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Find Out the Latest News, Features, Awards, and Retirements in December’s Merritt Connection

6 December 2016

Check out The Merritt Connection to find the President’s review of fall activities and a look toward what’s to come, honors for Judy Adams after 30 years, a profile of Lorna Pascual who will retire after 43 years, the Men’s Basketball team’s journey along Lake Merritt with Coach McMiller, Sankofa students’ trip to the Umoja Conference with counselor Derrick Ross,  and much more!

 

This is the last issue of the year, don’t miss it! Feel free to contribute articles and/or photos for the first 2017 issue. The deadline is January 24. Have a great holiday!

 

See the entire issue HERE or click  on the image below!

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As She Goes From Office to Orchids, Lorna Pascual Looks Back on her 43 Years of Service to Peralta

5 December 2016

Although she has served the Peralta District for more than 43 years, starting at North Peralta Community College on Grove Street, many of her longtime co-workers probably don’t know that Lorna Pascual talks to flowers. Not any flowers, but specifically her prized orchids—120 of them—that she nurtures in her backyard. “I talk to them like I’m crazy,” she says. “I’m always asking them, ‘how are my babies doing?’” (Apparently it works because her orchids are stunning, see photo below).

 

She will most likely be having even more conversations with them soon, along with her roses and her fruit trees. She will be retiring on December 31, allowing her to spend more time in her big backyard in El Sobrante. She also will be taking care of her new grandchild when her daughter, Eva, goes back to work.

 

After more than four decades at Peralta, Lorna will have lots of experiences to look back on.

She moved to California from the Philippines in 1971 and attended North Peralta Community College where she got an accounting degree, which would end up serving her well throughout her career.

 

Lorna started working as a typist at North Peralta and when that location closed, she spent a couple of years at Laney College. She then moved to the new Merritt campus and has been ascending ever since. She has been a payroll clerk, a secretary, a financial aid assistant, and the Learning Center Coordinator.

In between, she has been called on by the president and the business officer to take over important financial and organizational tasks where her expertise was needed. She has handled the financial budgets of seven grants at once in the Student Services office with Dr. Eric Gravenberg, including the Title III Grant with Dr. Audrey Trotter and the Maximum Achievement Project (MAP) with Carlos McLean. She dedicated several months to working on Merritt’s Grant Budgets for the Accreditation Follow-up Report in 2013. And she is currently overseeing the budgets for Student Equity and the Student Success and Support Program.

 

What has kept her at Peralta for so many years? “At first it was for job security and economic reasons to make sure my two daughters, Loralie and Eva, graduated from college,’’ she says. “Then I just began feeling comfortable, and it felt like a family to me. But now, I think I’ve done everything I can do.”

 

Along with tending to her garden and to her four grandchildren, Lorna has more plans for her free time. “I’m looking forward to going on cruises and vacations around the world with my husband, Dennis, who just retired after 44 years at the post office, and working on other hobbies like sewing. But above all I’m grateful to be in a position where I can make a choice to retire!”

—Susan May

 

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Basketball Team Gears Up for Winning Season with Bonding Excursion on Lake Merritt

5 December 2016

As a kid growing up in Oakland, Keenan McMiller says he was blessed to experience the outdoors participating in YMCA summer camps and camping trips with his family. He loved hiking and kayaking and found he was most peaceful in those situations.

Fast forward a couple of decades, and the city kid who loves the outdoors is now head basketball coach at Merritt College and plans team-building excursions every year before the season. Last year the team went on a ropescourse. This year he surprised them.

 

“All I said was ‘wear something warm,’ and we headed for the Lake Merritt Boathouse for an experience most of them had never had,” says Coach McMiller. “I wanted to take them out of their comfort zone. They were forced to work as a team because they were all in one dragon boat and 20 of them have to row together and be synchronized.”

 

For Derek Bell, an Oakland native who had been in a boat just once in middle school, the lesson worked. “I’d never done anything like that before especially with so many people, “ says Derek. “It was a good experience because we got to know each other better, and we felt more united working together to accomplish a task, the same as we do while we are playing basketball. We had a blast. I’d like to do it again.”

 

It is not surprising that Coach McMiller, who has a degree in sports psychology, experience teaching ecology, and years of playing and coaching basketball, would plan a trip like this, followed by pizza at La Val’s in Alameda and bonding exercises. He knows just what he’s doing.

“It’s important that all student athletes in the Merritt College Men’s Basketball Program are pushed to be well rounded—striving academically, volunteering in the community, and enjoying life learning experiences outside of playing basketball.”

