Fung Fellowship 2021–22 Cohort Profile

“The fellowship is my favorite class that I am taking, hands down!”

In August 2021, the Fung Fellowship celebrated its fifth cohort of 108 undergraduates from across campus who began their adventure as Fung Fellows and 24 students continuing as Honors Fellows. These students were picked because of their enthusiasm for health and conservation, their distinctive creativity, their ability to think outside the box, their expertise in their respective areas, and their desire to make a difference through innovation.

These fellows came to the program with a natural interest and proclivity for creativity in both the Conservation and Health tracks. While these characteristics bind the 2021–22 cohort together, their collective strength and potential for impact are based on the diversity of their viewpoints, areas of study, and life experiences.

Profile of the 2021–22 Cohort

Fung Fellowship 2021–22 Cohort Profile

Cohort Size: 108 (51 Conservation/57 Health)
She: 74% | He: 22% | They: 3% | Declined to State: 1%
First-Generation Students: 31%
Transfer Students: 32%
# of Unique Languages Spoken: 30
# of Unique Majors: 38
# of Double Majors: 36

There are 38 unique majors represented in this year’s Fung Fellowship cohort. Here is a sample of the most represented majors across the fellowship!

Bringing their own set of experiences and ambitions to the program, fellows provide insight into their experience of bootcamp and the program.

Photos of Ankita and Holly (from left to right)

Ankita Morari (she/her), Conservation + Tech Track: “The environment of the boot camp was very welcoming! I could see the passion that the Fung Fellow Staff had for this program and for making it a transformative experience for everyone. So far, I have been able to engage in essential conversations (such as our human relationship to nature) with peers from a wide variety of perspectives as a result of the interdisciplinary aspect of the fellowship. It has led me to think more critically about previously learned topics, which I truly appreciate.”

Holly Pilling (they/them), Health + Tech Track: “I was part of the Fung Fellowship online for one semester last year. Our boot camp then was entirely online and done from our homes. At the time, I felt like being online and unable to interact with people took a lot of the typical collaboration out of the design process. However, this year, I think it may have added to the experience because we could have speakers that couldn’t have been there in person and still get in-person interaction with our peers in the afternoon.”

Fellows come from diverse backgrounds and have a range of interests, skills, and majors, and they love the intersection of many disciplines.

Photos of Saffy, Britney, and Char (from left to right)

Saffy Sumra (she/her), Health + Tech Track: “As an immigrant and first-generation college student from a low-income family, I hope to make medicine and health education more accessible to rural and underserved communities. Being in the Fung Fellowship allows me to materialize these aspirations, especially with the different design challenges. I am able to incorporate storytelling and design to communicate jargon-y health-based research to others. This can be integral in making information surrounding the latest health developments more accessible.”

Britney Zhang (she/her), Conservation + Tech Track: “I hope to gain more knowledge and insight on biodiversity, the environment, and the social/political issues surrounding nature. The Fung Fellowship helps support these passions and goals through direct content, hands-on projects, and the ability to collaborate and bounce ideas off peers. The Fung Fellowship doesn’t directly intersect with my business major, but the learnings can be applied because our actions, processes like supply chain, and business decisions have a huge impact on the environment through consumers and production. Growing up, I’ve always been super interested in nature, animals, and the ocean, and I’m super excited to be able to study and find tangible, creative solutions from a student’s perspective to help support sustainable initiatives.”

Char Potes (he/him), Conservation + Tech Track: “As I am interested in law, it may be difficult to see the connections between that and the fellowship, but it actually feels very connected to me. One of my main interests is being able to provide a connection between scientific communities and real policy and being able to communicate complex issues to the public. This is really similar to the design process that we are learning. In design, our goals are to find a creative way to solve issues based on the needs of people and the context. In a sense, working on things like policy could benefit greatly from following the design process.”

“If I had to describe my experience so far in one word, then it would be ‘enlightening.’ ”

Together, fellows collaborate as a cohort to address real-world issues, interact with communities to understand needs, and develop feasible solutions.

Fung Fellows are brought together by their diversity and commitment to make a difference both inside and outside of the university. Fellows will use empathy to tackle problems and create innovative human-centered solutions. Throughout the fellowship, fellows are well-positioned to grow as leaders and innovators as they design breakthrough technology solutions to society’s most critical health and conservation concerns.

Photos from the Fung Fellowship Boot Camp earlier this school year.

Learn more about the Fung Fellowship and meet the rest of our fellows 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. 🌱