UCMAA Board Member Josh Franco

Degree: Social and Cognitive Science/BA/2009

Graduate school program: Political science, UC Merced

Current residence: Merced

Board term: October 2012 to October 2014

Josh Franco is exactly where he planned to be. Every step leading to his current graduate school program has been carefully taken, with Franco using his gifts for connecting with others and for absorbing and sharing information. And one of those steps included his choice of UC Merced for his undergraduate education.

Franco, who is from Bellflower, specifically wanted to get involved with establishing UC Merced's student government, and that's just what he did, serving as the first president of the Associated Students of UC Merced. He majored in social, behavioral and cognitive sciences with an emphasis in public policy.

"I wanted a multidisciplinary approach to better understand policy, politics, government and governance," he said.

UC Merced met his expectations. He said the campus and the local and regional community prepared him by challenging his assumptions about people, places and ideas, encouraging collaboration, cooperation and creativity, and fostering an insatiable appetite for information and knowledge.

He became deeply entwined in campus life — forming important connections with the founding faculty, administrators, and most of all, his fellow founding students.

"I love all my fellow Bobcats," he said.

Franco left life as a Bobcat behind when he graduated in 2007. He volunteered for the Obama presidential campaign, then interned for John Garamendi, who was still California's lieutenant governor at the time. Eventually, Franco was hired as a policy analyst. From there, he worked on Garamendi's congressional campaign and was ultimately invited to serve on his Washington, D.C., team.

In this role, Franco was responsible for Garamendi's Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure assignment, as well as monitoring issues in agriculture, budget, education, environment, homeland security, immigration, labor, natural resources and trade. He met with district, regional, state and national interests and organizations, and attended committee hearings and issue briefings. He also made recommendations for moving forward policy and legislative ideas.

In the future, Franco looks forward to continuing what he does best — connecting, learning and sharing knowledge.

"I look forward to teaching public policy — maybe as a guest lecturer at my former high school and community college, or after graduate school as a faculty at a public university," Franco said. "I want to help the emerging generation of leaders to better understand our government and governance at all levels and lead with confidence, compassion and vigor."

Student activities: Resident assistant; ASUCM; Rotaract Club; Committee to Advise the UC President on the Selection of a Chancellor for UC Merced; and special assistant to UC Merced's Director of Governmental Relations

Board committees: Nominating; Transcript Review