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Posts Filed under 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.
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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: , , , ,

Merritt College open today

26 September 2017

Merritt College is reopened today, September 27, 2017. It was closed September 26 due to a fire approximately one mile southwest of the campus. The college was not currently endangered by the fire, but it was evacuated as a safety precaution.

Filed under: Merritt College, Uncategorized

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: , ,

Peralta Outreach on the Move 

18 September 2017

Come and see Peralta Colleges representatives and learn more about Peralta Colleges classes at the following community events: 

  • West Oakland Anthem – Defremery (Bobby Hutton) Park, (9/23/17) 12-5pm
  • 21st Annual Back-to-School Shoe Giveaway – Oracle Arena (9/23/17) 9-1pm
  • 40th Annual College Information Day, University of California, Berkeley, Dwinelle Hall (10/14/17) 9-2pm
  • Civic Pride Leadership Conference – Laney College, 900 Fallon Street, Oakland
    nd, CA, 94606, (10/21/17) , 9-2pm
  • 1st Annual Beyond the Barriers Careers & Resources Expo, Oakland Marriott City Center, 1001 Broadway, Oakland, CA  (10/25/17) 10-4pm

For more information, contact Tamika M Brown, email: tmbrown@peralta.edu

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Filed under: Academic Excellence, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College

Peralta Colleges Stand with DACA Students

6 September 2017

After the election of President Donald Trump, the District Board of Trustees took a very active stance supporting our Undocumented Students and all students who had reasons to be concerned about any potential unjust actions of the Trump administration.  Today, we are saddened that the administration has taken the position to end, within six months, the protection provided by DACA.

 

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a program that represents the decency of America. DACA protects children who were brought to this country and who have grown up as Americans in all the sense of the word. Often called “dreamers,” these children have been integrated into the culture of our schools and have embraced our values: America is their country. DACA students have demonstrated their commitment to be productive citizens and to keep our country strong and great.  Some have served in our military, some have earned degrees, and many have filled jobs that in our country that has strengthened our economy. We recognize the many accomplishments of DACA students and acknowledge their role in our democracy and their contributions to our society: they are lawyers, physicians, teachers—they are productive members of our communities.

 

At Peralta, we have hundreds of students who fit the DACA category, and they are among the best citizens we have.  The Trump administration’s abrupt decision to end DACA is unwise and appeals to a political base that has proven out of step with the majority of America. For this reason, we need to do everything we can to provide the immediate support needed for our students.  In fact, community colleges throughout the State of California are stepping up to be supportive of all DACA students.

 

The Peralta Community College District is committed to supporting DACA students in the best way we can and are committed to the following actions:

  • We will schedule legal workshops at the Colleges as soon as possible so that DACA students can learn about their rights and seek legal protection.
  • We will advocate through Congress and the White House to develop a permanent, fair, humane, and smart solution to making every “dreamer” a documented and respected citizen of the United States.
  • We will encourage our local legislators and community leaders to join us in lending their public support to this effort.
  • We will assure that all PCCD students– and especially the DACA students– know they are not alone in these troubling times.
  • Most importantly, our students need to know that their Faculty, the Staff, the Board of Trustees, the Chancellor and the College Presidents are watching out for them and that everyone in the United States is protected by the U.S. Constitution. The rights of DACA students are not exceptions to these protections. 
  • As part of our commitment, we want all to know that the District:
  • Will not allow federal immigration officials on campus absent legal authority;
  • Will not act on behalf of federal agencies to enforce immigration laws or aid in deportation;
  • Will not share student records containing confidential information without written consent, a court order or other legal mandate, and,
  • Will not allow College police to participate in any voluntary program of immigration enforcement.

 

PCCD remains deeply committed to all of our students and will do everything we can to ensure their success and safety. Currently, we are witnessing a troubling period in our history and we will do everything in our power to win back the values and ideals that make our country the beacon of hope and opportunity for the entire world.

 

Finally, we aim to beat the deadline to end DACA that has been thrust upon us. There are presently two bills before Congress (one of which is bi-partisan), which would preserve DACA; therefore, Congress is not starting from scratch and hope is not lost:  1.) the Bridge Act was introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham on December 9, 2016, and co-sponsored by Senators Feinstein, Durbin, Murkowski, Flake and Schumer.  2.) the American Hope Act was introduced by Representative Gutierrez on July 28, 2017, and has 116 Democratic co-sponsors. The legislative process could result in a successful bi-partisan effort supporting the Bridge Act, which is currently before the Judiciary Committee, or the American Hope Act.  We are not giving up hope to continue to support DACA!

 

Sincerely,

Julina Bonilla, Board President, Peralta Community College District

Jowel Laguerre, Chancellor, Peralta Community College District

Rowena Tomaneng, President, Berkeley City College

Timothy Karas, President, College of Alameda

Tammeil Gilkerson, President, Laney College

Marie-Elaine Burns, President, Merritt College

Filed under: Academic Excellence, Berkeley City College, Board of Trustees, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College. Tagged: , ,

Peralta News: A look at Peralta Colleges classes starting today

21 August 2017

Engineering and science students can take transferable physics courses this fall at College of Alameda.

Check out the latest Community News column in the East Bay Times which highlights some of the many upcoming classes at the Peralta Colleges including Cybersecurity at Merritt College, Introduction to Sociology at Laney College, physics classes at the College of Alameda that meet the transfer requirements for California State University and the UC campuses, and, in collaboration with the Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity and Strength and Berkeley Underground Scholars, Berkeley City College is offering a unique evening class this fall, “Strength From Roots.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Filed under: Academic Excellence, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College, Uncategorized

Peralta News: At Peralta Colleges, summer a surprisingly busy time

7 August 2017

Laney College women’s track and field team

Check out the latest Community News column in the East Bay Times which highlights summer activities at all four of our Peralta Campuses

“Just as summer school ebbs and fall classes seem way out there over the horizon somewhere, we find ourselves in the middle of summer with the slow season upon us.

But there is never a dull moment at our local community colleges — Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College and Merritt College. Let’s take a look at what’s been going on during the summer at the East Bay’s Peralta Colleges.”

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE

Filed under: Academic Excellence, Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Merritt College

Merritt College 2017 Valedictorian Asmita Neupane

20 June 2017

Coming to Merritt College from her home country of Nepal, Asmita Neupane is one of two Valedictorians at Merritt College earning 4.0 GPAs. She received an Associates Degree in Health Sciences with the goal of becoming a nurse. She supplements her classwork by volunteering at San Leandro Hospital. Congratulations!

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

  • Peralta Colleges

    Thursday 5 December 2019
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  • 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.
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