Image: Scenes from around campus

Posts Tagged Merritt College

Oakland magazine features Merritt’s Natural History Program

3 April 2019

Merritt College Is Training the Next Generation of Naturalists

The Oakland community college has a new program for park rangers, interpretative guides, urban farmers, environmental consultants, park managers, and more, and seeks to attract people of color.

When you picture a career in the natural sciences, the image most likely involves years of academia, multiple degrees, and groundbreaking research at world-class universities.

That certainly may be the top-of-the-career-food-chain goal for many, but there’s an entire ecosystem of jobs out there in the natural world — from park ranger and interpretative guide to urban farmer, environmental consultant, park manager, and more.

To get an entry-level foot in one of those doors, check out the new Natural History & Sustainability program at Merritt College (Merritt.edu/wp/nhs). The interdepartmental program, which kicked off with a soft launch of course work last fall, is a rarity at the community college level, said the program’s director, Brad Balukjian. It aims to prepare students for the workforce through sound academics, but also by getting their hands dirty with field work in activities like rebuilding hiking trails or restoring wildlife habitats.

“With the green emphasis in today’s world, a lot of government agencies are needing more people, whether its regional parks or state or national parks, not to mention nonprofits, environmental consulting firms — there are so many nonacademic jobs out there, but so few training programs for these kinds of jobs,” said Balukjian, who holds a doctorate in entomology and also started the Ph.D. program in environmental science, policy, and management at UC Berkeley more than a decade ago.

“While the research universities turn their backs on the traditional ‘ology’ classes like herpetology or ornithology, we have a unique opportunity to double down on them,” he wrote on the department’s website. “It’s nice to know signatures of population structure in the genome of the acorn woodpecker, but what good is it if you don’t know what an acorn woodpecker is?”

The new program offers course work in three tracks — natural history/resources, conservation/resource management, and urban agroecology. Current courses will count toward certificates of achievement that are being developed for each track and should be in place by the spring 2020 semester.

The East Bay Regional Park District has partnered with Merritt to develop this practical approach to environmental education. “One of challenges we’ve had is not having a training program locally that would prepare youths to compete for these kinds of jobs in the park district,” said Jim O’Connor, the district’s assistant general manager.

“I see this program as giving them the basics, the conservation history and background, but also things like park operations, interacting with customers, running campgrounds, resource management work, public safety,” O’Connor said. “Students will actually go out to the parks and do work, help build a trail, put up some fence lines, help staff a special public event. Then, when jobs come available, they’ll be coming in with some really valuable skills.”

Courses range from core topics like geology and marine biology to Indian Ecology of the Central Coast, Natural History of the Islands of California, and even art classes on botanical drawing.

Jenna Tidd of Walnut Creek started taking classes in the program last fall to “attempt a career change,” she said. 

“I realized I wanted to pursue a career that allows me to immerse myself in nature because it’s where I’m truly happy,” she said. “I signed up for the Islands of California class and was immediately hooked. I firmly believe that to be motivated to protect and conserve something, you have to first understand and appreciate it.”

There are field trips to Mount Diablo, Point Reyes, and other Bay Area parklands to examine frogs, snakes, lizards. There are courses on urban farming and food production.

There’s even a segment on social justice.

Merritt College has a long tradition of environmental science and natural history dating back to the late 1950s and the seeds of the environmental movement, but the new program reboots it for the 21st century with a big focus on diversity, Balukjian said. Specific outreach is designed to appeal to people of color who have long been underrepresented in these fields and even in participation in nature-related activities.

“In the environmental sciences, there is definitely a lack of diversity of people of color and in terms of women,” said Analisa Brown, a marine biologist teaching Merritt’s first-ever Intro to Marine Biology course. She also serves as outreach coordinator, introducing the program to local high school students.

She herself is a woman of color who was drawn to the sciences as a child.

“Ever since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to work with animals,” she said. “When I stumbled upon the Discovery Channel, I absolutely fell in love with Shark Week. I didn’t know at the time what the careers were, what they were called. It was white men on a boat looking for sharks, and I knew I wanted to do what they did. And my passion stayed there.

“So I want to reach out to students who typically may not consider geology or sustainability or, yeah, marine biology as careers,” she said.

Even the program’s logo — a mottled tube lichen — was chosen with diversity in mind. It’s made up of two to three organisms living together (fungus, alga, and bacterium), which Balukjian said represents the interdisciplinary course work. And the lichen is considered an “underappreciated organism,” he said, “much like people who’ve been underrepresented in the field.”

“People of color make up the largest portion of students at Merritt at nearly 80 percent,” he said. “How do we get over his perception that [natural science] is a white person’s activity? I try to get across that nature really is for everybody, and people of all groups should be participating. With this new program we’re building, we wanted to address this specifically, not shy away from it.”

Program coordinators are hoping to attract youth, but also returning students who may want a career change.

“I tell students very honestly, you don’t go into this to get rich,” Balukjian said. “But you can make a good living and, to me, the greatest benefit is you’re often working outside. People that do this work are just passionate about the work itself.”

