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Kiersten Kranberg
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Hometown: Hawthorn Woods, Illinois
Major: Photography and graphic design

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Max Vargas



Max Vargas

Senior Policy Advisor to the Mayor of Stockton
Year Graduated: 2016

Undergraduate: University of the Pacific
Major: Political Science and Government

Max Vargas '16, the senior policy advisor to Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, decided to become a lawyer so that he could become a better public servant. His mission: to serve the underserved and marginalized. He immigrated to the United States from Peru and lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, New England, and various communities in the central valley before he settled in Stockton as a University of Pacific undergraduate student.

"As an immigrant, political asylee and naturalized citizen, I knew firsthand that the rule of the law, statutes, and regulations had great power and could provide awesome opportunities. But, I also knew that social inequity, cultural barriers, and other obstacles could limit access and representation. I wanted to become a lawyer to bridge those divides."  

Vargas decided to pursue law school at McGeorge because he was impressed by its reputation for real-world learning and its proximity to the state capitol. He also liked that it was a University of Pacific school. "I absolutely loved my undergraduate experience at the University of Pacific so I had a natural affinity for the personal, yet practical character of a Pacific education."  

As a McGeorge student, Vargas joined the Justice Bus Project which takes attorneys and law student volunteers from urban areas to rural areas to set up free legal clinics for low-income Californians. Through the project, Vargas helped clients with Deferred Action for Child Arrivals [DACA] applications so that they could continue their studies and pursue work opportunities.  "It really brought things full circle for me. When I immigrated to California in the 1990s, there was a lot of xenophobia and voters had even passed a proposition to limit some immigrants from accessing public education and other services."  

McGeorge prepared Vargas to serve as an attorney at the municipal level through the many electives that it offers. "I was able to learn about local agency representation, water law, labor law, election law, and statutory interpretation."  

Vargas also savored the opportunity to gain practical experience in McGeorge's moot trial and simulation programs. He encourages current and future McGeorge students to be intellectually curious about their class selection and to get plenty of hands on experience before they graduate.   

After he graduated, Vargas served as public affairs manager for the San Joaquin Regional Transit District and then joined Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs as his Senior Policy Advisor. As policy advisor to Mayor Tubbs, Vargas strives to be a community change-maker. "I get to work with residents, local officials, and other organizations to address the needs of some of the most impacted families in Stockton." He is eager to help Tubbs create lasting policy changes and innovative programs that serve the greater good and Tubbs' inspiring vision is keeping Vargas' days filled.  

"I'm currently helping to develop and execute the Mayor's opportunity agenda to reinvent Stockton - a formerly bankrupt city with a history of socio-economic distress. Making lasting headway on the key issues of crime, housing and homelessness, and economic development while increasing opportunities for youth will certainly keep me incredibly busy for the foreseeable future."

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