Undergraduate Research & Scholarships



Caitlyn Abragan

Hi there! My name is Caitlyn Abragan and I am a third-year student studying Conservation and Resource Studies here at UC Berkeley! I participated in UCDC during the Fall of 2023 and I was a developmental intern at the National Wildlife Refuge Association (NWRA). NWRA is a non-profit environmental non-governmental organization that advocates, fundraises, and protects all of America’s wildlife refuges and the species that call it home. As a developmental intern, I closely worked with and assisted the Director of Development on donation campaigns (I was able to lead and create their Giving Tuesday campaign all on my own!), grant proposals and applications, contacts/relationships with current and prospective donors, and write blog posts about a variety of topics (conservation, current events, refuge stories, and more). 

My time in DC was nothing short of amazing. It was a marvelous opportunity to be able to experience so many remarkable things: the professional world and interacting with individuals within that realm (so many career field events hosted by UCDC and other organizations), a new change of pace (I genuinely loved the 9-5 work schedule more than a college schedule), exploring historical and landmarked places (amazing and safe transportation system, huge zoo, and free museums!), and so much more. 

Don’t hesitate to send me an email with any questions/concerns about UCDC or my time there. I’d be happy to meet with you via Zoom or in person. Cheers to DC and go Bears!

Sarah Ansell

Hi everyone! My name is Sarah Ansell, and I am a third-year student studying Political Science and Society & Environment. I participated in the Fall 2023 UCDC cohort where I interned on Capitol Hill in the Office of U.S. Senator Alex Padilla. I loved my experiences in this position, in which I got to work with constituents through phone calls, mail, and emails and on legislative work by attending congressional briefings and hearings, writing policy memos, and conducting research for legislative staff. The Senator’s focus on the environment, in particular through his legislation and positions on the Environment & Public Works Committee and Energy & Natural Resources Committee, also gave me amazing opportunities to learn first-hand about climate policy, my career of interest. 

More generally, I loved living and working in DC. From tours of the Capitol Building (with constant Senator spottings and endless history) to free museums, amazing food, fall leaves, and brick-lined neighborhoods, I can’t recommend this program enough. Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions, I’d be happy to tell you more about my experience! 

Julian-Angelo Dinarte

Hey all! My name is Julian-Angelo Dinarte. I am a fourth-year student studying Political Science. I was fortunate to be a part of the Fall 2023 UCDC cohort where I was a Program Performance Intern at the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and a Government Affairs Intern with the University of California Student Association (UCSA). LSC is the single largest funder of civil legal aid for low-income Americans in the nation and operates as an independent 510(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that promotes equal access to justice. UCSA is the official voice of students from across the UC’s system of campuses. During my time interning in D.C., my daily tasks varied and ranged from filing memos for court, assisting with coordinating grant reviews, drafting/ reviewing reports, scheduling legislative visits, and advocating for urgent public policy challenges. As a pre-law student, it was amazing attending events in the office and outside where I was able to connect to attorneys all across the DMV (D.C., Maryland & Virginia) area and seek additional opportunities outside of UC Berkeley and get advice for future goals. 

My time in D.C. was bittersweet. I would recommend it to students who are willing to be comfortable with being uncomfortable and who want to learn more about what life is like working in D.C. while being a student, from the night-life, food spots, traveling to different states, and enjoying your time in the East Coast! If you would like to get in touch with me to learn more about my experience in D.C./ work in specific, please feel free to contact me via email and we can set up an appointment! 

Kavin Kumaravel

Hi everyone! My name is Kavin Kumaravel, and I’m a senior majoring in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science. I had the incredible opportunity to be part of the Fall 2023 UCDC Cohort, where I interned with the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee under Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH). In my position, I was able to work in a variety of policy areas, including capital markets, consumer protection, and artificial intelligence. Some of my work consisted of writing letters to regulatory agencies on proposed regulations, preparing witness questions and staff memos for hearings, and conducting legislative research. It was truly rewarding to be able to do substantive work on issues I care about deeply. Additionally, being in DC was a blast—I loved exploring the museums and navigating the excellent public transit system. The UCDC program has been instrumental in helping me shape my future goals, providing me with invaluable experiences and insights into the world of policy and governance.

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions at all

Melany Lopez

Hi! I am Melany Lopez, a third-year majoring in Media Law & Policy. While I currently call UC Berkeley home, my roots trace back to the Imperial Valley where I was born and raised. UCDC Fall 2023 revolved around a transformative internship experience. Having the opportunity to be a Press Intern for Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz (CA-25), I was eager to immerse myself in the impactful realm of Congress, bearing witness to the substantial work that unfolds within its halls. As a Latina, while in DC, I expressed my passion for championing racial equity and broadening access to opportunities. My intentions were to cultivate a deeper understanding of these areas, armed with knowledge that empowers me to make meaningful contributions to the advancement of California’s 25th district. The UCDC journey is filled with plenty of learning and growth opportunities. When not in the office, I would enjoy my time exploring the city, checking out coffee shops, restaurants, museums, traveling to surrounding cities, and everything in between. I would be more than happy to share more about my experience over a coffee chat, or another form that is more convenient for you! If you’re interested please reach out to me via email, so that we could set something up:) 

Marlene Avalos Meir

Hi everyone. My name is Marlene Avalos Mier. I am a fourth year, re-entry, transfer student double  majoring in Public Health and Legal Studies. I had the wonderful opportunity to be part of the UCDC  Fall 2023 cohort. I had the privilege of interning with the National Disability Rights Network, which  was founded by Congress 50 years ago to protect the rights of all individuals with disabilities, as a  Public Policy Intern. During my internship I had the opportunity to attend meetings where future bills were discussed, and also take part in projects and research which informed how the organization presented future bills to Congressional offices. One of my favorite  things about my internship was the relationships I had a chance to build within the organization. My direct supervisor took the time to get to know the interns and our interests and would share articles,  journals, and other materials with us in the chance they would inform our future choice of career and opportunities. 

When not working or in class, I explored museums (Spy Museum was great by the way), foodie restaurants, the zoo, and tried to absorb as much of the local culture as possible. As a person who did not know what I would get out of the program since I am not Political Science or Public Policy major, I can now say that the program is for every major as most career fields are represented in D.C. The program is a great way to focus your career goals, and also explore other avenues you may not have thought about before. I am happy to speak to anyone who may want  further insight or has questions about taking part in the program. Please feel free to reach out. 

Arely Valencia

Hi everyone! I’m Arely Valencia, a fourth-year student studying Legal Studies with a minor in Public Policy. I was a part of the Fall 2023 UCDC cohort and had a wonderful experience. During my time in D.C., I had the great honor of interning on Capitol Hill as a Legislative Intern at the Office of Senator Alex Padilla. This experience was exhilarating, involving participation in legislative briefings and delving into critical issues such as environmental policy, healthcare, and education reform. My day-to-day routine extended beyond the operational aspects of the office; it included meaningful interactions with constituents, networking with senior staff, and contributing to the nuanced process of crafting legislative memos. A noteworthy moment from my internship was witnessing a historic vote in the House of Representatives for the removal of their Speaker. Additionally, I loved exploring renowned national museums and monuments and visiting the iconic White House multiple times.

Being a part of the UCDC program helped solidify my future career plans and paved the way for a future filled with meaningful contributions to politics and policy. If you would like to contact me and talk more about my experience working on Capitol Hill, what it was like applying to different internships and scholarships, or great D.C. spots, do not hesitate to email me.