mentor wins the Nobel Prize! Welcome to the life of Davina Dou, a UC Berkeley senior majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, and a mentee of Professor Jennifer Doudna, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

“Being mentored by a Nobel laureate is both surreal and humbling!” says Davina. “Dr. Doudna is so involved in every aspect of her lab, and it's encouraging to see that her scientific...

Maji Yaje Kwanza (“Water Is The First Of Many Things”): A Strauss Scholarship Recipient’s Life-Changing Experiences In Kenya

November 17, 2022

When Ashley Miller (’15, Interdisciplinary Studies) transferred to UC Berkeley as a junior in Fall 2012, she had two goals in mind: to study abroad (despite the tight timeline) and to go somewhere entirely different than anywhere she had been before. She chose Kenya. With funding from UC Berkeley’s Miller Scholars program, she planned to research the effects of Kenya’s 2003 free primary education policy. Unfortunately, a national teachers’ strike in 2013 made interviewing teachers and families difficult. As a result, she spent more time, on and off campus,...

Varsha Sarveshwar, UC Berkeley graduate, selected as a 2022 Rhodes Scholar

December 15, 2021
Varsha Sarveshwar, 2022 Rhodes ScholarVarsha Sarveshwar '20, a UC Berkeley College of Letters & Science alumna, has received one of the world's most prestigious honors for academic excellence—the Rhodes Scholarship. The Scholarship is awarded “on the basis not only of intellect, but also of character, leadership and commitment to service,” and Sarveshwar was among 32 American students...

Author Charles Yu '97: 'Interior Chinatown' is about roles and how we play them

August 24, 2022

Charles Yu, discusses his 2020 book, Interior Chinatown, which goes inside the mind of a young Asian American man trying to make it in Hollywood. Incoming UC Berkeley students read the book over the summer as part of On The Same Page, a program from the College of Letters & Science, so that they’d have something in common to talk about throughout the year — socially, in classes and at events designed to explore the book’s themes.

Meet Charles Huang ‘93

June 16, 2022
Tell us about a professor who inspired you.

Professor Wen-hsin Yeh taught the first Chinese history class I ever took. I was so moved that before I even completed her class, I changed my major to Asian studies. More importantly, she encouraged me to expand my horizons beyond just books, and to study abroad for a year at Beijing University. That experience transformed my personal and professional life.

Years later, I made my first major gift to Berkeley to establish the Huang Scholars Program, which matched students from any major with language study and internship or...