John Lam

Job title: 

John Lam (he/him) is a first-generation Chinese-American hailing from Sacramento, California. His life journey has been marked by experiences that have ignited his passion for criminal justice reform, particularly at the intersection of technology and policy. John, who has a background of incarceration, firmly believes in the power of individuals with similar experiences to drive change. He is dedicated to utilizing technology and policy to improve the lives of those affected by the criminal justice system, focusing on areas such as housing, employment, education, and access to healthcare. In his quest for social change, John actively volunteers with nonprofit organizations in both the Bay Area and Southern California. He contributes his time and expertise to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully reintegrate into society, leveraging his personal insights and empathy to guide others on their journey towards a better future. John's educational path has led him to the University of California, Berkeley, where he is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science. At UC Berkeley, he co-founded Cre8innovations to serve marginalized students at UC Berkeley who are facing housing insecurities, and working policy to address housing issues for students in higher education. Additionally, he is a Haas scholar conducting research into the barriers to leadership for formerly incarcerated folks in the non-profit space specifically in the criminal justice reform movement. As he moves forward with his academic journey, he has set his sights on obtaining a Master's in Public Policy, recognizing the potential to enact systemic change through policy initiatives. 


Awards and Recognition

  • Cal Alumni Association Leadership Award 2021 and 2023
  • College Corps Fellowship: Climate Justice 2022
  • Hope Scholar 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024
  • Mt. Tamalpais College Alumni Scholarship 2022-23 and 2023-2024
  • Peter E. Haas Public Service Leaders Award 2022-23 and 2023-2024
  • Goldman School of Public Policy - Possibility Lab Research Fellow
  • The Achievement Award Recipient 2021-2023
  • Soros Justice Finalist 2022
  • Harry S. Truman Scholarship Finalist Washington D.C UC Berkeley 2022

Nominated by UC Berkeley for the Truman Scholarship and was selected as a finalist out of 700 competitive applicants The Harry S. Truman Scholarship is the premier fellowship in the U.S., for public service leadership. It is granted to undergraduate students for demonstrated leadership potential, academic excellence, and a commitment to public service.

Research Experience

  • Haas Scholar 2023-2024
  • Haas Public Service Leadership 2022 - 2024
  • Marco Antonio Firebaugh Scholar 2022
  • Miller Scholar 2021
Research interests: 

Education system, Marginalized communities, Incarceration System, Criminal Justice Reform Policy, Technology


"Navcal is an amazing program that provides updates on scholarships and opportunities that are on campus, they helped me with getting DSP which helped me have reduced course load that contributed me maintaining straight A's during my entire time at Cal, in addition, the resources it gave me allowed me to become a full-ride student through all the scholarships I've won" - John, 2023