Alumni Changemaker: Martha Chavez

Alumni Changemaker: Martha Chavez

To honor our 40 years, we're celebrating our most valuable resource - our alumni - through 40 profiles highlighting their leadership. Our next Changemaker is Alumna Martha Chavez!


Throughout her entire career, Martha Chavez has been an education champion and leader in creating and implementing innovative programs to ensure that diverse students have access to a high-quality education.

She began her career as a Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education, where she advised state and local education agencies to implement Migrant Education Programs nationwide.  She later managed evaluations of Migrant Education, Bilingual Education, and American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Education programs. 

Her deep commitment to increasing educational opportunities for diverse communities led her to become the Senior Director of Programs at the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, one of the nation’s leading organizations supporting Hispanic higher education.  More recently, she served as the Senior Assistant Dean for Academic Programs and Dean of Students at UC Berkeley’s Goldman’s School of Public Policy.  Having led numerous academic programs ranging from undergraduate to doctoral and including the #1 ranked public policy analysis Master’s program at UC Berkeley, Martha has influenced both public leadership and public policy.

Her focus, as well as her doctoral research, is on addressing the issues that many underrepresented and marginalized students encounter so that the value of higher education is accessible to all students.

“Our nation’s success depends on the inclusion and representation of diverse individuals so their voices and perspectives are heard and represented in the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.” 

Her exceptional efforts have not gone unnoticed. She has been inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s Alumni Hall of Fame, recognized for her lifetime of effort on behalf of social equity from the American Society for Public Administration, and honored for her transformative contributions from the Public Policy and International Affairs Program.

Despite being named the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and holding significant responsibilities on various boards and academic panels, she remains accessible to thousands of students as a mentor and supporter.

One of her consistent ways of being in the world and messages to the students is to seize every possible opportunity. Expanding and championing these opportunities is a fundamental way in which she empowers the next generation of diverse leaders.

PPIA offers just those types of opportunities. Their intensive 7-week program (JSI) provides knowledge and skills to prosper in graduate school and ultimately in public office. Martha graduated from this program herself and recognizes the value of its offering.

Not only does she make opportunities available to students, but she encourages them to foster professional networks and connections that stimulate and support their continued growth.

In her current role as Associate Chief of Staff at UC Berkeley, Martha continues to bring her commitment to, experience with, and support of the underrepresented minority students forward in continually expansive ways.


We celebrate you, Martha Chavez, for your support and commitment to diverse students. You stand as a role model for them and for all as you skillfully weave the richness of diversity into the fabric of higher education, public policy, and leadership across this nation!



Read more Changemaker profiles here!