Esmeralda Zamudio Soria was born in Visalia but has lived in Lindsay since she was 3 years old. Her parents, Jose and Maria Soria, emigrated from Michoacan, Mexico to the U.S. in search of a better life and opportunities for themselves and their future offspring. Esmeralda is the second of five children. Her siblings are Laura, Perla, Ivet and Jose Jr.
Esmeralda's childhood memories of having to work in the fields, as well as watching her parents struggle to survive in a foreign country motivated her to do well in school and to pursue a higher education. With her parents' advice and support she has been able to become a strong and hardworking individual. Throughout her high school career she maintained a part-time job at McDonald's while being involved in school sports including varsity tennis and soccer; clubs including MEChA, Art and Spanish; as well as volunteer work.
Esmeralda was not only a leader on the soccer field as team captain, she also undertook leadership positions on campus while maintaining a 4.0 GPA enabling her to become a CSF (California Scholarship Federation) life member seal bearer. She was the Lindsay High School Salutatorian for the Class of 2000 and accepted at UC Berkeley.
Esmeralda is now a senior, in her fourth year as a Gates Millennium Scholarship-full ride at Berkeley, with a double major in Chicana/o studies and political science. She has also been involved in the Farm Workers Support Committee and Hermanas Unidas, while always maintaining part-time jobs at non-profit organizations that provide tutoring services for high school students. During the summer vacations she participated in several competitive internships. The summer of her sophomore year she worked at the Department of Labor, the division of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in San Francisco, where she completed a Hispanic Initiative research project. This past summer she participated in a prestigious University of California Public Policy of International Affairs program at the Goldman Graduate School of Public Policy at Berkeley, where she completed a rigorous course load that would prepare her for public policy graduate school.
During her junior year in college, Esmeralda took the opportunity to study in Barcelona, Spain, where she immersed herself in a new culture. She was also able to travel extensively through Western Europe including France, Italy, Germany and Portugal, and down to Morocco in North Africa. This proved to be a unique opportunity to view the United States through a difference lens, as it was during the time that the U.S. attacked Iraq. Her time in Europe also nourished her knowledge about environments distinct from her homeland. She can now reflect back on her life experiences in critical ways that demonstrate her ability to analyze her surrounds.
Graduating UC Berkeley in spring 2005, Esmeralda plans to complete a joint degree concentrating on labor and immigration law, and a masters in public policy. Her ultimate goal is to fulfill the dream she once told her grandfather about as a young girl, to become a politician and represent the underrepresented.