PLUS Fellows 2015-2016

Meet our 2015 - 2016 PLUS Fellows


LILLIAN CHEN

PLUS Client: The California Endowment + Sacramento City Unified School District

Lillian is a first-year Master of Public Policy and Master of Public Health candidate with primary interests in health policy and social policy. After graduating from UC Berkeley in 2011 with a B.A. in Public Health, she worked at a social sector research and consulting firm. Lillian has long-term interest in social and structural determinants of health. She is excited to explore more of those issues through the PLUS program, especially as they relate to cross-sector and city-school collaboration in education to build healthy communities. 


Nija Fountano

PLUS Client: Oakland Unified School District Talent Division 

Nija is a first-year Master of City Planning candidate in the College of Environmental Design, interested in regional economic development strategies and policy. She recently returned to the Bay Area after spending five years in Chicago, where she worked as a researcher at the American Planning Association and the Institute for Health Research and Policy. She also interned for the Future Leaders in Planning (FLIP) program at the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, engaging youth in environmental planning issues. She believes in a participatory planning process, which involves youth, as a tool for community empowerment.


Derrika Hunt

PLUS Client: Healthy Richmond Hub

Derrika is a doctoral student in the Education Department at UC Berkeley. She is passionate about working toward social justice, equity, and liberation for all. Derrika's research interests are rooted in understanding education systems globally, which has led her to work as a teacher in South Korea, study as an exchange student in Japan, and serve as a volunteer teacher in India.


Sarah Kolterman

PLUS Client:  San Francisco Unified School District Human Resources

Sarah is a second year Master of Public Policy candidate at Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. She is originally from San Diego and has spent the previous 12 years in Los Angeles working in education and research. Notable experiences include Program Coordinator for Reading to Kids and the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE). She has a background in early and elementary education, as well as nonprofits with a strong emphasis on social and economic justice.


Lindsay Maple

PLUS Client: Oakland Unified School District Facilities

Lindsay Maple is a Master of Public Policy candidate at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy with a special interest in education policy and poverty alleviation. Lindsay worked as a middle school Special Education Teacher with Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) and a Policy Fellow with Parents for Public Schools in San Francisco. She is eager to translate her classroom experiences into creating innovative solutions for the particular systemic inequities that impact urban schools through public policies. 


Casey McAlduff 

PLUS Client: Healthy Richmond Hub 

Casey is a candidate in the Multicultural Urban Secondary English (MUSE) Single Subject Credential in English and MA in Education program at UC Berkeley. Her research interests include the use of creative writing to help Emergent Bilingual Learners develop their English Language Arts skills, as well as fostering citizenship opportunities in public secondary schools as the potential to effect meaningful policy change, especially concerning access to higher education.


Taylor Myers

PLUS Client: San Francisco Unified School District Human Resources 

Taylor is a first year Master of Public Policy candidate at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy. Before coming to UC Berkeley, she worked four years in Chicago and San Francisco for Spark, a national middle school mentoring program, where she developed analytical strategies and evaluated student outcomes for the organization. She is interested in issues of inequity in social policy as well as comprehensive and growth-oriented evaluation methods within K-12 education. 


Zohar Perla

PLUS Client: Oakland Unified School District Talent Division

Zohar is a first-year Master of Public Policy student at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Her interests include education and social policy. Prior to policy school, she was an Education Pioneers Fellow working as a Regional Data Analyst and National Data Systems Consultant at Reading Partners. She is committed to working on issues of equity and access in public education.


Abby Ridley-Kerr

PLUS Client: West Contra Costa Unified School District 

Abby Ridley-Kerr is a first year student at the Goldman School of Public Policy with an interest in education and social policy. She worked for two years as an AmeriCorps volunteer with the non-profit organization City Year in San Jose where she gained first-hand experience working in the public education system.  She is committed to promoting equity of opportunity in California schools.  


Diana Rios

PLUS Client: The California Endowment and Sacramento City Unified School District

Diana Rios is a first-year Master of Public Health candidate in the health policy and management discipline at UC Berkeley. Her academic interests include global health systems and working on health policies that enable communities to live healthy lifestyles. She worked as an Analyst at Mission Analytics Group where she provided technical assistance for long-term care projects under the direction of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid. 


Leslie Valencia

PLUS Client: Oakland Unified School District Facilities 

Leslie Valencia is a first year Master of City Planning candidate at the College of Environmental Design, where she also obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture. She is currently researching how community associations can be utilized to foster affordable housing in low income suburbs. She is also interested in affordable and adequate housing for disadvantaged communities that address inequality through sensible design.


Keith Welch

PLUS Client: San Francisco Unified School District Human Resources

Keith is a first-year Master of Public Policy candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy. Prior to coming to UC Berkeley, he worked as an AmeriCorps volunteer at a refugee resettlement agency, spent two years in Germany teaching English and researching immigrant education policy, and worked at an education nonprofit in Oakland. As a PLUS Fellow he is looking forward to learning more about ways to improve collaboration between governments and schools. 


Eliza Kate Wicks-Arshack 

PLUS Client: West Contra Costa Unified School District

Eliza is in her first year of a concurrent Masters degree program in Social Welfare and Public Policy.  Prior to coming to Berkeley, her work focused on integrating wilderness experiences with social-emotional health and academic success. She worked at a wilderness therapy program in southeast Alaska, leading 50-day expeditions, and for an alternative high school in Colorado leading trips and teaching.  Eliza is dedicated to systems-change to enhance life success for youth and their communities.