Matsui Center Washington Fellows

UCDC Fall 2023: Designing Your Own Destiny in D.C.

October 23, 2023

I am Celia Serrato, a current student at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. I was selected to participate in the University of California Washington Program (UCDC) for Fall 2023, where I am interning at the DC Center for the LGBTQ+ Community as a Social Media/Advocacy Intern. One aspect of my role is to advocate for and center the voices and lived experiences of the LGBTQ+ community in DC, facilitating access to our free resources. The center’s resources include a community closet, food pantry, binder program, and peer-support groups. The other...

UCDC Fall 2023: From Grief to Gratitude: Taking on D.C. One Day at a Time

October 18, 2023

I arrived in Washington, D.C. on August 18th, filled with anxiety and worry. I was living away from my family for the first time in my life, without knowing who would be there. Additionally, I was waiting on offers from multiple institutions. However, within days, my attitude completely changed. I met many amazing people, had multiple networking opportunities, and visited many historical sites. I started working at American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA), a non-profit meant to help refugees within Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon with long-term humanitarian aid.

I also delved straight...

UCDC Fall 2023: Witnessing History as it Unfolds; Weaving My Future into D.C.’s Vibrant Tapestry

October 25, 2023

Participating in the UCDC program this semester has been an incredibly transformative experience. This program seamlessly integrates academic excellence with real-world exposure, immersing participants in the vibrant tapestry of Washington, D.C.'s political, cultural, and historical landscape. Exploring diverse neighborhoods and engaging in hands-on internships in the epicenter of policy ensures that living and working in Washington, D.C. is far from ordinary—it's a daily adventure filled with energy and excitement. I've had the privilege of not only exploring renowned national museums and...

Matsui Center Washington Fellowship

The Matsui Center Washington Fellowship offers financial support for Cal undergraduate students participating in the UC Berkeley Washington Program (UCDC). The fellowship provides a $1,000 stipend to help defray the costs of spending a semester in Washington, DC.


This program is only open to students already admitted to the UC Berkeley Washington (UCDC) program. Interested students should...

UCDC Spring 2023: The Washington D.C Forest and the Journey as a Hilltern, Part 2

May 10, 2023

My time in Washington D.C was one of the most eye-opening experiences in my life. Each day I was able to be enveloped in the beauty of the city and challenge my writing and research abilities in my congressional internship for Representative Glenn Ivey of the fourth district of California. My final day in D.C. was a perfect representation of the fast and thrilling journey I experienced in D.C. On my final day I hit the ground running. My office had a tour of the Capitol building for 45 2nd graders and 6 chaperones. Only I and another intern were assigned to the tour,...

Celia Serrato

Class of 2024
2023 Washington Fellowship - Fall
Placement: TBD Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Celia is a bright light for her community and brings a refreshing voice and vision for the future. Her passion for Gender and Women's Studies as it relates to liberatory education, women's rights, LGBTQ+ rights, undocumented rights, and environmental justice offer a critical perspective for any movement or organization that seeks to address systemic issues and support and uplift marginalized communities. Rooted in her values and beliefs, Celia strives to further educate herself and others on...

Roberto Ramos

Class of 2024
2023 Washington Fellowship - Fall
Placement: TBD Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Growing up in a family restaurant, I witnessed firsthand the power of capitalism, which was often hailed as a symbol of equality. From a young age, I took on responsibilities, standing on an upside-down milk crate to take orders. It became a norm for me, shaping my understanding of the world through the lens of immigrant labor and capitalism. However, as I grew older, I began to question the inherent injustices within this system, ones that had previously gone unnoticed. Seeking a path...

Judy Saafein

Class of 2024
2023 Washington Fellowship - Fall
Placement: TBD Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Judy Saafein is a rising third-year political science and media studies student at UC Berkeley. As an immigrant who knew no English, Judy grew up watching how US government policies affected her family in the United States and her extended family abroad. Activism and advocacy became part of her daily routines, working at CAIR in middle school and engaging in local politics during high school. She is interested in helping her American Muslim and Arab communities by educating them about US civil...

Cecilia Wolfcale

Class of 2024
2023 Washington Fellowship - Spring
Placement: Public Defender Service of the District of Columbia Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Cecilia Wolfcale is a third-year student at UC Berkeley from Castro Valley, California studying legal studies and sociology. She plans to go to law school after completing her undergraduate experience at Cal and has career interests in criminal, civil, and constitutional law. Cecilia currently serves as the Intern Manager for the Incarcerated Scholars Program through Berkeley Underground Scholars. She has worked with the...

Arely Valencia

Class of 2024
2023 Washington Fellowship - Fall
Placement: Office of Senator Alex Padilla, U.S. Senate Placement Location: Washington, D.C.

Being raised in an immigrant household in Los Angeles, Arely witnessed her parents and community struggle to obtain basic needs, financial stability, and be misrepresented in many aspects of the law. Through these experiences, she grew a great passion for law and advocacy. As a first-generation college student at UC Berkeley, Arely is studying Legal Studies, with a minor in Public Policy. Academically, she is interested in social justice, minority...