Jessi Fernandez (Class of 2023)

"I am only ONE, but I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do SOMETHING" - Edward Everett Hale

Job title: 

Current Employment/Post-Grad Status:

Jessi is currently a Leadership Coach at College Track!

Jessi Fernandez (he/his) is a proud leader amongst his formerly incarcerated comrades. Growing up, he experienced trauma and lacked social support; his positionality negatively impacted the way he learned to navigate life. Jessi has witnessed family and friends meet early demise through the violence of others; bullets missed him as he watched friends die. 

Mr. Fernandez currently advocates for marginalized people of color on campus, focusing on mental health services and peer support. Additionally, Mr. Fernandez is a Berkeley Underground Scholar, where he has opportunities to engage with the wider Cal community openly about his formerly incarcerated status and to help demystify the pathways to success for people like himself at Cal. Prior to transferring to UC Berkeley, Jessi served as the educational liaison in the education department at Homeboy Industries, the world's largest gang rehabilitation and reentry program. He plans to earn a Ph.D. in Sociology, which he will use to empower his community as a college professor, while also addressing and eradicating the inequitable power structures and normalized biases inherent to educational institutions. Mr. Fernandez decided long ago to advocate for and support his community in eliminating cycles of violence and incarceration by creating pathways to education, and he has dedicated his life to making that a reality.


  • Quay Scholarship Recipient

  • PSC Peter E. Haas Leaders Fellowship Recipient (x2)

  • Marco Antonio Firebaugh Scholars Program Recipient

  • Hispanic Fund Scholarship Recipient

  • Berkeley Student Cooperative Scholarship Recipient (x2)

  • All Of Us or None Covid-Relief Fund Recipient

  • ASUC Covid-Relief Scholarship Recipient

  • Chicanx Latinx Alumni Association Covid-Relief Fund Recipient

  • Beyond The Bars Conference NYC 2020 Participant

  • Homies Empowerment Community Award

  • Formerly Incarcerated Student Scholarship- Pasadena City College

  • URAP Research- Dr. Dave Harding -UC Berkeley

  • Firebaugh Scholars Research Program 

  • Osher Reentry Scholarship Recipient (x2)

  • Applied to 10+ scholarships so far
  • Received 3 Letters of Rec so far