STEM Role Models

Profile photo of Ceshia Palos Castellanos:Ceshia Palos Castellanos

As an immigrant from South East LA, I grew up in a predominantly low-income Latinx community that values tradition and hard work. Leaving my comfort zone in LA was hard, nevertheless, it has been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! I’ve exchanged countless stories with people from all walks of life, I’ve been a student to renown professors and leaders in their fields, I’ve attended conferences and seminars, and made connections I hope last a lifetime. Though I love the student experience, I am even more eager to put the skills and knowledge I obtain at Cal into the real world. In the recent couple of years, I learned that I value mental-health awareness and inclusivity, social and healthcare justice, as well as nutrition accessibility; and I found that Public Health contains the multidisciplinary approach to address these passions. STEM plays a role in this as it provides me with resources, technical skills, and a network of passionate individuals so that I can further investigate and dive into these topics. Other than my involvement in Cal NERDS as both a member and Student Director, I am also a caseworker, food security coordinator, and UGSI (this semester!) for The Suitcase Clinic. The Suitcase Clinic focuses on helping underserved folks around Berkeley, not only by providing services to the community members, but also supporting, advocating for, and establishing a community with all members. Lastly, I am part of Cal’s Disabled Students’ Program (DSP), where I have been given the resources and support I need to ensure my personal and academic success in such a large institution! Ultimately, I am humbled and honored for these experiences for they have made me who I am, and I hope to soon be able to pay it forward to my community at home.

NERDS has provided a community within Berkeley where I feel the most comfortable in. I can feel at home while simultaneously being challenged academically, professionally, and personally. As a Student Director, I've been able to further understand and solidify what type of career path I want to follow. As a Cal NERDS member, I was given the opportunity to attend Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) 2019 Conference, where I was able to interact with tons of folks who look like me and are leaders in their fields. This experience gave me more confidence in myself and in my power to bring change to my community for my community. Overall, CalNERDS has provided a home where I've met some of the most passionate, smart, genuine, and caring people that push me to become the best version of myself. I don't think I would feel that I belonged to UC Berkeley if it wasn't for CalNERDS.
Female student stands in front of SACNAS conference poster board.

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