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Letter from the Director

The Incentive Awards Program (IAP) is dedicated to making a difference for students personally, academically, and professionally. I think about this every day, and it has been even more on my mind as we refine the program and assess the best way to serve our existing scholars and future cohorts. Fall brings a new school year, full of possibility, and I look forward to the opportunities that will open up as we shape the future of IAP.

Currently, we are focused on securing the long-term financial sustainability of IAP, and minimizing the impact on current scholars. With our sights on making IAP the strongest program it can be in the present and going forward, we have decided to not select a cohort of students this year. While this was a very difficult decision to make, our goal is ensuring that IAP is able to recruit, award, and support talented Berkeley undergraduates for the 2016 admit class and beyond. Our unwavering commitment to the access, transition, retention, and degree completion of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented students is at the heart of everything we do.

As you will read in this issue of the newsletter, our students and alumni continue to improve the lives of those around them. These stories are only a sampling of the amazing work our students do on and off campus to make a difference in the community. Along with the academic, personal, and financial support students receive, it means a lot to me to see our students continue to develop a great sense of altruism and an ability to look beyond themselves. Seeing how our scholars give back even after they graduate exemplifies for me the impact a program like this can have on individuals and the greater community, and I am grateful to be a part of that.

We’re also tremendously appreciative of our supporters, whose work and endowments help IAP Scholars make the most of their time at Berkeley. These generous gifts reaffirm the long-term sustainability of IAP services for currently enrolled scholars, including scholarships, tailored academic counseling, degree completion preparation assistance, professional development opportunities, resume writing and critique services. Additionally, funding works toward the development of programs for the fall 2016 cohort, and the support services we offer to IAP nominees while they are still in high school.

IAP has been operating for 24 years, and it is my pleasure to lead us as we look for ways to further impact educational equity and opportunity, while creating a personal and supportive community for our students at Berkeley. Thank you for being a part of what we do.

- Layla Naranjo, Director

Student Profile | A Program that Changes Lives

By Alex Vargas, 2013 Cohort, Second-Year, Bioengineering Major | Sacramento, California

I was born in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico and moved to Sacramento in 2010. I came to UC Berkeley in the Summer of 2013 as part of the Summer Bridge Cohort. I am now a second-year student pursuing a B.S. in bioengineering, but I also have a strong interest in the humanities and current social issues. As part of my extracurricular activities at Berkeley, I am involved in two student groups: oSTEM, a group that unites LGBTQQIA students within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and promotes awareness of their presence in all communities; and CalSol, the group that designs and builds solar cars capable of racing at highway speeds. I am also an intern at the Public Service Center, working for the Cal in Local Government Program, and I am aspiring to be a legal assistant at Educators for Fair Consideration (E4FC) next year. In the future, I would like to go to law school, although, I'm not sure in which concentration yet. Finally, I am an IAP Huhn Scholar.

IAP has been one of the best opportunities I have ever had. The office has the most supportive, friendly, and attentive staff that I have met in the entire university. They have fostered my academic and personal growth in so many ways, and have made navigating the university so much easier. To give an example, Brieanna Wright, my academic counselor, has always been there when I’ve most needed it. Whenever I've faced a crisis and needed help, she has always made herself available. Every single time that I come to her office, I leave with lots of joy and gratitude. She listens to my concerns and issues, and gives me honest advice. When I feel down and disappointed, she gives me positive perspective about things and motivates me again. Whenever I have had an administrative issue with the university, she always responds promptly, helps me take care of it, and then follows up with me. And, this is just one staff member; everyone else at IAP is equally supportive in different ways. IAP has been a safe community of other students that share similar backgrounds with me, and with whom I have been able to interact and grow.

Without the IAP scholarship, attending Berkeley would have been impossible for me. My IAP scholarship, funded by Jim and Betty Huhn, opened the doors to the world of higher education, and it's an opportunity for which I will always be thankful. Being able to afford to attend Berkeley, and being part of the IAP community, helped me learn about ideas and about other people. IAP has introduced me to so many experiences that will affect me for the rest of my life. There is no doubt that IAP is indeed a program that changes lives.

