Student Advocates to the Regents (StARs)

Student Advocates to the Regents (StARs) are funded to travel to the Regents meetings to provide public comment on pressing student issues. StARs are allowed 'backstage' privileges to speak with the Regents informally and engage in student advocacy.

Be a StAR!

Student Advocates to the Regents voice graduate student issues at the UC Board of Regents meetings. Contact us to learn more about the program:

Learn more about the StARs program here.

Get to know the past StARs.

September 2023 StARs

Puneet Singhania, UCR, M.S. in Computer Science

Puneet had been eager to become a StAR at the Regents meetings as he firmly believed in the importance of student representation and advocacy in decision-making processes that shaped the educational experience. As a StAR, he had the unique opportunity to give voice to the diverse concerns and aspirations of the student body. The decisions made by the Regents had far-reaching consequences on students' lives and learning environments, and it was imperative that these decisions reflected the actual needs and expectations of the students.

Miriam Burnett, UCSB, Ph.D. in Education

As a StAR student, she planned to contribute to steering the UC Regents' focus towards building a sense of belonging for students often overlooked in the general student body, particularly in terms of retention and recruitment. Leveraging her diverse experiences within the UC system, she was committed to assisting the Regents in shaping institutional policies that directly affected students and future generations.

For her, becoming a StAR student was crucial in holding the UC accountable for diversity and inclusion commitments. She recognized that not all students had equal access to informal engagements with decision-makers, and barriers such as socioeconomic status and systemic inequalities could limit opportunities for representation. In taking on this role, she aspired to bridge these gaps and amplify the voices of students facing unique challenges.

November StARs 2023

Sonya Brooks, UCLA, PhD in Education; MPH in Community Health Sciences

Sonya believes it's essential to tackle the pressing issues affecting a community one is passionate about. As a graduate student, she recognizes the tumultuous events some are facing without a clear prospect of hope. While challenges are inherent in the life of a graduate student, not every obstacle is necessary. Having the ability to communicate with decision-makers about challenges for which viable solutions can be found is crucial. Her personal experience with a specific issue amplifies the importance of advocating for it. These factors drive her desire to become a StAR at the Regents meeting and other future sessions.

In her strategy, she addressed these priorities whenever the opportunity arises. She understood the significance of the platform provided to her and acknowledges that if her voice doesn't speak for the voiceless, it holds little value. Her commitment is to use her position to advocate for solutions to challenges faced by graduate students, ensuring that their concerns are heard and addressed in the decision-making processes.

Noor Nakhaei, UCLA, GSA President

Noor brings a history of advocacy to the table, having served as the GSA president on his campus and co-chaired the UC-UCOP. Her interactions with the chancellor and President Drake have revealed that many issues and decision-making processes are often referred to the regents. Recognizing the pivotal role of the regents, she feels it's time to directly advocate with them to address pressing issues. During her term, she prioritized key points that necessitate attention from various angles—the campus side, the UCOP side, the regents side, and the state side. She emphasizes the importance of connecting efforts on all fronts to bring about meaningful change. Her experience and understanding of the interconnected nature of these issues drive his commitment to advocating for comprehensive solutions at the level of the regents.

 January 2024 StARs

Khirad Siddiqui, UCI, PhD in Criminology, Law & Society; MS in Computer Science

Khirad’s reason for aspiring to be a StAR at the Regents meetings is rooted in the belief that the issue at hand is of utmost importance. Drawing on personal experience in a campus role, she asserts that discord can arise from poorly defined rules, inadequate protection of free speech, and a failure to confront the campus's history of racialized state violence on students. Recognizing the potential deterioration of campus situations without addressing and rectifying these issues, she feels confident that, as a StAR, she can effectively address the concerns of many marginalized students. Her motivation stems from a commitment to fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for all.

Karely Amaya Rios, UCLA, MA in Public Policy

Karely views taking on the role of a StAR at the January Regents meeting as crucial for ensuring that the voices impacted by the Opportunity for All campaign are effectively heard. Advocating for tangible solutions and demanding accountability for the deferred implementation plan, particularly for undocumented students, aligns with her commitment to equitable opportunities. As a Public Policy student, participating in this role provides invaluable experience, offering a behind-the-scenes look at a meeting that can shape her academic and professional journey. With a focus on equitable employment, being present as a StAR enhances her ability to influence outcomes and contribute meaningfully to ongoing discussions. This opportunity represents an alignment with her dedication to student advocacy and active engagement in decision-making processes affecting the academic community.

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