Matsui Washington Fellows prepare for DC

Aerial shot of Washington DC.
Aerial shot of Washington DC.
January 4, 2013

Every Spring the Robert T. Matsui Center for Politics and Public Service at IGS helps send two undergraduate students to Washington DC as part of the U.C. Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC)—this year’s fellows, Alana Baum and Austin Bergstrom, say they are really looking forward to the experience.

“I wanted to do UCDC since I started Berkeley,” Bergstrom said. “I think it’s a really incredible program and it deserves a lot more attention,” Baum agreed. 

The Matsui Center Washington Fellows are part of an elite group of service minded students selected through a rigorous application process to spend a spring semester in the country’s capitol interning at a politically related organization while taking classes with students from other UC schools at the U.C. Washington Center and working on an intense research project.

Matsui center program assistant, Elizabeth Marxen, said choosing just two fellows among the students accepted into UCDC to award $2,000 grants is never easy. 

“It was a very difficult decision for us because most of the applicants were very strong. The fact that they were already accepted to the UCDC program shows that they are very committed to public service,” Marxen said.

Baum is a junior, double majoring in History and Peace and Conflict Studies. Her extensive background in non-profit service—including cofounding Challah for Hunger, a nonprofit on campus that bakes and sells bread for NGOs locally and in Darfur—and passion for service helped her stand out from the other applicants, 

“The fact that she was a founding member of an organization on campus shows a lot of leadership and initiative. Skills that show she’ll be successful in her time in Washington,” Marxen said. 

Early in December, Baum secured an internship at OtherWords—a non-profit that provides progressive commentary for free to various newspapers and online publications throughout the U.S. She said the internship will combine her interest in journalism and social issues. 

“I expect the semester will be enlightening in helping me focus and get inspired to figure out what I want to do,” Baum said. 

Bergstrom, is a graduating senior, who’s excited to spend her last semester in DC and hopes to transition her internship into a job opportunity by the end of summer.

“I’m going to be working at the National Archives with the Boeing Learning Center. When classes and teachers come to the National Archives the Boeing Center is how they interact with American history,” Bergstrom said. “I’m really excited about it.”

Visit the Matsui Washington Fellows page to learn more about UCDC and the fellowship.