The University of California awarded two foster youth students the inaugural Regents Foster Youth Award. William Carter, a UC Berkeley Ph.D. student, and Mary Tran, a UCLA law student, were presented with their awards by UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D., and UC Regents Chair Richard Leib at a meeting of the UC Board of Regents at UC San Diego.
William Carter is a geography Ph.D. student and Fulbright Scholar who has organized and facilitated community events at UC Berkeley to discuss the foster youth experience in academia. In addition to supporting current and former foster youth, Carter also works as a disability justice activist on the UC Berkeley campus.
Mary Tran is a first-year law student and board member of the Foster Care Legal Network, a nonprofit focused on providing legal services for current and former foster youth. She is also one of the inaugural members/founders of Simply Friends, an initiative seeking to enrich the lives of current foster youth by introducing meaningful and healthy relationships into their lives.
“The University of California is proud to recognize the first-ever recipients of the Regents Foster Youth Award. These outstanding students have overcome significant obstacles to make it to UC, and once here, have excelled,” said UC President Michael V. Drake, M.D. “This award reflects our commitment to recognizing and celebrating our hardworking foster youth students. We look forward to seeing all the great things these inaugural recipients of the Regents Foster Youth Award achieve and to celebrating additional recipients in the years ahead.”
The Board of Regents approved the creation of the annual award at its meeting in May of 2021. The award is for foster youth attending UC to ensure ongoing visibility into the unique barriers that current and former foster youth face in their pursuit of academic success. The award also provides an opportunity for UC to celebrate foster youth students for their achievements and resilience.
“The Regents Foster Youth Award honors the incredible resiliency and accomplishments of students who have faced adversity,” said Richard Leib, Chair of the UC Board of Regents. “It is our privilege as a Board to celebrate these students’ achievements and support the awardees’ continued academic success.”
Also announced today were the recipients of the 13th annual President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership. Deniss Martinez, a Ph.D. candidate in ecology at UC Davis, and Karly Hampshire, a medical student at UCSF, were chosen from a field of 11 nominees from five campuses. A selection committee comprised of University of California staff reviewed, scored and ranked the nominations.