We are delighted to announce that Jessi Fernandez (Class of 2023) and Deisy Garcia (Class of 2022) are this year’s Jengyee Prize – Leadership for a Better World co-winners. Established in 2010, the Jengyee Prize recognizes undergraduate students who demonstrate outstanding leadership, service, and commitment to advancing a better world. This year, the Prize honors Jessi and Deisy – two dedicated student leaders whose service, talent, and accomplishments exemplify outstanding leadership and commitment to improving our community, society, and culture.
About this year’s winners:
Jessi Fernandez is a NavCal Fellow and Underground scholar committed to advocating for formerly gang-involved and incarcerated people. In 2019, Jessi established the Breaking Bars Community Network, a coalition that works with college campuses to identify barriers for students who are directly impacted by the criminal justice system. He also helped create the Liberating Scholars Educational Training, the first-ever formerly incarcerated student ally training for colleges in Southern California. As a founding member, Jessi creates and leads trainings to help combat stigma and implicit biases about formerly incarcerated students on college campuses.
Deisy Garcia is a NavCal Fellow and BUILD director invested in advocating for economic and racial justice. Deisy has taken on many mentor and tutor roles throughout her undergraduate career. As BUILD Director, Deisy tutors African American elementary school children in underserved communities across West Oakland. Deisy has also spent time as a college advisor at her former high school, Fremont High in Oakland, where she coached Latino and Black students about the college and financial aid process. She recently became interested in early childhood development and preschool education. She aims to engage in policy efforts to ensure low-income children have access to quality preschool programs to be equipped with the necessary skills to succeed in school.
Congratulations to Deisy and Jessi for this well-deserved accolade! We hope this award inspires others to give their time, talent, and resources to lead meaningful change for the benefit of society.
About the Award
The Jengyee prize is given in memory of Jengyee Liang, who earned a B.S. in 2005 from the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) Department in the College of Engineering, and who tragically passed away on November 10, 2008. Jengyee is remembered for her leadership, kindness, and her commitment to building a better world.