Fellow Feature: Joshua Tran

On corporate social responsibility, life as a Resident Assistant, and Berkeley Study Buddies.

Joshua is a first-year Fellow studying business administration and mathematics. We were able to talk with Joshua about the groups and activities he is a part of on campus, his desire to promote social justice, and his passion for corporate social responsibility (CSR).

“My name is Joshua Tran and I am currently a third-year student studying business administration and mathematics. As a first-generation college student, I grew up with a passion for social impact and designing for social good. Having lived in the Bay Area my whole life, I am appreciative of how I got to experience and witness the plethora of cultures and communities that reside here. This has enabled me to value the importance of ensuring diversity and inclusion with the work and spaces I am in. I am interested in always bringing social justice with my education, extracurriculars, and work I do.

Portrait of Joshua Tran

One of the major things I love about public health is that it is very interdisciplinary and incorporates so many different facets that directly impact communities and the people living in them. Throughout my life, I have always been interested in the public health field but was not sure how I could align this interest with my skills and experiences.

I knew that becoming Fung Fellow would be a transformative opportunity in bringing human-centered design principles into health, something I did not know could possibly exist. I was immediately drawn to how the Fellowship focuses on providing equitable access and opportunities within health to marginalized communities, which is pivotal. I believe equity is an important aspect of the Fellowship because it ensures that the work we do is accessible to everyone and can bring health solutions to communities that might not have seen this before. Thus, Fung Fellowship drew on a lot of my various interests from social justice, health, and design thinking to do meaningful work that can have a positive impact.

“I knew that becoming a Fung Fellow would be a transformative opportunity in bringing human-centered design principles into health — something I did not know could possibly exist.”

Coming into college, I think it is completely normal to feel lost. I was deciding between at least six different majors and career paths which added to my indecisiveness. I knew that I wanted to create an impact in my future, but saw so many routes to do so. What ultimately drew me to being a business administration major was learning about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how that can be applied to businesses. I believe that corporations hold an immense power to enact positive change. I want to use my degree to change the way how businesses do business so that communities’ interests and needs are taken into account.

Business administration has given me a multifaceted approach to tackling society issues and how CSR can be a pivotal way in enacting change. While studying mathematics, I have always been fascinated with numbers and understanding the intricacies behind different math concepts. I see how math is incorporated in everything in life and has given me a way to problem solve abstract concepts to something that makes sense. I am able to use my quantitative skills from my math major and the qualitative skills from my business administration major to tackle problems from multiple angles to bring the most impactful solutions.

“I believe that corporations hold an immense power to enact positive change. I want to use my degree to change the way how businesses do business so that communities’ interests and needs are taken into account.”

Joshua and his team from BEACN, a consulting group on campus that focuses on sustainability.

Outside of Fung Fellow, I am currently a Resident Assistant (RA) for UC Berkeley and also apart of Bay Area Environmentally Aware Consulting Network (BEACN), a consulting group on campus focused on sustainability. I enjoy always meeting new people and fostering an inclusive environment. Whether that is through being a mentor to my residents to also getting to provide environmental solutions to businesses, I want to have an impact with everything I do. Being an RA, I have gotten to utilize the unique backgrounds all my residents have in order to create programs and a community where everyone can belong. Seeing the growth in my residents from the beginning of the year to at the end is something that excites me and motivates me to constantly be a better RA. This semester at BEACN I am working on a market-entry strategy and waste management policy research analysis for a leading returns optimization platform company. Public policy is super interesting to me, and combining that with my interests in the environment has enabled me to constantly learn and explore the world of sustainability.

My hobbies outside of school includes hiking, exploring new places in the Bay Area, trying new food places, and listening to new music. I love being outdoors and in nature and the Bay Area is the perfect place for that. My current favorite hiking places are Fire Trails and Alamere Falls which both have great views! I am a big reader and love to read, especially historical and biographical novels. My current favorite novel is “Free Food for Millionaires” by Min Jin Lee, which has a great storyline and highlights an Asian-American immigrant perspective in the United States.

I hope to use the work I do now and in the future to bring awareness and have an impact on the needs of underserved communities faced. Growing up, I have been frustrated at the lack of attention devoted to issues impacting communities and the unequal access to resources used to help. When hearing about issues like the Flint Michigan’s Water Crisis, I saw a needed effort to bring change. Whether on a large or small scale, I want to have an impact on bringing equitable resources and opportunities to marginalized communities. I am constantly inspired, being at UC Berkeley, at the amazing work everyone is doing and the passion everyone has to change their community for the better. I want to emulate the amazing social justice leaders I got to see and learn from to fight against the inequalities and injustices impacting marginalized communities.

“Whether on a large or small scale, I want to have an impact on bringing equitable resources and opportunities to marginalized communities.”

Joshua and his Design Challenge team presenting Berkeley Study Buddies.

This semester for my final design challenge project in the Fellowship, my group and I decided to combat social isolation among UC Berkeley college students by prototyping and designing an academic mentorship program for students to participate in. My group saw an issue UC Berkeley has where academics and meeting new people are seen as mutually-exclusive and not ideas that can be intertwined. Not having opportunities to meet people within their classes inspired my group to create Berkeley Study Buddies. This is a program that allows students to be paired with students with similar academic and personal interests within their classes where these groups would also be paired with a tutor for academic support. We hope that with this academic mentorship program, more Berkeley students would be comfortable having a group of people they can not only study but can foster friendships.”

Connect with Joshua // As told to Lauren Leung

Fellow Features is a series dedicated to showcasing the Fung Fellowship community and learning more about their lives and their stories. If you’re interested in being featured, email funginstitute@berkeley.edu!

Learn more about the Fung Fellowship at fungfellows.berkeley.edu.

The Fung Fellowship at UC Berkeley is shaping the next generation of health, conservation, and technology leaders for a better world. 🌱