Alumni Profile | The Journey from Advisee to Adviser

By Antoine Davis, 2008 Cohort, 2010 B.A. in American Studies | Undergraduate Adviser, Department of Economics

During my tenure at Berkeley, my IAP family was a consistent source of inspiration. As a low-income and first-generation college student, IAP's support was imperative when I faced academic challenges. The scholarship was essential to reducing my overall financial burden, and through IAP, I have gained lifelong experiences that continue to inspire me. Significantly, my IAP advisers were a primary motivator in my decision to become an academic adviser at Berkeley.

In 2010, I moved to Philadelphia to pursue an M.S. in higher education at the University of Pennsylvania. Post-graduation, I moved back to California and started working as an academic adviser for the Academic Achievement Programs Center at Berkeley. In my current role, I advise more than 200 first-generation and low-income college students including Posse Foundation Scholars, McNair Scholars, supplemental Pell Grant recipients, transfer students, Miller Scholars, and international students. I plan and teach courses — for credit — on undergraduate student success and graduate school preparation. Simultaneously, I am the program coordinator for our Academic Tutoring and Peer Mentoring Program. My current project with IAP involves meeting — one-on-one and monthly — with IAP students who graduated from McClymonds High.

While a student at Berkeley, I participated in several extracurricular activities. I served as a board member for College Works, Incorporated, where I assisted low-income students and families in the college application process. I interned for then Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, and State Treasurer Phil Angelides. I also chaired the student organization 100 College Black Men, facilitated support groups, and volunteered as a mentor at my church. In the summer of 2009, I participated in the Public Policy and International Affairs (PPIA) Fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. Post-graduation, with a B.A. in American Studies, I worked as a research assistant at Mason Tillman Associates, Ltd., a public policy and public relations firm in Oakland, California. While employed at Mason Tillman, I volunteered at my high school alma mater, McClymonds, where I successfully helped five students apply to Berkeley. Of those five, two students received scholarships from IAP.

Seeing the students I mentored become part of IAP was very rewarding. It was not too long ago that IAP Alum, James Johnson, Jr., helped me apply to Berkeley. His guidance during the application process was invaluable. I was able to pay it forward by mentoring and guiding several other students.

IAP always fostered an environment of service and leadership. I hosted prospective students during Senior Weekend/Visit Day and was able to be part of a community that served the needs of many underserved communities on campus. To this day, I am active in my surrounding community. I am the director of the Youth and Young Adult Ministry at my church, I am a board member for the Berkeley Democratic Club, and I am a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, Inc. Alumni Chapter in Berkeley.

Chancellor's Reception Honors IAP Scholars and Partners

In early April, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and Professor Janaki Bakhle welcomed Incentive Awards Program (IAP) Scholars and alumni, program supporters, and high school partners into their home for a celebration. University House was full of smiles as the Chancellor congratulated current scholars, welcomed alumni, and thanked supporters and partners.

IAP Scholars also spoke at the reception, sharing their personal experiences; the stories that reveal what makes IAP a unique campus community. Esmé Freeman, a third-year social welfare major originally from Sacramento, and a current Huhn Scholar, shared that IAP "gives us the nurturing and welcoming environment where we can excel, despite our limitations. For me personally, the familial dynamic present in IAP is the most important function of the scholarship, (aside from the financial support it gives to students like myself who wouldn't be here without it)." She went on to state that, "This scholarship helped me through some of the toughest emotional, financial, and academic times in my college career with open arms and an optimistic viewpoint about my capabilities. This scholarship helped me shape my passion so I can use my academic gifts to be a change agent in the welfare of those less fortunate than me."

Speaking as an alum and former IAP staff member, Phillip Loya, from the 2001 cohort with a B.A. in political science, opened by saying how pleased he was to be able to "thank all of you in this room for the opportunities you've given me over the years. The opportunity to work with you, collaborate with you, help you, but most importantly, the opportunity to grow with you." As a first-generation college student who wasn't initially aware of the options he might have for higher education, IAP has had a huge impact on Loya's academic and career path, and, he shared, "The unfortunate thing is that my story is not unique. Many of you in this room can relate. I believe that this is one of the reasons why I loved doing outreach and recruitment for IAP."

