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Berkeley City College President's Report – February 28, 2024

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Black History Month and Lunar New Year Celebrations Continue at Berkeley City College

Berkeley City College’s joint celebration of Black History Month and Lunar New Year continued with a packed two weeks of events during college hours in the BCC Atrium. On Tuesday, February 13 the Oakland Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers Motorcycle Club visited Berkeley City College. President and Chaplain Lawrence VanHook and Historian John Semien presented the history of the American Civil War and the founding of the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry Regiments that would be later known as the Buffalo Soldiers during Westward Expansion and their participation in the Spanish-American War. Dr. VanHook and Semien also parked their motorcycles in the BCC Atrium and shared stories of their cross-country travels sharing the history and charitable work of the Buffalo Soldiers MC.

The following week, Black History Month celebrations continued on Wednesday, February 21 with an art showcase in collaboration with the Joyce Gordon Gallery. The atrium was filled with art from the Joyce Gordon Gallery alongside art created by Berkeley City College students. Guest speaker and BCC Art instructor Carolyn Martin shared with students a presentation titled “Undisciplined Storytellers: Contemporary Black Women Artists.”

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Lunar New Year events included a game day on Thursday, February 15 with a game day organized by the BCC Black History Month/Lunar New Year Planning Committee. Students were able to partake in traditional Lunar New Year games and share red envelopes and snacks.

On Tuesday, February 20 lion dancers with the Yao Kung Moon Kung Fu Association in San Francisco visited BCC. The sounds of drums and cymbals filled the BCC campus as the lion danced through all 6 floors of the building to spread the good luck and fortune of the new year throughout the campus. Students were also able to get Lunar New Year treats and boba for their participation.

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On Thursday, February 22, Chyanne Chen of the United Chinese Association visited campus to share the history and cultural significance of the Lunar New Year. Students took part in the interactive presentation answering questions about the Lunar New Year and sharing their cultural experiences and were awarded red envelopes with money for participating. Students were also given treats and boba for their participation. This event was funded in part by the Associated Students of BCC and the Asian American and Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Student Achievement Program.

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Berkeley City College wants to thank the sponsors and community partners for helping to put on these great events, as well as the BCC organizers Ramona Butler, Susan Truong, Connie Tran, Gail Pendleton, Christina Taing-Rivera, Susan Cuong, Andrea Williams, and the student workers for all their work scheduling the events and serving students good food and fun!


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Community Health Worker Apprenticeship Offers Students Paid Experience

In partnership with East Bay Innovations, LifeLong Medical, and Crisis Support Services of Alameda, Berkeley City College Social Work and Human Services program is running a PAID apprenticeship for Community Health Workers. This is an opportunity to earn and learn, get valuable feedback and training, and a full-time job at completion. An Apprentice on a community health worker team is like a helper-in-training, closely shadowing and mimicking the actions of seasoned community health workers. Apprentices pick up vital skills and approaches from veterans, and in-class learning complements on-the-job training. Every participant has access to a case manager, a job mentor, a school mentor, and peer support. Participants in the program will enroll in Social Work and Human Services courses, and complete paid hours on-site earning at least $20/hour.

The apprenticeship begins in June 2024 and runs through May 2025 with flexible hours, health insurance, orientation and ongoing training, and wrap-around support services. Berkeley City College is hosting two online info sessions on March 6 and March 9. Interested students can register here.


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Berkeley City College MESA Program Launch

Berkeley City College officially launched its Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program for the Spring 2024 and hired MESA Program Director Armando Franco, who began his role on Wednesday, February 21. MESA will provide academic advising and support to first-generation students planning to enroll in calculus-based STEM programs. Students can participate in academic excellence workshops where they will be tasked with solving science-based problems that relate to their classroom studies. The goal is to provide a space for students to build study groups naturally and create connections as the cohorts move through the program and transfer to their respective universities. BCC’s MESA program has a dedicated classroom located at the 2000 Center St. satellite campus which will have computers and equipment available for students to study together and work on MESA projects. MESA Program Director Franco will be doing outreach to recruit the first cohort of students in March.

Armando Franco is a first-generation college graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in Environmental Economics and Policy. Originally from Los Angeles, Armando is the son of Mexican immigrants. He’s currently finalizing his graduate degree in Environmental Geoscience at CSU East Bay.

Armando has worked in nonprofit education since 2005, starting at the Making Waves Education Program in Richmond, CA. He previously worked at Huckleberry Youth Programs for over 10 years where he served as the Access to College Equity (ACE) Manager supporting first-generation, underserved students and their families to navigate high school and the college admissions and financial aid process.

Armando is a passionate advocate of diversifying the sciences and providing necessary support and resources to students to ensure they achieve healthy outcomes and reach their personal and career goals. He says he is excited to establish the MESA program at BCC to support students pursuing STEM.


This article is taken from the President’s Report, written by Dr. Denise Richardson, Berkeley City College President, that was presented to the PCCD Board of Trustees during their regular meeting on Tuesday, February 27, 2024. To view it as a PDF, click here.

Tags: Berkeley City College, President's Report


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