Aurora Lopez has always seen education as a way for her and others in her community to get ahead in life. As a transfer student from community college to UC Berkeley, Aurora worked hard to overcome many challenges that she faced growing up as a child of a 15-yearold single mother from an immigrant family. Living in a house with 14 other people, Aurora often had to take responsibility for the education of her brother and cousins, at the same time she carved out enough space and time to excel at community college and then UC Berkeley. At UC Berkeley, Aurora majored in Political Science with a GPA of 3.85. At UC Berkeley, Aurora discovered her passion for international affairs. She took several classes inside and outside her major focusing on international affairs, the Middle East and Arabic language studies. She also completed an independent study on the topic of the European Union and the migrant crisis. Outside the classroom, Aurora interned with the British Consulate General and then one year later, she interned with the State Department’s Foreign Service Institute.In January 2021, she was selected to be a Cal-in-Sacramento Fellow, where she hopes to find an internship that deals with California public policy through an international lens. Becoming interested in international affairs did not mean Aurora abandoned her interest in education. During college, she worked as an Academic Coach at College Track supporting at-risk youths in their education pursuits. Additionally, Aurora spent one summer working for Harmony Plus, where she helped develop on-line education content for students and parents with a focus on outreach to DACA, first-gen, and low-income students. She also helped connect this company to a local, after-school nonprofit organization and inspired them to create a scholarship opportunity to help disadvantaged, aspiring entrepreneurial youth. As a result, she earned Berkeley’s Kid’s First prize for her efforts in fighting for equitable education. With the John Gardner Fellowship, Aurora hopes to pursue a career in politics and government that can bridge both her interests in education and international affairs.
2021 John Gardner Fellow
Class of 2022