Uncharted Territory

Elizabeth blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Elizabeth Householder

As I write this, it is now my second official snow day. As a California native who never really ventured too far from home, I must admit this is still all amazingly surprising and surreal, to say the least. The first time I saw snow was last week. I was so shocked I halted in my tracks in awe to watch the first little snowflakes fall from the sky. Little did I know those cute little snow flakes would turn into a blizzard that would trap us all inside for four days, but hey, I guess you should be careful what you wish for!

Walking in the streets after the blizzard finally ended… SO MUCH SNOW!

Walking in the streets after the blizzard finally ended… SO MUCH SNOW!

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Washington DC: Reconnecting with a Familiar Space

Gurchit blogPosted by Matsui Washington Fellow Gurchit Chatha

In 2014, after having just transferred to Cal, I decided I’d take it upon myself to independently apply for an internship in Washington, D.C. and begin dabbling in the political world. Though I had a stellar experience interning for Congressman Mike Honda, because I was on my own, I was forced to rely on personal finances and limited funding from the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) to manage the hefty costs associated with living in D.C. In retrospect, boy was that a huge mistake! DC’s housing costs climb every year, eating out averages around $15-20 per meal, and keeping up with the city’s chic fashion trends is no poor man’s task.

A couple of friends and I got our Library of Congress Researcher cards!

A couple of friends and I got our Library of Congress Researcher cards!

Fast-forward two years, and here I am again embarking on another journey in DC, this time interning at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Effective Public Management as part of the Spring 2016 UCDC class. Thankfully, however, with lessons learned from the past come greater prospects for the future: I remain grateful to UC Berkeley and generous donors like the ones that make the Matsui Center Fellowships possible for helping me finance my stay in D.C. It’s no understatement that financial stability has great effects on one’s mental health, and thus, being able to perceive these next few months through the lens of a worry-free college student is a privilege in it of itself. Continue reading

Lived Experience as a Source of Knowledge

Danny MurilloPosted by John Gardner Fellow Danny Murillo

Founded by Dr. Donald Roden of Rutgers University – New Brunswick, the MountainviewProgram (MVP) initially started as a volunteer GED tutoring group for incarcerated youth at the Mountainview Youth Correctional Facility in Annandale, New Jersey. In 2013 the MVP program was incorporated into a consortium of higher education institutions known as the New Jersey Scholarship and Transformative Education in Prisons (NJ – STEP). The MVP then transitioned into the reentry component within NJ – STEP’s prison to higher education pipeline and is housed at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University – Newark.

Following the formalization of NJ-STEP, the Vera Institute of Justice selected them as part of a five-year national initiative that provides incentive funding and technical assistance to three selected states to participate in the Pathways from Prison to Postsecondary Education Project. The consortium is a membership of community colleges and public and private universities that collaborates with the New Jersey Department of Corrections and State Parole Board by providing post-secondary courses to incarcerated students in seven state correctional facilities and formerly incarcerated students in various New Jersey community colleges and the Rutgers University. Continue reading