A University of California Board of Regents special committee has nominated Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza, a UC Berkeley undergraduate student and an alumnus of Modesto Junior College, to be the 2021-22 student regent, UC announced.
If approved by the Board of Regents at their July meeting, Zaragoza will become the 47th student regent, a position established in 1975. She will serve as the student regent-designate for the coming year, able to participate in all deliberations, and will have voting privileges when her one-year term as a regent begins in July 2021.
Zaragoza, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, belonging to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and daughter of a Mexican immigrant, graduated from Patterson High School and attended Modesto Junior College. While at MJC she was an active part of several clubs, was a keynote speaker at the college’s Hispanic Education Conference, in addition to serving as a Senator, Director of Political Development, and Vice President of the Associated Students.
In June 2018 Zaragoza was appointed to the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, graduated and transferred from Modesto Junior College to UC Berkeley, where she is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in geography.
With her appointment to UC Board of Regents, Zaragoza becomes the first student in MJC’s 98-year history to serve as an MJC student leader, as a California Community Colleges Board of Governors member, and soon to serve as UC student regent.
Zaragoza shared, “This is so important. Not a lot of people from rural areas get representation on these types of boards. It is important that people have an understanding of transfer students who make up half the populations of the UC system. I am a product of California Community Colleges, specifically MJC and that is a huge point of pride for me. MJC gave me my start and helped me figure out who I wanted to be. I am forever grateful and honored to give back and serve.”
As student regent, Zaragoza wants to use her knowledge and experience on the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to help improve campus climate as well as student, faculty and staff diversity at UC, including admissions reform to make the University more inclusive of all Californians.
This year 83 candidates submitted applications to become the 2021-22 student regent. After panels appointed by the UC campus student body presidents and the UC Student Association and UC Graduate and Professional Council reviewed the applications and interviewed semifinalists, a special committee of the Regents interviewed the finalists, and nominated Zaragoza.