Karla Covarrubias (Class of 2021)

"We come from a lineage of warriors that fought for us to hold this space that we deserve. You have the power in you. Even at the darkest of times, when you feel like giving up, remember who you are: You are the light at the end of the tunnel. Believe in your power. Take baby steps when things get rough, but never give up. Every mountain is a different climb. It does not matter how long it took or what steps you took; what matters is that you got there!" - Karla Covarrubias


B.A. University of California, Berkeley, Legal Studies, GPA 3.9, 2021

A.A. Mt. San Jacinto College, Social and Behavioral Sciences, GPA 3.9, 2018

A.A. Mt. San Jacinto College, Art, Humanities, and Communications, GPA 3.9, 2018

Job title: 
NAVCAL Femtor, NAVCAL Alumni

My name is Karla Covarrubias (Foster) (she/her/ella). I am a first-generation DSP, re-entry student, and single mother of four children, ages 5, 6, 12, and 15, who are my world. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a bachelor's in Legal Studies in 2021. I was born in Mexico City and came to the U.S. as an infant. Raised in California's Bay Area and Central Valley, as a carceral-systems impacted individual, immigrant, woman, and brown person of color, I witnessed many injustices first-hand, including seeing those transgressions also affect my loved ones and my community. Tired of seeing the vulnerable fall prey to hierarchical social norms and institutions of oppression and injustice, I sought education to skill myself with the knowledge to tap into institutions of power to make positive changes a reality. I am currently pursuing a Master's in Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley. In October 2021, I plan to take the LSAT for admittance to Berkeley Law to complete a joint MPP/JD degree concurrently. 

As an aspiring dual Masters in Public Policy and Juris Doctor degree holder, my mission is to bring awareness of the oppressed (primarily: POC, immigrants, the incarcerated, women, and children) to the forefront of policy and expose loopholes within the law to bring forth long-lasting policy that protects the vulnerable from injustice. I aspire to continue to be a community leader, source and ally to empower the socially oppressed with the equity we all deserve for our children and children to come. In everything I do, I do not stand alone—but represent thousands of human beings who have been disregarded and forgotten that I refuse to leave behind.

Current Employment/Post-Grad Status:

Karla is currently a Master's in Public Policy '23 candidate at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley!

Accolades as a Student:

  • Admission to Goldman School of Public Policy Department Scholarship $20,000 for Master's of Public Policy
  • Researcher, Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program in collaboration with Dr. Jonathan Simon
  • Paid Researcher, Institute of Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE) under the mentorship of Dr. David Harding and Dr. Christopher Muller
  • Latina Unidad Foundation Scholarship Recipient- LULF
  • 2x UC Berkeley Center for Educational, Equity, and Excellence Grant Recipient 
  • 2x Hispanic Scholarship Foundation Scholarship Recipient    
  • Sociology Department Grant Recipient (2019)  
  • 2x Peter E. Haas Public Service Leader Fellowship Recipient 
  • Cal Alumni Association Leadership Award Recipient
  • 2x CE3 Basic Needs Scholarship Recipient
  • 2x ASUC Academic Affairs Office Textbook Scholarship Recipient
  • 2x ASUC Academic Affairs Office Commuter Grant Recipient
  • USI Scholarship Recipient
  • Bridges Graduate School Scholarship Recipient 
  • University of California DC Delegate/Lobbyist 
  • Institute for Research on Labor and Employment Symposium Presenter 
  • Berkeley Law Trial/ Depositions mock witness
  • Admissions Assistant, Berkeley Law LL.M., and JSD Department (2019)
  • Secured 6 Letters of Recommendation
Research interests: 

Paid Researcher, Institute of Research on Labor and Employment (IRLE)             

With a cohort of formerly incarcerated research students, I helped create a literature review. I co-authored a policy report, Criminal Background Checks in Higher Education Hiring, under the mentorship of Dr. David Harding and Dr. Christopher Mueller. (2019)

Researcher, Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program 

In collaboration with Lance Robbins Professor of Criminal Justice Jonathan Simon, I conducted a qualitative analysis of Tennessee's Riverbend Maximum Security Institution's treatment of the mentally ill to expose the vulnerabilities and abuse of the mentally ill within the carceral state. Publication in progress. (2020-2021)