As a system-impacted individual, she is passionate about higher education accessibility to all, her goal is to strengthen the prison to university pipeline nationwide. She understands the importance of people with carceral experiences creating meaningful media to inspire others to reimagine the criminal justice system.
Kristel Cosio was born in the mountains of Northern Luzon Philippines to a Mexican-American father and an indigenous Filipina mother. She emigrated here in the mid-90’s and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Kristel is passionate about harm reduction projects that spotlight lived experiences as a former homeless, foster youth, and formerly incarcerated juvenile.
Kristel is currently an undergraduate at UC Berkeley majoring in Microbial Biology and minoring in Public Policy. At UC Berkeley she is an Underground Scholar, an initiative that provides tools for currently incarcerated individuals to reach their higher education dreams as well as supporting currently enrolled formerly incarcerated students at UC Berkeley. Upon completing her bachelor’s degree, she plans on pursuing an MD/PhD and becoming a surgeon.
On the weekends she volunteers as a harm reductionist instructor facilitating workshops on lessening the occurrence of opioid overdoses in the San Francisco Bay Area. She is also a caseworker at Suitcase Clinic of Berkeley that offers support to unhoused formerly incarcerated individuals on their journey to reintegrate back into society.