 

For the 2013 and 2015 seasons, the Thunderbirds went to the Final Four in the State Championships. This year he hopes to go all the way. “They really trusted me as a leader on the trip, and it’s experiences like this that bring the team together and make them hungry to win,” he says. “Plus we have great support at Merritt with people coming out to the games and bringing their kids. It feels great.”

Mark your calendar: The first Men’s Basketball home game is December 20 against College of Marin. Come and cheer them on!

—Susan May

tball Teams Gears Up for Winning Season with Bonding Excursion on Lake Merritt

As a kid growing up in Oakland, Keenan McMiller says he was blessed to experience the outdoors participating in YMCA summer camps and camping trips with his family. He loved hiking and kayaking and found he was most peaceful in those situations.

 

Fast forward a couple of decades, and the city kid who loves the outdoors is now head basketball coach at Merritt College and plans team-building excursions every year before the season. Last year the team went on a ropes course. This year he surprised them.

 

“All I said was ‘wear something warm,’ and we headed for the Lake Merritt Boathouse for an experience most of them had never had,” says Coach McMiller. “I wanted to take them out of their comfort zone. They were forced to work as a team because they were all in one dragon boat and 20 of them have to row together and be synchronized.”

 

For Derek Bell, an Oakland native who had been in a boat just once in middle school, the lesson worked. “I’d never done anything like that before especially with so many people, “ says Derek. “It was a good experience because we got to know each other better, and we felt more united working together to accomplish a task, the same as we do while we are playing basketball. We had a blast. I’d like to do it again.”

 

It is not surprising that Coach McMiller, who has a degree in sports psychology, experience teaching ecology, and years of playing and coaching basketball, would plan a trip like this, followed by pizza at La Val’s in Alameda and bonding exercises. He knows just what he’s doing.

“It’s important that all student athletes in the Merritt College Men’s Basketball Program are pushed to be well rounded—striving academically, volunteering in the community, and enjoying life learning experiences outside of playing basketball.”

 

For the 2013 and 2015 seasons, the Thunderbirds went to the Final Four in the State Championships. This year he hopes to go all the way. “They really trusted me as a leader on the trip, and it’s experiences like this that bring the team together and make them hungry to win,” he says. “Plus we have great support at Merritt with people coming out to the games and bringing their kids. It feels great.”

Mark your calendar: The first Men’s Basketball home game is December 20 against College of Marin. Come and cheer them on!

—Susan May

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Merritt Gets $20K Grant for Tobacco-less Club’s Efforts Toward 100% Smoke-Free College

4 December 2016

photo-tobacco-less-club-2016-copyMerritt College is one of the first 20 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a $20K grant as part of the American Cancer Society and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI). This $3.6 million, multi-year program is intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke-and tobacco-free campus policies. Over the next three years, a total of 125 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will be awarded TFGCI grants to support these efforts with technical assistance and resources to support their efforts.

Merritt’s active Tobacco-less Club (pictured) has already made great strides toward this goal thanks to the leadership of its president Marlene Hurd and will continue with this grant. So far they have begun forming a task force of students and administrators to brainstorm about the best ways to make the campus smoke-free. Beyond that, they are also planning to hold an art contest to publicize the impact of second-hand smoke, provide jobs for students to go into classrooms and teach others about the impact of second-hand smoke, and offering cessation programs for students.

Jon Murphy of Health Services is coordinator of the grant. “We’re honored to be one of the first colleges to receive this pioneering grant and look forward to using these critical new resources to enable our tobacco prevention taskforce to successfully promote the adoption and implementation of a strong, 100 percent tobacco-free policy on campus,” he says. “Protecting the health and wellness of our faculty, staff, students, and visitors and creating a healthier and cleaner campus environment is a very high priority.”

The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization that works to build healthier communities enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. Marlene Hurd wrote the grant with Pauline Bondonno, Project Director of the Community Health Education Institute in Berkeley, who has worked with the club to get other county and state grants related to campus smoking issues.

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EOPS Coordinator Judy Adams Honored for 30 Years of Service by Statewide Association

4 December 2016

judy-and-friends-copy(Submitted by Kathleen  Olbekson) Congratulations to Judith Adams who was surprised with the Outstanding Service Award at the 47th California Community College EOPS Association’s 2016 Conference hosted in beautiful Monterey. The award was given to show recognition of her 30 years of contributions and tireless efforts in providing services that assist students in becoming successful and reaching their educational goals, despite their many challenges and barriers. She was also honored by the Peralta Board of Trustees at its November meeting with a resolution.


