The University of California Board of Regents today (July 21) appointed UC Berkeley law student Marlenee Blas Pedral to be the 2022-23 student regent.
Blas Pedral is the 48th 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 2022.
Born in an Otomi indigenous community in Mexico and raised in the Inland Empire, Blas Pedral is a first-generation student who received her bachelor’s degree with honors in global studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a master’s of higher education and administration from the University of Vermont. After earning her master’s degree, she was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to Brazil.
Blas Pedral was a career counselor at UC Riverside and later served as associate director of UC Riverside’s Center for Social Innovation. There, she co-founded the Butterfly Project, which provides internships and professional development for undocumented students, and the UC Riverside Career Closet, which provides students with professional attire for interviews and career fairs. During her first year at Berkeley Law, she was elected as a graduate representative and served on the Political and Election Empowerment Project. She is now a rising second-year law student.
“As a student and former professional staff member in the UC system, I hope to be able to bring my perspective and be an effective advocate for the UC community,” Blas Pedral said. “The pandemic has presented many challenges for students, and I hope to be an effective listener, a strong advocate and a trusted regent as we transition to in-person instruction.”
As student regent, her priority is to promote access to an affordable, quality education for all Californians and to establish innovative solutions that empower students and ensure their success. Blas Pedral also wants to use her knowledge of UC campuses and experience as an undergraduate student, professional student and staff member to advocate for policies that will provide an inclusive campus climate for the entire UC community.
This year 93 candidates submitted applications to become the 2022-23 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 Blas Pedral.