Ariana Kretz

Job title: 
Class of 2024
2024 John Gardner Fellowship
2023 Schaeffer Fellowship
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley

As a queer and disabled woman, Ariana Kretz hopes that by pursuing a placement in environmental justice, she can create systems that better uplift those of marginalized identities while protecting the planet. Her particular policy interests include public transit and the intersection between Indigenous sovereignty and environmental issues.

At UC Berkeley, she majored in History with double minors in Public Policy and Conservation and Resource Studies. Her honor’s thesis focused on how Native American parents advocated for their children who were forcibly sent to Indian Boarding Schools at the turn of the 20th century. This thesis fills a gap in existing historical scholarship while challenging perceptions of Native-American parents, instead highlighting their active resistance to assimilation, passion for their children’s education, and impressive advocacy strategies. 

Beyond her studies, Ariana has been an active member of UC Berkeley’s community, particularly through her work in the Student Advocate’s Office, providing free and confidential casework services to students. As a caseworker, she has supported over forty students, and her senior year, she served as the Student Advocate, one of five executive positions of the ASUC. As Student Advocate, Ariana oversaw an office of 70 caseworkers and 500 cases, and was responsible for maintaining the operations, policy, and casework for the Office. Ariana pursued policies such as student bereavement leave, disability justice initiatives, and affordable University housing, centering issues most affecting SAO’s clients. 

Outside of UC Berkeley, Ariana has had internships with the Oakland Mayor’s Office, the Department of Commerce, and State Senator Nancy Skinner. At the Department of Commerce, she developed a presentation on climate policy in Indo-Pacific countries to inform President Biden’s Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity. With Senator Skinner’s Team, she organized public transit advocates to secure the passage of funding to save the BART system. She has received the Future Leader in Public Service Fellowship (Summer 2022), Shaeffer Fellowship (Summer 2023), and Democracy Camp Fellowship (Spring 2023).

Most of all, Ariana is motivated by and inspired by her community. She credits her loved ones in her hometown of Burbank, California, her parents who are tireless advocates for her, and every single client and caseworker she has had the privilege to work with at UC Berkeley for getting her to this point. 

Research interests: 

Major(s): History

Minor(s): Public Policy and Conservation and Resource Studies