Perhaps the key to what makes IAP special lies in how it contributes to both the personal and academic confidence of its scholars. Loya summed up what he gained with, "The support I received as an IAP Scholar, the skills I developed in IAP as a staff member, and the passion for access and equity that exudes from IAP and from my personal beliefs — I bring IAP with me wherever I go."

Berkeley Project Brings Together Students, Alumni, and Staff

By Nixon Callejas, 2013 Cohort, Second-Year, Sociology Major | Oakland, California

I first participated in the Berkeley Project, a day of community service in the City of Berkeley, during the second semester of my freshman year. At the time, Rosaura Serrato (IAP Cohort 2013) was the site-leader for the IAP group. On the day of the event, I was inspired by two things: I loved that I spent time with students from IAP who I didn't get to see often because college life gets in the way at times; and, I saw the importance of the work that we were doing. As community members who study and live in Berkeley, it is our responsibility to give back in any way, shape, or form that we can. Though at the time I did not know what it took to lead a group, I was automatically interested in leading a group myself.

Coordinating IAP Scholars to work with the Berkeley Project this spring was both rewarding and difficult. It was most challenging to engage lots of people to sign up because students usually have midterms around the time Berkeley Project happens, and sometimes that impedes students from participating. Additionally, figuring out how to reach out to every cohort, including IAP alumni, took some effort.

These challenges helped me develop my current organizational and technical skills. For example, one way I reached out was through a "Save the Date" card I made in Photoshop. I have known how to use Photoshop for years, but this allowed me to put those skills to good use. Other challenges presented themselves as the event got closer, and the biggest thing I had to do was remind myself why I was coordinating the Berkeley Project, and what was the importance in relation to IAP.

I see the Berkeley Project as an activity that could become a tradition for IAP students, which also supports our IAP service engagement component. Just as Rosaura trained me, I trained Liliana Hu Wu (2014 Cohort), and Liliana will go on to train someone else next semester. This is how we develop our relationships while continuing to give back to our beloved Berkeley. Though the Berkeley Project was challenging, it wouldn't have been possible without the support of IAP scholars and staff, who helped make it successful. It felt great to be part of that team.

Everything about the coordinating process can be challenging, but those challenges were both learning opportunities and fun. Ever since I stepped onto campus, IAP has been my family. I owe a huge part of where I am now to the program. Many of us in IAP had not seen each other for a while. The Berkeley Project was a chance for students, alumni, and staff to interact with each other while also helping the local community.

All About Gratitude

Our program supporters are an integral part of the Incentive Awards Program (IAP). Thoughtful contributions make it possible for us to provide students with the extra resources and support they need to achieve academic success and feel confident in what can be a stressful, highly competitive university environment.

Every gift matters to the success of this program and our scholars. Whether it's a $5 gift from a current scholar, continuing contributions from loyal donors like the Huhns and McNellis families, or a recent anonymous gift of $1.7 million, each and every gift is appreciated. Our scholars are firmly entrenched in the philanthropy of service, resources, and gifts because of the commitments of our donors, community partners, and staff. We all join in to say THANK YOU!

Scholars Speak

"I'm so thankful that [IAP] saw the potential for me and my peers to thrive, even when we may have not seen it in ourselves. You helped me believe that I could, so I did, and now I will be graduating from the number one public university in the world because of it. I'll forever be indebted to the Huhn family, who allocated the resources for my region, and all the IAP staff!" -Esmé Freeman, 2012 Cohort, Third-Year, Social Welfare | Sacramento, California

Donors Speak

"Betty and I are so happy and proud to support students from Oakland and Sacramento to attend Berkeley and receive a world-class education. After you graduate, and when you're financially able, Betty and I hope that you think about your own Berkeley experience and consider supporting IAP in the future." -Jim Huhn, Class of 1952

"I give back to IAP mainly because it helped me so much in my transition from high school to college. When I first started at Cal, it was an overwhelming experience, but I adapted and succeeded with the help of the IAP staff and students." -Thai Trinh, 2002 Cohort, 2006 B.A. in Economics

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