Claire-Marie Kooi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in environmental earth science with a minor in dance and performance studies from UC Berkeley. Although her degree is in science, Claire has actively pursued opportunities to advocate for and work with students in all STEM disciplines. As an undergraduate, she was president of the Black Engineering and Science Students’ Association where she developed “A Stand for Education” — a program that introduces Black Bay Area youth to college and the STEM fields. In 2016, Claire received the UC Berkeley Destination College Advising Corps (DCAC) fellowship and worked as a college adviser at Vacaville High School. In this role she recruited hundreds of first-generation, undocumented, low-income, and underrepresented students into the DCAC cohorts by providing them with college access services. In her current role as a programs manager in UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering, Claire oversees programs such as Engineering Scholars as Engaged Scholars ((ES)2), which engages students at the intersection of environmental justice, social justice, and engineering. In addition, she is also the founding director of the First Generation Mentor Program, which aims to increase the success and retention of first-generation students in engineering.
What exciting projects are you working on?
I’m really excited about the Transfer Mentor Program, which will pilot Fall 2020. This program will provide a community space that will support our diverse group of incoming transfer students academically, professionally, and socially.
What’s something that students and colleagues should know about you?
As a student of color who studied science at UC Berkeley, I can relate to many of the struggles and obstacles that our students face. Although every person’s experience is different, I’m passionate about making sure that every student — especially those who are underrepresented — has a positive experience at Cal and feels that they belong (because they do!).
What is your favorite Berkeley event?
I love to attend Cal Performances. I used to be a dancer, so my favorite group is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, a company that celebrates and showcases the beauty of Black bodies and Black culture.
If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
I would really like to learn how to speak different languages. Specifically, I’d like to learn how to speak Haitian Creole, French, and Dutch, because those are the languages that my family speaks and I don’t want that part of my culture to be lost.