Some of the most amazing people in this field often go unnoticed and Ms. Adams is one of them. Her contribution extends way beyond her job description and it shows in her dedication to the program, her employees, and the way she takes care of her students. I know firsthand of her dedication having worked with her as an EOPS student and now as a Merritt alumna. She began her service as a Peer Advisor and for the next 30 years has been a dedicated employee who goes above and beyond her duties. She is the first one in the office and generally the last one out the door.

 

Judith spends endless hours in her office, crunching numbers, and working with the budget. She also has the ability to listen, hearing students’ concerns and immediately working toward solving their problems. They are her top priority. When she is not figuring out how to best serve the students, she is assisting, training, and preparing all of her staff to be the most efficient employees they can be. She is the reason we enjoy coming to work and are proud to be a part of this program. Everyone here at Merritt is so proud of her and all her accomplishments. Submitted by Kathleen Olbekson, Valedictorian of the Merritt Class of 2014, EOPS staff member, and Mills College graduate. Pictured: Kathleen, Judy, and EOPS counselor Rose Allen.

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Merritt President Writes Letter About Oakland Fire Tragedy

4 December 2016

searchMerritt Community,

     It is with a heavy heart that I write this email.  Words are difficult given the tragedy that has impacted the Oakland community which is our Merritt community.   I ask that we all please remain sensitive to and understanding of the emotions of many students, faculty, staff and administrators who may have family, friends and acquaintances who were injured or died in the Oakland warehouse fire, especially as we continue to await the names and identities of victims.

 

     Although this tragedy occurred in the Fruitvale area of Oakland, fortunately, Merritt@Fruitvale, our Fruitvale office was not involved or damaged.

 

     Please refer students and staff to our mental health counselors in the Student Health Center as appropriate.

 

     We will keep the Merritt community updated as more information becomes available.  In the meantime, we must keep positive thoughts for the friends and families of victims as well as the first responders, a few who may either work or were trained here at Merritt College.  Let’s do what we can to take care of one another as best we can as we move through this horrific event.

 

      Wherever you are at 11:30am this morning, please pause for a moment of silence as a small gesture of respect for those who lost their lives.

 

Dr. Marie-Elaine Burns
Interim President

 

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Holiday Tree Lighting is New Merritt Tradition on December 5

1 December 2016

Merritt College has a new tradition–a Holiday Tree Lighting! For this first year, it will take place on Monday, December 5, at 4:30 p.m., between the R and Q Buildings. Come and join the festivities and be part of the new Merritt College tradition! The event is sponsored by ASMC, COVAH, and the Merritt staff.

christmas-tree-23384_960_720

 

 

 

 

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Enjoy Holiday Performance by Talented COVAH Students on Dec. 6

30 November 2016

The talented students from the Conservatory of Vocal and Instrumental Arts High School (COVAH), featured recently on this website (see article below), will be performing a holiday concert for the Merritt community on Tuesday, December 6, at 11:30 a.m. We are lucky to have COVAH located right here on the Merritt Campus in the D Building so we can hopefully look forward to more performances!

 

Click here for  previous article all about COVAH’s new neighbor.

 

(COVAH students practicing)

covah-practicing

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Apply and Enroll Now for Spring 2017 and Get the Classes You Want!

29 November 2016

It’s that time again, and a new Spring Semester will be starting on January 23. Be sure to apply and/or register as soon as possible to be sure to get the classes you want. Click HERE to find the printed schedule, the most up-to-date schedule and search link, your student PASSPORT link to enroll, and the Spring Academic Calendar with all the important dates and deadlines for the year!

PCCD-SPR17-Class-Schedule-Interactive

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Enroll Now to Explore the Wonders of Biology in 1A & 1B This Spring

27 November 2016

(SEE FLYERS BELOW FOR DETAILS) Learn about the fascinating world of biology while earning transfer credit for UCs! In BIOL 1A (you will explore topics on cellular biology, genetics, life diversity, biotechnology, human physiology, and human health, and you will visit biotech companies and other organizations to explore career opportunities. In BIOL 1B, you’ll learn about ecology, origins of life, evolution plant diversity and structure, and you will visit gardens, aquariums, and other points of interest.

 

For questions, contact instructor Maria Suarez, Ph.D. at msrodriguez@peralta.edu
jpg-poster-biol-1bjpeg-poster-biol-1a-2

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