Allyson Little

2013 to 2014
Placement:
Children Now
Placement Location:
Oakland, CA
Mentor:
Ted Lempert (President)
Service Interest:
Educational inequality
Major:
Political Economy with a minor in Education
Hometown:
Oakland, CA

Berkeley experience:

Allyson Little graduated highest distinction with a degree in Political Economy and a minor in Education. Attending Cal during a time of severe fiscal crisis shaped her undergraduate career and strengthened her commitment to public education. Inspired by this experience, Allyson integrated her passions for education and political participation to become highly involved on campus and in the East Bay community.

Extensive work as a tutor and mentor has shown Allyson the breadth of student experiences and motivated her commitment to educational equity. As a tutor with Reading Partners and BUILD Literacy she helped improve the skills of students in local high-needs elementary schools, while her work as a Writing Tutor in the Student Learning Center enabled her to serve U.C. Berkeley peers. Additionally, Allyson was a Residence Hall Assembly Representative before serving as a Resident Assistant for two more years.

Other service experience:

Allyson was an active participant in politics and advocacy. Through U.C. Berkeley’s Cal in the Capital program, she worked as an Education Policy Intern for the Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, D.C. She spent two summers interning in California State Assemblymember Nancy Skinner’s district office, where she witnessed firsthand the potential of politics that is responsive to community needs. Allyson was chosen to coordinate the Assemblymember’s 2012 campaign with a focus on field outreach around two statewide propositions. She collaborated with community organizations and student groups, including fellow members of the Cal Berkeley Democrats, to reach over 15,000 voters and contribute to the passage of a proposition that strengthened public school funding.

Inspired by this experience, Allyson saw a need to make the democratic process more accessible to students. She collaborated with a classmate to design an original workshop program to mentor Berkeley High School students on politics and advocacy.  Through the Shinnyo-en Peacebuilding Leadership Program they received a $500 grant to implement Project Student V.O I.C.E.: Voting & Opportunities in Civic Engagement. Allyson spent her last semester creating this program and mentoring students on projects related to gang violence, drug abuse, and second-hand smoke. With her guidance, the program will expand in the coming year.

Post fellowship plans:

In the future, Allyson hopes to work as a California policymaker and strengthen the state's public education system.

Commitment to service:

“Service is about connecting people with the knowledge and opportunities to express their own vision for a better world. In my view, education is the ultimate form of empowerment, which is why I am so committed to a strong and vibrant public education system.”