Main content start

Michael Cerda-Jara

B.A. Sociology (Highest Distinction), University of California, Berkeley, 2020
M.A. Sociology, Stanford University, 2022
Michael Cerda-Jara


Michael Cerda-Jara is a scholar committed to reshaping narratives and policies affecting people with incarceration histories. Hailing from Newark, CA, Michael's journey as a formerly incarcerated, first-generation Chicano has fueled his commitment to reversing the school to prison pipeline and contributing to the discourse on the collateral consequences of mass incarceration.

Michael is currently an Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Fellow. His research is focused on employment prospects for formerly incarcerated college graduates. Michael's academic achievements include graduating with Highest Distinction from UC Berkeley in Spring 2020 with a BA in Sociology, earning an honorable mention from the department, and being recognized as one of the top graduating seniors. 

Michael Cerda-Jara's journey exemplifies resilience, tenacity, and a profound commitment to dismantling systemic barriers. Through his academic pursuits, advocacy, and leadership, he is actively shaping a future where individuals with incarceration histories are not defined by their past but empowered by their potential. Michael stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and mentorship, inspiring positive change both at an individual and systemic level.