Fernando Vallejo

Position: Research & Storytelling Fellow

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Fernando credits his academic success to his mother, whose resilience and willpower led her to flee extreme poverty in Oaxaca. He also attributes his continued tenacity to overcome adversity as an undocumented brown man to the experience of being abandoned by his biological father.

Fernando transferred from Santa Rosa Junior College as part of Berkeley Underground Scholars’ first transfer cohort in collaboration with Experience Berkeley. He is currently finishing his last year at the University of California, Berkeley with a major in sociology.

Fernando’s area of study ties deeply to his lived experience as an incarcerated young adult. This academic year, he has been selected by the Department of Sociology to conduct his senior honors thesis on how undocumented people with “criminal” convictions challenge deportation. After completing his bachelor’s degree, Fernando plans to pursue a joint graduate degree program to contribute to the debate about how policing, “crimmigration,” and deportation sustain the carceral state and deportation regime.