Graduation from UPenn and Next Steps

My name is Brian Mertens, and I am an alumnus of El Cerrito High School, Class of 2007. This May, I graduated from the University of Pennsylvania summa cum laude with a Bachelors of Arts in Health and Societies. At Penn, I strengthened my writing and analytical skills and gained valuable exposure to the fields of health, sociology, and history. This year, I am remaining in Philadelphia to complete a one-year fellowship with Juvenile Law Center. As its Associate for Youth Engagement, I am responsible for supervising two youth groups: one group of young people who have experience in the foster care system and another group that has experience with the juvenile justice system. Working with these youth, I plan to help advocate for meaningful changes within these systems to help improve the lives of the young people who are in them.

The Ed. Fund played an important role in my twelve years of education in the West Contra Costa Unified School District. It provided funding for ECHS’s Literary Arts Magazine, which I managed as Editor in Chief. This money helped show the work of El Cerrito’s talented young writers and artists and provided valuable experience for me and the magazine’s staff in editing, production, leadership, and sales. The Ed. Fund also generously provided me with its West Contra Costa Retired Educators scholarship, which helped my family pay for the costs of attending my school. As a proud alumnus of both El Cerrito High and the University of Pennsylvania, I am proud of the Ed. Fund’s continued support of district students like me. Their investment in students enables young people to achieve their goals and dreams from coast to coast. Thank you, Ed. Fund!

– Brian Mertens, UPenn ’11