Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship Program - Fall 2016 Newsletter

Regents' and Chancellor's Scholarship Program
FALL 2016
Letter from the Chair, Ali Niknejad 

This fall, we welcomed 247 new Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship recipients to campus. The culmination of months of dedicated effort from faculty, staff, and current scholars, each incoming class represents both a celebration of tradition and an opportunity to breathe new life into the program. 

As with each year in the past, our new scholars meet the faculty mentors who will guide them through career and life decisions during their time at Berkeley, they apply to serve on one of the many committees of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association (RCSA), they attend networking events and career fairs, volunteer for community service projects, find their causes on campus, and of course, devote countless hours to their studies. And as with each year in the past, our faculty and staff remain the steadfast support for these students. You will see how these experiences open doors in the profile of alumnus Ruben E. Canedo and the student story celebrating the impact of the RCSA on our scholars’ lives.

With this new year, we hope to expand and innovate ways in which this support and engagement can be more compelling, more lasting, resulting in an affinity for their alma mater that extends beyond graduation and out into the reaches of “the real world.” After all, our Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars are Golden Bears for life. 

At the milestone of 55 years in existence, this scholarship program continues to bring the best and brightest students to Berkeley from around the world. As incoming chair of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship Committee, I look forward to exploring possibilities for growth and evolution of the program, while continuing the legacy of excellence that both this scholarship and university represent. 

Ali Niknejad 
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Chair of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Committee 

Enriching the Berkeley Experience  

DAVID MRDJENOVICH, Class of 2017, Major in Materials Science and Engineering
Hometown: San Diego 
BRANDON PEARL, Class of 2017, Double Major in Computer Science and Statistics 
Hometown: Santa Monica 

The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association (RCSA) serves a diverse body of over 900 undergraduates and provides a community that fosters both professional development and social connection. Coordinating events, including TEDxBerkeley, thought-provoking panels, and the Berkeley Project, RCSA contributes to the larger Berkeley campus. Beginning in their freshman year, David Mrdjenovich and Brandon Pearl have enjoyed the experiences and opportunities afforded by this organization. From socializing with scholars from other campuses to networking at Regents’ Career Fairs, RCSA has enriched the Berkeley experience for them both. As co-presidents, David and Brandon continue to give back to the scholar community, ensuring that new students are offered an expanded breadth of opportunity. Following the traditions of previous leadership, David and Brandon look forward to growing the organization and collaborating with other on-campus groups to enhance offerings to both scholars and the larger campus community. Working together, David and Brandon are excited to embrace the coming year and guide the organization as it continues to flourish. 

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A Diploma in Mom’s Home 

RUBEN E. CANEDO, Class of 2011, Double Major in Ethnic Studies and Social Welfare 
Hometown: Calexico 

Ruben E. Canedo thanks the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship for inspiring his career in public higher education. As a Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship recipient, Ruben had the opportunity to participate in numerous academic and social events at UC Berkeley, where he was able to learn from campus leaders and alumni. Furthermore, Ruben recalls how he “was surrounded by peers who were passionate and worked incredibly hard to make the world better. The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship made me feel like I belonged at Cal.” 

These interactions enabled him to understand Berkeley through the lenses of students, professional staff, faculty, and administrators, inspiring Ruben to “dedicate my life to public higher education.” The scholarship also provided him with a support network of individuals who have nurtured his career; and it opened doors to academic, social, and professional events and opportunities he would not otherwise have had. “When I felt some type of pushback, I would share that I was a Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholar, and then people would engage with me.” Today, Ruben is paying it forward by helping students as a research and equity project manager at UC Berkeley. He has also established himself as a national expert on student food security, and currently coordinates the efforts of campus food security working groups at all ten UC campuses. For his work, Ruben has been recognized as one of the UC Global Food Initiative’s 30 under 30. “I am blessed to be in a position where I can advocate for students.” 

Ruben attended Berkeley during a deep part of the economic downturn. Many of his friends — low- and middle-income alike — left school because they could no longer afford it. Ruben is appreciative of the donors who support the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship. “If it hadn’t been for the scholarship’s support, I too would have had to leave. I am the only four-year college graduate in my family, my mom has a UC Berkeley diploma in her home, and I have a career I am deeply passionate about because of the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship.” 

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Your Support Keeps Our Programming Vibrant and Our Scholars Engaged 

Scholarship recipients (from left to right): Divya Periyakoil (Class of 2020) and Divya Nekkanti (Class of 2020) 

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship is able to provide numerous benefits to help scholars flourish during their time at UC Berkeley. In addition to the monetary award and scholarship tenure, Regents’ and Chancellor’s scholars benefit from: 

  • Guidance of a dedicated faculty mentor 
  • Unique academic growth opportunities through the Research Fellowship Program 
  • Leadership opportunities, peer support, and numerous social and professional development events through the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholars Association (RCSA) 
  • Priority class registration 
  • Guaranteed campus housing 
  • Advice and support from a devoted Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship adviser 

The Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship recruits the best brightest students to Berkeley where they learn from exceptional faculty: luminaries like Nobel laureate Randy Schekman, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of cell and developmental biology, who regularly participates in the scholar-run Regents’ Overnight Host Program and TEDxBerkeley; and Breakthrough Prize winner, Kam-Biu Luk, a physics professor and Regents’ and Chancellor’s interviewer and mentor. 

In the true spirit of Golden Bears, our scholars honor the opportunities afforded to them by giving back in their own remarkable ways, from engaging in life-changing research to supporting local communities through service and volunteer work. We couldn’t be more thankful for the vibrant, thriving, and caring community of scholars, alumni, donors, faculty, and staff who together make the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship a truly world-class program. 

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Give Now

The Berkeley Effect reaches beyond the campus, the state, and the nation. The generous hearts, good deeds, and great leaps of UC Berkeley spark positive change all over the world. On Thursday, November 17, you can ensure the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship continues to grow during Big Give, our 24-hour day-of-giving blitz. Join thousands of alumni, students, parents, and friends in showing your passion for Berkeley and support for students. 

Help us transform the world on November 17 by making a gift that makes a difference. 

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Honoring Tradition, Moving Ahead 

Established in 1962, the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship celebrates 55 years of bringing the most sought-after, promising young minds to UC Berkeley. This fall semester, we welcomed new scholars to campus to carry on the scholarship’s tradition of academic excellence and conscientious community engagement. Here’s to another 55 years!

Save the Date!

Friday, March 3, 2017, 7–9 p.m. Alumni Dinner — Arcadia/Pasadena

Friday, March 10, 2017, 7–9 p.m. Alumni Dinner — San Diego

Saturday, April 22, 2017, Noon–2 p.m. Scholars’ Parents Reception — Berkeley

Saturday, April 22, 2017, 5–7 p.m. Alumni Networking Reception — Berkeley