Allyson Velez

Job title: 
Class of 2022
2022 John Gardner Fellowship
2022 Cali-in-Sacramento Student Director
2022 Cal-in-Sacramento
Placement: California Health & Human Services Agency
Placement Location: Sacramento, California

Raised in an immigrant household in Southern California, Allyson is passionate about creating solutions to health care challenges marginalized communities face. At an early age, Allyson’s father was diagnosed with a chronic health condition that required frequent interactions with the health care system. Through this experience, she became acutely aware of the high cost of health care and its disproportionate impact on BIPOC and low-income families. At UC Berkeley, Allyson, the first in her family to attend college, strove to learn about the different dimensions of the healthcare system, with a special focus on marginalized communities. In 2022, she graduated with a major in Public Health and a minor in Public Policy.   

While at UC Berkeley, several of Allyson’s extra-curricular activities also centered on health equity.  As a research assistant at the UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies, she examined the rate of state-sponsored insurance coverage of  low-income, Latinx children with disabilities in California. At the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, she investigated the impact of safety-net-support programs for California families after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. These research experiences propelled her to be selected for the highly competitive Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship where she worked on maternal and child health policy at the California Department of Public Health.

Following her Fellowship, she was promoted to Student Director of the Cal-in-Sacramento Fellowship at the Institute of Governmental Studies. In this role, Allyson provided direct peer and academic support to other Berkeley undergraduates interested in public service. In the summer of 2022, Allyson will complete a second placement as a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow at the Governor's Office of Business and Economic Development. Allyson also participated in the Berkeley Model United Nations (BMUN) for four years, where she taught high school students across the United States about global health, social development, and economic issues. 

As a Gardner fellow, Allyson hopes to advocate for disadvantaged communities in their pursuit of affordable health care. She is particularly interested in legislative advocacy and aspires to establish a career dedicated to public health and to racial and ethnic injustice. 

Research interests: 

Major(s): Public Health

Minor(s): Public Policy