Graduate Student From UCSF Nominated for Student Regent

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Interview with Alfredo Mireles Jr.

News Editor Javier Panzar talks to Alfredo Mireles Jr., the new nominee for UC Student Regent.

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For the first time in nearly 20 years, a graduate student from the UC San Francisco campus has been nominated to represent students on the UC Board of Regents.

Alfredo Mireles Jr., a UC Berkeley graduate and current master's candidate at the medical school, was chosen from a pool of 54 applicants by a special board committee as well as by the board of directors of the UC Student Association. He will go before the regents for confirmation at their July meeting.

Current Student Regent Designate Jesse Cheng will become a voting member at the same meeting, while Jesse Bernal, current student regent, will end his two-year term.

Mireles said he will continue the work Bernal and Cheng began in the last year. Though health policy is his area of expertise, he said he will also focus on improving the racial climate on the 10 campuses as well as advocate for the university in Sacramento.

"I really want to be someone who students feel understand their issues," he said. "I think it's a challenging time, and because of that I'm really going to dive head-first into the position."

Mireles said his experience as an undergraduate, professional student and now as a graduate student will allow him to identify with all UC students.

Lauren Lewow, a UC Berkeley junior and UCSA board member, said that when evaluating candidates, the board considers their experiences, looking for a student that can represent student needs to the board.

"(Student regents) need to have a strong understanding and sense of the UC and what the UC's values are," she said. "These candidates really need to be strong ... they are going to be in a room with heavyweights."

After graduating from UC Berkeley with a degree in sociology, Mireles - a first-generation college graduate - received a bachelor's of science in nursing from Johns Hopkins University in 2006. He later went on to work as a nurse in the psychiatric wing of San Francisco General Hospital, where he said he began to focus on health policy.

After he started his studies at UCSF, he founded the San Francisco Health Policy Advocacy Club and served as a legislative liaison for the campus's graduate assembly.

Mireles currently works in Sacramento as a Jesse M. Unruh Assembly Fellow, serving as a staff member for Assemblymember Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge.

Mireles said as the UC's role in providing health care expands, he can bring valuable insight to the board. The university is partnering with Los Angeles County to reopen Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in 2012 and has formed a special committee to discuss the possibility of providing health care to the state's prisoners.

"I have had a series of experiences as well as connections to different communities that would make me effective in the position," he said. "There are a whole host of really important, health-related issues that are going to be before the regents in the next couple of years. As somebody who has studied health policy, who has worked as a nurse, I think I can contribute substantially in the debate."

According to Cheng, an undergraduate at UC Irvine, the two have already been meeting to prepare for their tenure together.

"I think it's a really good duo," Cheng said. "He is going to bring a lot of health care experience, great ties to the Legislature that are really going to be helpful."


Javier Panzar is the news editor. Contact him at [email protected]

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