David Castaneda is the Fall 2019 Special Initiatives Junior Fellow. Born in Orizaba, Mexico, David attended Marists Catholic schools until he emigrated to the United States with his family in 2007. Upon settling down in Los Angeles, David attended John A. Rowland High School and Mt. San Antonio College.
David completed his undergraduate education at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Economics and Policy and a minor in Forestry and Natural Resources. While in college, he interned for Congresswoman Grace F. Napolitano and served in student government, in numerous environmental organizations, and as a board director for the Berkeley Student Housing Cooperative.
David completed coursework in financial criminal law, demography, and Spanish literature at Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona. His professional experience included working as an outreach manager for Rising Sun Energy Center, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering local youth fighting climate change through efficient energy installations. He also worked as an international educator for indigenous communities in Oaxaca through the Center for Critical Environmental and Global Literacy. Later he worked as a paralegal at Sundeen & Salinas, a litigation firm in the Bay Area.
He plans to pursue a J.D. and dedicate his life to creating social, environmental, and racially equitable policy. In his free time, David enjoys playing guitar with his band, reading Spanish literature, and exploring the world.
We sat down with David to learn more about his passion for international affairs.
Name: David Castaneda
Department: Special Initiatives
Hometown: Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico/Rowland Heights, California
College/University and major: University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Economics and Policy
Languages spoken: Spanish, English, Catalan
Go-to source for interesting takes on what’s going on in the world: NPR, The Economist, Reforma
Areas of interest: The environment, diversity and inclusion, environmental justice, city planning, air quality management, transnational communities
Fun fact: I play guitar in a funk band
What drew you to the Pacific Council?
The international and non-partisan aspects of the Pacific Council are what drew me to apply as a Junior Fellow. I consider myself an international citizen and value international and non-partisan approaches to problem solving.
When did you first realize you had a passion for international affairs?
Being part of a transnational community and navigating different identities and cultures has naturally driven me to become passionate for international affairs.
What is the most interesting thing you’ve done since starting at the Pacific Council?
Forming part of the Mexico Initiative Planning Committee has widened my understanding of what it takes to create subnational international policy projects as well as managing different stakeholders and interests.
The Pacific Council’s Junior Fellowship program offers students and recent graduates the unique opportunity to work alongside our staff of non-profit and foreign policy professionals. Learn more about the Junior Fellow program here.