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Late-Start 2/12: Earn College Credit on the Job! Enroll in COPED 450

25 January 2018

Whether you are working full- or part-time with any employer or volunteering at an organization, you can earn one to three college credits in Merritt’s Cooperative Work Experience Education Program (COPED 450)). Students create a plan for the experience they want to get and goals they want to set, and the instructor checks in periodically on their progress. For more information, contact Doris Hankins at (510) 436-2410 or


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Discover Fields of Flowers on the Carrizo Plain in BIOL 62N, Starts March 1

18 January 2018

Get treated to fields of endless wildflowers and rare wildlife such as pronghorns and kits foxes in “Natural History of the Carrizo Plain (BIOL 62N #24485), where you’ll learn in the classroom and on fieldtrips. Class starts March 1. For more information, contact instructor Ron Felzer at (510) 436-2618 or

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Explore Genomic Data in this Fascinating New Bioscience Class (42)

8 January 2018

If you are interested in Genomics, take this class in Mining GenBank (BIOSC 42) and learn to access and submit DNA sequences as well as compare DNA of various species. The GenBank, maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information of the National Institute Health (NIH), contains genetic information for over 100,000 organisms and is fully accessible to the general public.

The course is an excellent, fun introduction to bioinformatics and is transferable to both UCs and CSUs. The course is taught by Dustin DeMeo, who is working at Stanford on Medical Genomics at Stanford University,the newest and most promising approach to health care in the 21st century.He is known for his enthusiastic interactive teaching and emphasis on student success.

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Want to Help Your Peers Succeed and Get Paid For It? Take Intro to Tutoring

1 January 2018

Do you like helping peers improve their learning? Students now have the opportunity to take Introduction to Tutoring (LRNE 30/1.0 unit/Code 29007) to develop effective tutoring strategies. Although this is a required online course for those interested in applying for a tutoring position in the Learning Center, you do not need to be an employed tutor to enroll in this class. This course is CSU transferrable. Questions? Contact Professor Karen Seneferu (

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Take General Biology to the Next Level in BIOL 1B for Majors, Mon. & Wed.

22 December 2017

Have you already taken BIOL 1A? Then come and explore topics on ecology, origins of  life, evolution, plant diversity and structure, and much more in BIOL 1B. The class, transferable to UCs and CSUs, will include visits to environmental agencies, botanical gardens, aquariums, and unique ecosystems. See flyer below for more details. For questions, contact instructor Maria Suarez, Ph.D. at

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Add To Your New Year’s Resolutions: Lose Weight and Gain Energy!

18 December 2017

Make this the year your New Year’s resolution to lose weight comes true! Join a group of colleagues and community members who are working toward the same goal. The Nutrition & Dietetics program is  once again offering NUTR 25, Weight Management Principles and Practice, to help you learn to manage your weight in a creative way. The class starts on January 22. Anyone can sign up – faculty, staff, students, community members. You will have fun engaging in physical activity during each session and learning about healthy ways to control your weight. There are no exams! This class is free for faculty and staff if they fill out the fee waiver form HERE.  To enroll, go to






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Nursing Program Information Sessions to be Held 1/16 and 2/5

14 December 2017

If you are interested in applying to Merrit’s Nursing Program for 2018, be sure to attend either of the two information sessions in the new year: Tuesday, January 16, at 11 a.m. or Monday, February 5.  Both sessions will be held at 11 a.m. in the Student Lounge, in Building R, Room 110. Come prepared to take notes. For more information about the program, go to Registration is not required.




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Meet the Thunderbirds! All Teams Introduced at Athletic Event

14 December 2017

With much fanfare, courtesy of the COVAH drum band, all Merritt athletic teams and coaches entered the Student Lounge to introduce themselves and gain support from the Merritt crowd who came to see them. In attendance were the Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams, Men’s and Women’s soccer teams, and Men’s and Women’s Track and Field and Cross-Country teams. With lots of hoots and hollers, the individual teams and their coaches took center stage, introduced themselves, and urged the crowd to come to their games and cheer them on!  First up are the home games for the Men’s Basketball team on Saturday, Dec. 23, at 5:30, and the first home game for Women’s Basketball on Thursday, Dec. 21, at 5 p.m. Come out for the games and make some noise! To find the schedule for all games, click HERE and go to the individual sports links.





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Margaret Dixon: A Lifetime of Dedication to Helping Oakland’s Youth

11 December 2017

When Margaret Dixon was growing up in West Oakland, she was the fastest runner on her block. She would organize teams and have all the neighborhood kids race each other in the middle of the street. Decades later she continues to bring together Oakland youth for her 32nd year as volunteer director of the Police Activities League (PAL) Track Club she created for youth ages 5 to 18.


