The full board will consider the committee's recommendation at its July 16-17 meeting. If approved, Bernal would become the 35th student regent since the position was established in 1975.
He would then serve as the student regent-designate for the coming year and be able to participate in all deliberations, but not vote until July 2009 when his one-year term would begin.
"I am honored to be chosen as student regent, and look forward to working with the Regents and the entire UC community to address the serious budget and educational challenges facing both the university and the state," said Bernal. "Now more than ever, California's future demands a new approach to public investment in higher education, and we must at the same time continue to identify innovative opportunities to increase diversity and keep a UC education affordable."
A first-generation college student, Bernal began his graduate studies at UC Santa Barbara in 2005, first in political science and now in education. His areas of emphasis include underrepresented students in higher education, first-year student experience, student development and retention. Bernal received his bachelor's degree from Westmont College (Santa Barbara).
He is also currently special programs manager in the UCSB summer sessions office, where he coordinates academic arrangements for several programs, including courses, advising and workshops as well as extracurricular activities and residential aspects. He has also served as university affairs chair and board member of the UC Student Association and external vice president for statewide affairs for the UCSB Graduate Students Association.
Bernal's community service has also focused on student and education issues. For several years, he was site coordinator for a Santa Barbara Endowment for Youth program in several elementary schools, supervising tutors, recruitment and parent outreach. Previously, he was a tutor and college adviser with the California Student Opportunity and Access Program, which aims to increase academic achievement and foster college possibilities and retention. With the Southwestern University Diversity Education Program, he was activities director for "Bridge Builders," organizing training in diversity education and cultural sensitivity.
The student regent for 2008-09 is D'Artagnan Scorza, a graduate student in education at UCLA.
The nominating committee included Regents Joanne Kozberg (chair), Eddie Island, William De La Pena, Eleanor Brewer and Ben Allen.
The Regents' policy on the appointment of the student regent is available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/policies/6010.html.
This year, 65 students from all 10 UC campuses applied for the position. The Regents' committee interviewed three finalists, whose names were submitted by the UC Student Association after its review of the top candidates from the UC campuses.
Bernal may be contacted at (805) 708-0421 or email@example.com.
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