Filed under: Merritt College, Peralta News, Uncategorized. Tagged: , ,

Get Help Enrolling at Super Saturdays : January 20 & 27

16 January 2018

Super Saturdays
January 20 & 27, 9am – 1pm

Admissions, orientation, assessment, counseling, financial aid, and the cashier’s office will be available at all four campuses to provide personal assistance with Spring admissions and enrollment.

Prepare for Saturday

 

In order to complete all of the necessary steps within a Super Saturday, it is recommended that you review the Application & Enrollment Steps webpage and complete the OpenCCC/CCCApply online application (Step 1) at least 24 hours before attending. This way your Student ID will be ready and you can get started on the next steps upon arrival!

OpenCCC/CCCApply Online Application Assistance:

Please arrive early in the day if you would like assistance with the online application (Step 1). You will need an email address (gmail and yahoo are popular services), accurate date of birth, dates of previous high school/college enrollment, and social security number (required only if applying for financial aid) to apply.

Orientation, Assessment, Counseling:

Bring a valid ID (Driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, student ID card) and any high school (within 10 years) or college transcripts you would like to be used for placement or development of your educational plan with your counselor. Unofficial or official transcripts are both accepted, however, official transcripts are recommended so that they can be kept in our database. You may also bring assessment test results from another instution from within the last three years.
Super-Saturday-_-Flyers-Spring-2018

Filed under: Announcements, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Uncategorized. Tagged: , , , , ,

Black Panther Documentary Screening at Alameda City Hall

9 October 2017

BLEE Screening copy
 
Black Panther Documentary Screening at City Hall
Congresswoman Barbara Lee Will Be Present at the Screening to Offer Opening Remarks
 
Few know that the Black Panther Party was founded at Merritt College in Oakland in October 1966, and many of its early social justice programs still largely go unrecognized.
 
The television station of the Peralta Community College District, Peralta TV, produced a national award-winning film, “Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers,” narrated by U. S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, about the origins of the Black Panther Party at Merritt College. The film, which was shown at the United Nations as part of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery, features rare interviews with Black Panther founder Bobby Seale, as well as members David Hilliard, Ericka Huggins, Elbert ‘Big Man’ Howard, Emory Douglas and Richard Aoki.
 
The City of Alameda is happy to partner with the Peralta Colleges in bringing this illuminating film to Alameda.
 
What: Merritt College: Home of the Black Panthers (Documentary Film Screening)
 
When: Saturday, October 14, 12:00-1:30pm
 
Where: Alameda City Hall, City Council Chambers, 2263 Santa Clara Avenue, 3rd Floor, Alameda
 
Who: The screening is free and open to the public. Speakers include U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, and the film’s executive producer and director, Jeffrey Heyman, and writer and producer, James Calhoun.

Filed under: Arts & Culture, Merritt College, PeraltaTV, PeraltaTV Spotlight. Tagged: , , , ,

Peralta News: Merritt College Pruning Club

19 September 2017

Back in 1980’s Dennis Makishima was working as a gardener in the East Bay hills, and wanted to expand his training in the field of Horticulture, so he started attending classes in the Landscape Horticulture department.
 
As his horticultural knowledge increased, so did his understanding of a need that Dennis was able to develop into a clear vision of Aesthetic Pruning courses, which  “embrace the creative interpretation of small trees and shrubs in the urban context. The living art form combines the artistic skill of the pruner, the essences of the tree and the science of horticulture  and the needs of the clients and the surroundings.”  
 
Dennis Makishima was able to impart his skills and horticultural understanding into a successful series of courses designed to help students into a career that cultivated specialized pruning skills.
 
Dennis has taught hundreds of students and mentored many into lucrative careers of service to the East Bay and beyond.  
 

The Merritt Pruning Club has a 30-year history of mentoring and service. The Apprenticeship model of training and the Aesthetic Pruning club’s’ mission has benefited many gardens in the East Bay.  We are grateful to ALL the founding members and appreciate the skill and enthusiasm which has lasted and still inspires our community.
 
The 30 years of continuous service to the community,  here and throughout the world, had its beginnings here at Merritt College.
 
The department wants to also acknowledge Judy Thomas who was Faculty advisor to this club for the first 20 years:
 Pete Churgel, Yuki Nara, Randall Lee, and Bill Castellon and of course Michael Alliger, all extraordinary teachers, and Tom Branca assisted the program forward.
 
Merritt College has been offering a fee-based series of classes in Aesthetic Pruning for more than 20 years, with a wide array of individual modules for all interests and levels of expertise. These classes, plus additional Horticulture classes and experience, can lead to a Department-issued Award in Aesthetic Pruning! For more information, please visit: http://merrittlandhort.com

Filed under: Academic Excellence, Merritt College, Uncategorized. Tagged: , ,

Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health Center Named at Merritt College In Honor of Congresswoman

21 July 2014

IMG_4063-2

In appreciation and recognition of Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s contributions to Merritt College and the Peralta Community College District, the Board of Trustees’ passed Resolution 14/15-05 at its July 15 meeting to name the Merritt Science and Allied Health Center the “Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health Center” in her honor. Trustee Linda Handy, in yellow, reads the Resolution to Saundra Andrews of Congresswoman Lee’s office, who is flanked by President of the Board, Abel Guillén. Members of the Board, as well as Chancellor Dr. José M. Ortiz, and other senior administrators, are also pictured.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Mariela Salcedo

29 May 2014

Mariela Salcedo

At Merritt College, several students from the Puente Program are graduating, including Mariela Salcedo, who will be transferring to UC Davis as a pre-med student. Puente’s mission is to increase the number of underrepresented students who enroll in four-year colleges and universities.

