Meredith Lee, chief technical advisor to Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes at UC Berkeley's Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society, has been appointed to the governing board of the new California statewide Cradle-to-Career Data System.

September 17, 2021

UC Berkeley’s Meredith Lee has been appointed to the governing board of the new California statewide Cradle-to-Career Data System, which will link information across spectrums like education and social services to better equip policymakers, educators and the public to address social and economic disparities and improve opportunities for students across the state to succeed.

Lee, who is the chief technical advisor to Associate Provost Jennifer Chayes, head of Berkeley’s Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society (CDSS), was appointed to a two-year term on September 9 by state Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins. Lee was recommended by state Senator Josh Becker of California’s 13th Senate District. 

“Due to her deep expertise in data systems and her leadership on workforce development while serving on the California Blockchain Working Group, Dr. Meredith Lee will make an excellent addition to the Cradle-to-Career governing board,” Becker said. “A respected innovator in tech and data sciences, Dr. Lee will be a tremendous asset to the board as it provides strategic direction and oversight of the new data system and expands access to resources to support the education-to-employment pipeline.”

Lee said she sees the Cradle-to-Career legislation and planning to date as key levers to advance change. “This is a historic partnership to help individuals, families and communities learn more about valuable opportunities — and to discover ways to make those opportunities real,” Lee said. 

Growing up in the San José K-12 public school system in pre-Internet times, Lee recalled that the school library and occasional high school career days were her main exposure to potential careers, beyond friends and family. 

“I think about each person engaging in the Cradle-to-Career system and how empowering it could be,” said Lee, whose mother immigrated to the United States when she was 12. “Considering the context of how students and their support networks can learn and find actionable tools is critically important to the future of our workforce.”   

After earning her bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in electrical engineering at Stanford, one of Lee’s mentors encouraged her to apply for an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship. This opportunity provided her with federal policy experience, working in the Obama administration, leading the White House Innovation for Disaster Response & Recovery Initiative and guiding several strategic data science research programs.

“I’m really grateful for my family, teachers and mentors who helped me to think broadly about career options, even if some of those options seemed unconventional,” Lee said. “When people have access to more information and inspiration, it can change the trajectories of their lives.”

The new Cradle-to-Career Data System and the new state office to support it dovetail with CDSS initiatives to leverage the power of computing and data science with human-centered perspective and purpose.

Other UC organizations have been involved in the early stages of the program, including the California Policy Lab and staff from the UC Office of the President. Read more about the Cradle-to-Career recommendations and next steps.