Hello, my name is Eric Eduardo Calderon and I am a senior undergraduate Public Policy major emphasizing in International/Foreign Policy and Policy Institutions/Processes. Prior to transferring to UCR in Fall 2018, I received my Associate of Arts degree in Sociology from East Los Angeles College. Some of my interests are community and economic development, housing, transportation, environment, and foreign affairs. My goal is to learn more about how these factors can shape and affect communities, particularly those in Southern California.
I am the second oldest of five brothers, raised by our single immigrant mother in the city of Pico Rivera. Growing up, I explored the streets and it exposed me to how a neighborhood and upbringing can influence one’s development and outcome. Entering high school, I escaped by steering more towards involvements such as sports and student government. Upon graduation I worked in sales and attended Cal State LA but only lasted about a year. I then worked as a laborer at a tortilla factory, a car insurance agent, warehouse worker, and rideshare driver before given an opportunity to work at Pasadena City College. This second chance allowed me to enroll in East Los Angeles College, leading to graduating and transferring to UCR. Since then, I have served as the ASUCR Transfer and Non-Traditional Student Director and as an Ambassador for the UCR School of Public Policy. Though I was raised in a unique situation with certain struggles, many others face varying degrees of challenges. I’ve been blessed with an opportunity that changed my entire trajectory. I hope to learn how I can give other people a similar chance at a better quality of life.
For the past year, I've worked as a Student Assistant at the Center for Social Innovation but have now entered my new position as Assistant Director. My roles include assisting with event planning and execution, such as the Inland CA Rising summits, State of the Inland Empire report releases, and the SoCal Policy Forum. I’ve been grateful to participate in many discussions and projects with our stakeholders and partners during meetings and other engagements. I supported the 2020 Census efforts of the Inland Empire Complete Count Committee, Census IE Nonprofit Tables, and the UCR Counts! committee. I’ve also conducted data collection and dissemination on both the Racial Data and So Cal Policy research portals along with other administrative tasks. I look forward to continuing to help support CSI and its mission to help bring together members of our community to realize and act on the potential that lies within the IE.
I believe that CSI has welcomed me into a world of unity and passion in the IE. I’ve been blessed to take part in many convenings with our partners, some of which have allowed me to further understand Inland Southern California. What inspires me is seeing some of the work that I’ve seen and heard in places like the Coachella Valley, High Desert, and Ontario. What’s also inspiring is the cross-collaboration between those in the public, private, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors. All with the common goal of improving the lives of those in the IE.