Democracy Camp Berkeley

Democracy Camp

Democracy Camp is designed for Cal undergrads who are interested in enhancing our democracy through public service, and who are still discerning their unique pathway. Students can apply to one of two programs: Democracy Camp in Berkeley, the Matsui Center's alternative spring break program, or Democracy Camp in DC...

Democracy Camp in Berkeley

Program Overview Students participate in a series of meetings with local and state leaders and gain exposure to different facets of public service: legislative paths, community organizations, local and state government, legal fields, research, and philanthropy. Students have opportunities to expand their network and form meaningful connections with each other and with public service professionals (many of whom are Cal alumni). The program provides professional development and skill-building workshops, such as a resume workshop, networking practice, and more. Participants go...

Aisha Elbgal

Class of 2025
2022 Democracy Camp in Berkeley

Aisha Elbgal is a first-generation Muslim Yemeni-American with an intended major in Social Welfare. She was born and raised in Oakland, California where she has witnessed a plethora of issues engulf her beloved city coupled with the lack of action at the hands of those in power. This sparked a passion in Aisha from a young age when she gave a speech at her middle school about the early rise of gentrification and displacement in what was once a beautiful and diverse Oakland. She is now working to address issues such as educational inequity, public health and safety, homelessness...

Marisa Buenrostro

Class of 2025
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley

Marisa comes from a Mexican-American background- grounded in the intersections of gratitude, pride, and community. She is motivated by those around her to pursue her passion of working for the betterment of public service by giving back to the people that gave so much to her including the immigrant and refugee communities. This is reflected in her work with the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services where she was able to provide basic needs support to refugees such as delivering healthy groceries and furnishing their housing accommodations.

Before transferring to UC Berkeley

Ariana Kretz

Class of 2024
2023 Schaeffer Fellowship
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley

Ariana Kretz (she/her) is a Junior studying History with double minors in Public Policy and Conservation and Resource Studies at UC Berkeley. As an LGBTQ+ and disabled individual, government has had a deeply personal impact on her throughout her life. Growing up, Ariana's public school and broader community lacked the resources to make her feel properly supported and empowered in her identity. She hopes that by pursuing public service, she can create systems that better uplift those of marginalized identities.

Since the Fall of 2020, Ariana has been involved in

Natalie Gonzalez

Class of 2022
2022 Democracy Camp in Berkeley Student Director
2022 Democracy Camp in Berkeley
2021 Democracy Camp

Natalie Gonzalez is a first-generation undergraduate senior at UC Berkeley. Natalie is majoring in Legal Studies and minoring in Human Rights. She is currently working on her senior thesis through the Legal Studies Honors Program and working as a research assistant for a Postdoc at Brown University. She is passionate about public service and issues regarding child welfare. She also believes deeply in the importance of using data to discover the truth behind systemic and structural problems within our institutions to more effectively advocate for change and develop sustainable solutions.

Daira Rivera

Class of 2024
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley Student Director
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley
2022 Schaeffer Fellowship
2022 Democracy Camp in Berkeley
Placement: Placement Location:

Daira grew up in Hayward California and her parents are from Nayarit Mexico. She is currently a senior attending UC Berkeley majoring in Political Science with a minor in public policy. Her career is geared towards being a civil rights attorney and one day working in public policy. Throughout her upbringing, she became aware of the systematic failures that affect low-income POC and wants to dedicate her career to aid the effort in changing them. She ultimately wants a career in public service that will fulfill her...

Christian Dieguez

Class of 2026
2024 Democracy Camp in Berkeley Student Director
2023 Democracy Camp in Berkeley

Christian Dieguez is an ambitious first-generation sophomore intending to major in Political Science and minor in Public Policy. Being raised in Los Angeles, California, Christian has become passionate about creating solutions to immigration challenges, primarily in obtaining citizenship and keeping families together, and custodial issues in family law. At a young age, Christian experienced the long-lasting effect that divorce had in his low-income immigrant household. While experiencing financial, social, and mental strain, he became aware of the intersection between immigration and...

How to Apply to Democracy Camp


The 2024 Democracy Camp application is due by Sunday, November 5 at 11:59pm.

The application includes:

Brief questionnaire One short answer section Two essay questions (250 words each) Resume Unofficial transcript(s) from all higher education institutions

Resume tips and sample resumes can be found on the Cal Career Center website.

NOTE: There is ONE application for both Democracy Camp in Berkeley and...