The UC Board of Regents selected UC Berkeley second-year law student Marlenee Blas Pedral to be the 2022-23 student regent.
According to Blas Pedral, after attending UC Santa Barbara as an undergraduate student, she served as a professional staff member at UC Riverside. During her time there, she co-founded the UCR Career Closet, which provides students with professional attire, and the Butterfly Project, which mentors and provides internship opportunities to undocumented students.
“As a first-generation student, the UC has provided me with quality education and meaningful professional experience,” Blas Pedral said in an email. “The initiatives and meaningful partnerships I developed motivated me to apply to law school.”
For the following year she will serve as the UC student regent-designate, during which she will participate in deliberations, learn from regents and visit the UC campuses, Blas Pedral said.
She will receive voting privileges starting in 2022, she added.
According to a UC Office of the President press release, Blas Pedral was selected from 93 candidates for the position. After several rounds of interviews, she was nominated by a special committee of the regents.
“I’d like to think that my experience as an undergraduate student, former staff member, and now law student has equipped me with perspective and experience, both of which make me qualified for this position,” Blas Pedral said in an email.
As student regent, Blas Pedral said she plans to work toward safely transitioning students into in-person instruction next semester and to address basic needs of students. She also hopes to achieve affordable housing across the UC system and develop “long-term, sustainable services” for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals students.
Blas Pedral’s priority as student regent is to make an “affordable, quality education” accessible to all Californians as well as to empower students and promote inclusivity throughout the UC community, the press release reads.
“Blas Pedral is an effective listener and strives to find solutions that make sense for everyone,” said Chantel Johnson, Blas Pedral’s classmate in the UC Berkeley School of Law, in an email. “In my opinion, this should be a key trait of every advocate — to listen, care, and find appropriate remedies.”
Johnson also described Blas Pedral as “collegial, hardworking, and passionate,” which was echoed by UC Berkeley School of Law professor Kristen Holmquist.
Holmquist also highlighted Blas Pedral’s dedication to “equity and student well-being.”
Furthermore, former UC student regent Paul Barragan-Monge mentioned that Blas Pedral’s leadership comes during “a pivotal moment” for the university, taking into account the many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is a unique opportunity and a critical time to be part of the Board of Regents,” Blas Pedral said in an email. “I hope to be a fast learner, a thoughtful leader, and a proactive board member.”