Besides coaching the kids, the former 25-year Oakland police officer, who has been directing Merritt’s Administration of Justice Program for 12 years, helps raise money to send the teams to competitions all over the world. Still going strong since 1985, the popular Track Club recently brought nearly 100 kids to register for the chance to experience running track for the first time with the assistance of Merritt Coach Brock Drazen.


“As a police officer, I wanted to do something for the community that involved youth and was free, and I had a great deputy chief who let me do whatever I wanted,” she says. “We went around to all the children’s centers attached to schools in Oakland and read with them and exercised with them and that’s how it all got started. Participating in sports is a great way for kids to build self-esteem and see that if they can excel in sports they can also excel in academics.”


Margaret continues to give her time to support the Oakland youth and along the way has asked and received help from many of Oakland’s movers and shakers, including local sports teams. She is especially thankful to the Warriors Foundation and the Oakland Raiders who make various donations, including tickets for large groups of students who may otherwise never get to see a game.


It’s also essential for Margaret that her Merritt students know the importance of helping the community and that they participate in events right alongside her. “My students have marched with the mayor, participated in city clean ups, helped the homeless, given out turkeys—and received certificates of appreciation from the city council for their work, “ she says. “I tell my students that in order to be future police officers, or in other careers in public safety, they need to be invested in the community where they live and work, and giving back is part of it. My students have learned how to give unconditionally, and they love it.”


One of the highlights of Margaret’s volunteer work is hosting PAL’s Annual Christmas Dinner, this year on December 14, at Shiloh Christian Fellowship Church, 3295 School Street. Now in its 28th year, the event brings together hundreds of families for a delicious turkey dinner served by Oakland police officers, city officials, and community volunteers including Merritt students, faculty, and staff (Steve Pantell is a regular).


“It’s a wonderful, fulfilling event every year,” says Margaret, “and I welcome anyone who would like to volunteer their time this year and share the spirit of the holiday and the community.”


PAL Photo by Brock Drazen

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Three New Spring Natural History Courses Highlight the Program’s Six Decades

11 December 2017

As a recent 1969 UC Berkeley graduate with a degree in forest science and plans to be a ranger, Ron Felzer applied for a temporary position grading biology tests at Merritt College until he could find his dream job. But his career path changed dramatically after he was asked to fill in for a forestry instructor and then co-taught a natural history class: He discovered that teaching was a great way to share his love of nature.

“There’s nothing like getting out there and walking the trails and scratching the bark of a red fir tree, smelling the bark of a Jeffrey pine, and discovering a field covered with billions of beautiful wild flowers to really learn about natural history,” says Felzer, who spent his career at Merritt teaching and creating more than 120 courses before retiring but continuing to teach part time. “There’s a real world outside of the classroom, and it’s been a lifetime passion of mine to allow students to experience it.” (“Natural History of the Carrizo Plain,” BIOL 62N, starts 3/1. For more information, contact


In fact, Merritt College has been dedicated to offering natural history classes for nearly six decades, with a combination of lectures and field trips that have covered five continents, a majority taught by Ron Felzer and fellow nature enthusiast and recently retired biology instructor Hank Fabian. Students have gone on trips from as close as the Sierra Nevada to as far as Iceland to study plants and animals in their environment. The popularity of the classes, especially in recent years, shows the renewed community interest in the environment as well as the desire to find jobs in related fields, according to instructor and long-time birding guide Daniel Edelstein.


“The number of people who enjoy outdoor recreation and take field classes has increased multifold since the 1950s, and there are more than 70 million birdwatchers in the country,” says Edelstein, a freelance environmental consultant and biologist who has been teaching and studying birds for more than 25 years. “Merritt is one of the only colleges in the Bay Area to offer a natural history program for students that leads to jobs such as biologists, naturalists, rangers, science teachers, and other diverse professions related to physical and natural sciences.” (“Waterbirds of Central California and the SF Bay Area,” BIOL 48N, starts 3/14. For more info, contact or go to


Dr. Brad Balukjian, Merritt’s newest natural history and biology instructor, took students out in the fall semester to discover nature in urban Oakland for the first-ever class, Biology of the Living World” (BIOL 29) and is teaching it again in the spring. An expert in island biogeography, Dr. Balukjian will also teach another new course this spring to explore the islands of California which will include field trips to several of them, including the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California, where students will learn about the life forms that can only be found on these unique ecosystems.

Dr. Balukjian urges students to enroll in at least one or more of Merritt’s natural history classes to understand the important issues currently affecting the planet. “Natural history classes are important as a way to expose students to the ecosystems around us and the threats that could destroy them,” he says. “Learning about nature and seeing the beauty in real life gives students a personal, emotional connection when they realize that our lives are dependent on the natural world. The only way to protect the environment is to first learn to love it.” (“The Natural History of the Islands of California,”  BIOL 62S, starts 3/13. For more information, contact and go to


Spring enrollment is open now! To apply and/or enroll in any of the above classes, go to and for questions, feel free to contact the instructors directly as shown above. Space is limited!


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