Naz Balkam

Job title: 
2021 Matsui Washington Fellow
Placement: USAID’s Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs
Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Naz Balkam is a first-generation Ethiopian-American studying Political Science at UC Berkeley. As a life-long Oakland resident and the daughter of two working-class Ethiopian immigrants, she has seen the ways in which the government has both failed and succeeded in addressing the socio-economic issues impacting low-income communities and communities of color. Her upbringing has guided her towards a career in serving these communities. Throughout her time at UC Berkeley, she has worked with non-profits throughout the Bay Area and with local government officials dedicated to resolving issues plaguing marginalized communities. She is currently interning with San Jose's housing department as one of the Matsui Center's Leonard D. Schaeffer Fellows. She also works at Berkeley Law's Field Placement Program and conducts intake for a non-profit in Oakland, where she helps mitigate imminent housing crises for the Bay Area's working-class residents and their families. She believes interning at Washington D.C this fall will give her the opportunity to obtain the skills and experiences necessary to better serve marginalized communities.