Mariela was pursuing a nursing degree until instructors urged her to consider a career as a doctor. Mariela was co-president of Puente Club and a Puente Program Assistant. She would like to create pathways for more female Mexican-American students to get into medicine. Ambitious and compassionate, Mariela will, without a doubt, reach her dream of becoming a top medical doctor.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Paul Martinez

29 May 2014

Paul Martinez

Paul Martinez, one of several graduating students from Merritt College’s Puente Program, made the brave decision to uproot himself from everything that was familiar to him at home in Santa Barbara. Paul, who will be going to UCLA in the fall, moved to Oakland and soon joined the strong, supportive community at Merritt.

Paul grew up quite poor and often felt out of place as though the world had forgotten about him. Now, he a writing tutor in the Learning Center and everyone expresses what a pleasure it is to work with him.  He is a gentle soul with a great deal of wisdom.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Outstanding Grads of the Class of 2014: Meet Marisela Ochoa

29 May 2014

Marisela Ochoa

Marisela Ochoa, a graduating student from Merritt’s Puente Program, will be transferring to UC Berkeley. As a member of the Puente Club, Marisela is conscious of injustice to workers and has spoken out against low wages for supermarket employees. She is breaking barriers as a Chicana pursuing her own dreams of attaining a higher education.

Filed under: Announcements, Merritt College, Peralta News. Tagged: , , , , ,

Merritt College’s Kemarley Brown Earns World Record

22 May 2014

Kemarley Brown Brock Drazen

As Coach Brock Drazen reports, the Merritt College Track and Field team had an eventful state championship this past weekend highlighted by Kemarley Brown’s world leading, national community college record 9.93 seconds wind legal time in the 100m race.  Kemarley, pictured at this week’s graduation with Coach Brock Drazen, came back an hour later with a win in the 200m (wind aided 20.29) and was named male athlete of the meet when all was said and done.

Sometime about 12 hours later, American sprinter Justin Gatlin won a Diamond League 100m race in Shanghai in 9.92 to claim the world lead not before the television crew spoke about Kemarley and his feat from a day earlier.  While big news for our program, school, district and in the USA, this is a HUGE story in Jamaica where you may know that track and field is a national past time.  Kemarley will return to Jamaica and will participate in his country’s national championship. He has been invited just this morning by Nike to compete in the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR (Track Town USA) in less than two weeks and has been getting nonstop contacts from people around the world.  This has been a thrilling ride for all of us and know that our students have handled the focus with great pride, humility and with abundant pleasure.  Kemarley’s growth and maturity, physically and mentally has been visible in these past two years and I can assure you that the foundation of his success is a built on the many contributions small and large, subtle and obvious of so many people working at Peralta and at Merritt.

Tony Parnell also came up big with a 4th place finish in 10.43, an impressive performance from a hard working, determined guy who trained consistently always with an eye on reaching his maximum potential.  By finishing in the top 4, Tony becomes a community college All-American.  All 4 members of our 4x100m relay, Parnell, Brown, Tom Jacobs and Rajee Orr were also named All-American after finishing 2nd in the relay at state.  It was momentarily disappointing for all of us as we had fended off all community college challengers all season long until this final race (including besting Mt. Sac twice during the season).  Nonetheless, we set a season best mark in the race (40.22) and could only congratulate Mt. Sac  on achieving their season best mark (40.09) to win the title.  I still have to post the 200m race but below are two versions of the 100m and the relay.  Overall, Merritt finished 6th at the meet behind two Norcal teams (American River and Sequoias) and three Socal teams (Riverside, Cerritos and Mt. Sac).  Defeating the likes of SF City again and realizing that neither Chabot nor DVC had anyone make the state championship is a feather in our recruiting cap–and it’s that time of year.

Eight members of the track team are  are graduating this year:  Tony Parnell, Leo Theus III, Tamba Smith, Aliyah Wilkins, Rajee Orr, Kemarley Brown, Gary Moore and Tom Jacobs (Fall ’14).  This will make 32 transferring graduates since 2010.

Filed under: Uncategorized. Tagged: , , ,

  • Peralta Colleges

    Friday 26 April 2019
    Powered by Wordpress

  • Peralta Community College District is comprised of Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College. Together they provide northern Alameda County a range of educational programs and life-long learning opportunities.
  • Peralta Colleges on Facebook Peralta Colleges on Twitter Peralta Colleges on YouTube Peralta Colleges on Instagram Peralta Colleges on Linkedin

  •