Three undergraduate students from UC Santa Barbara have received fellowships to participate in a new Presidential Public Service Fellowship Program beginning in the fall.

Each of the 27 UC fellows selected will receive a stipend of $2,500 to cover fees related to their internships; this will especially help students whose internships do not cover the costs of living in places like Washington, D.C. Courtesy of University of California

A group of 27 students from the University of California, including Marjan Abubo, Paola Dela Cruz and Daniel Eyal from UCSB, will take part in public service internships in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. as the first group of fellows for the program.

When applying for the fellowship, Dela Cruz, who will be completing her last year at UC Santa Barbara next year, wrote about her experiences in Isla Vista as a young student leader. During her time at UCSB, she served as both external vice president for local affairs in Associated Students and a director for the Isla Vista Recreation & Parks Department.

“Although we have currently no form of government, we are unincorporated, and I have the very unique opportunity to be an elected official here, twice,” said Dela Cruz, who hopes to continue her work with Latino/a youth through hands-on experience in United States government next year.

UC President Janet Napolitano created the fellowship in February to help boost interest in public service careers, awarding students who showed commitment in the field, but required financial support to participate in the UC Washington Center (UCDC) and UC Center Sacramento (UCCS) programs.

While the majority of the costs of the internships for UCDC and UCCS are covered through regular tuition fees, each of the fellows selected will receive a $2,500 stipend to help cover any extra costs related to their work. The students have applied for internships and several are currently waiting to hear back from employers.

Abubo, who will be transferring from UCSB to UCLA to begin his third year in the fall, said he had been thinking about doing either UCDC or UCCS when he received the fellowship.

“It was a good opportunity for me to have additional financial aid as well as to have something that recognizes why I’m pursuing the internship in the first place,” Abubo said.

Eyal, fourth-year global studies major and fellowship recipient for the UCDC program, said the fellowship program is beneficial for interns who may not receive the financial support they need, especially in expensive cities.

“Those internships typically do not provide financial support for their interns, so in a city like D.C., it’s pretty crucial to have additional funds to help me out,” Eyal said.

Abubo hopes his time in the UCCS program will help demonstrate the role student activists can have within the government.

“I feel like usually with the current climate they think of student activists as very anti-system and opposed to the government,” Abubo said. “I want to use my experiences within the government sector to show that student leaders and student activists very much have a space within our government.”

“Whatever internship I pursue, I can still use what I’ve learned to organize, educate, agitate and mobilize and uplift communities when I come back here to UCSB or wherever I continue with my future endeavors with organizing,” Abubo said.

Eyal said he is excited to have the opportunity to continue his work in activism in D.C. through a full-time internship.

“To be part of a community of really engaged students from the UCs is empowering,” Eyal said. “During my time in which I’ve been active on campus, the biggest takeaway for me was how passionate and motivated my peers are to enact change and impact the broader community, so I’m really looking forward to doing that in a much more concentrated way.”

A version of this story appeared on p.3 of the Thursday, June 23, edition of the Daily Nexus.