Ari Wolfe, M.T.S., is the manager of the college’s EMPOWER program. She has been a lifelong social justice activist and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. She has a background in improvisational theatre and has organized and run many educational and professional events and workshops. Ari earned her M.T.S. degree at Church Divinity School of the Pacific; she holds a B.S.B.A. in business administration from Trinity College and University, and an A.S. degree in behavioral science with an emphasis on early childhood education from the College of Marin. Outside of her work at UC Berkeley, Ari is the director of racial equity programming for Saint Columba’s Church and Retreat House in Inverness, California, and an ordained Episcopal deacon.
How did your career path lead you to your current role?
I’ve been an advocate and activist for social justice most of my life and have volunteered for many organizations over the years (starting with fundraising for Greenpeace in the sixth grade, The Hunger Project in high school and Marin AIDS Project and Collage during community college). My activism and equity work had largely been separate from my work at BE, so when the opportunity arose to work on the EMPOWER projects, I was very excited to participate and combine two different parts of my life into one path.
How do you contribute to Berkeley Engineering’s equity and inclusion mission?
Queer (LGBTQ+) folk on the UCB campus tend to be a very quiet and often unseen group, yet there are many of us here. I’ve identified as bisexual since the age of 17, and feel strongly both about living a life that feels authentic to me and being available as a resource for others.
Besides your work, what’s something that you’re passionate about?
I love to knit. My grandmother used to crochet things for me, and toward the end of her life I wanted to reciprocate and make a shawl for her. I looked up knitting tutorials online and learned how to do it, and I’ve been a passionate knitter ever since!
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Below the College of Engineering, there’s a road that runs against the creek, and a small footbridge. I love sitting under the trees sometimes for a break and listening to the water.