UCDC Spring 2022: Navigating nonprofit work as a student of color person of color in high-level political spaces

April 7, 2022

Being a participant in the UCDC program has been an informative and enlightening experience. It has given me a taste of the D.C city culture and political climate which has brought value into deciding my career choices. I have had the opportunity to learn just how many options there are in making change, whether it is at the local or federal level. The program itself gave me a chance to meet a variety of people with various viewpoints and as a Berkeley student, I was further able to meet even more people for my last three weeks being here as the Spring students make their way to D.C.  

The close friends I have made here so far are definitely the type of people I want to stay close to and keep in touch with, they have taught me so much more about the political climate in D.C through their experience and my friends have also taught me the skills needed to be heard as a person of color in high political spaces. Living in D.C. is definitely different from California in every aspect. The cold weather takes some getting used to and the people here are not afraid to stand their ground in their beliefs, both inside and outside of UCDC. Transportation in D.C is very easy and useful, everything is close so it is fun to explore around. For the longest time I wanted to experience the east coast and see what life is like on the other side of the country, I truly cherished the opportunity I had to further explore the country and got a chance to visit New York, Philadelphia, and Maryland during my stay. It is fascinating just to see how different people are in every state in terms of culture and way of living. 

While in D.C. I have been interning with the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents (ALAS). My boss is a retired Superintendent of California but I work most closely with her grad student assistant. As an intern I have a wide range of responsibilities that I was able to choose for myself, I work on my own time as long as I can meet the weekly hour requirement. Some of the things I have worked on are translating documents from Spanish to English, creating membership cards, researching house bills on critical race theory, writing a letter to the Senate introducing our non-profit, and picking grant writers to get sponsors. 

I am incredibly honored grateful to be selected as a Matsui Washington Fellow. This fellowship has eased the financial burdens that come with living in the nation’s capital, allowing me to be fully engaged in studying and working.