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African/African-American Graduation 2019 – “Reclaiming Our Narrative: Looking Back and Moving Forward!

24 April 2019

The Peralta Colleges’ 2019 African and African-American Graduation ceremony is a pre-commencement celebration to honor African and African-American students who, through unyielding determination, have successfully completed an associate degree and or certificate from a Peralta College. The ceremony is representative of African and African-American culture and heritage and embraces the values of community and scholarship.

We are also proud to announce that the Peralta Association of African American Affairs (PAAAA) 2019 Scholarship recipients from each of the colleges will be recognized at this year’s graduation program.

“Reclaiming Our Narrative: Looking Back and Moving Forward!” is the theme for this year’s graduation. Acting Chancellor, Frances L. White, Ph.D. has agreed to serve as our keynote speaker. Dr. White’s remarks and the telling of “her story”, particularly as a former graduate of the Peralta Colleges, will be inspirational to our African/African-American students, their families, Peralta faculty, administrators, and staff.

Reserved and secure parking will be provided in the church’s parking lot for trustees, faculty, staff, and administrators. We ask that Peralta faculty, staff, and administrators dress in academic regalia or African attire for the event. Please feel free to do the same or to wear whatever you should choose. We recommend that you arrive by 10:30 a.m. to participate in a group photo and the processional into the sanctuary at the beginning of the program. This year, faculty, staff, and administrators in the procession will be seated on stage.


11 a.m. (no tickets required for entry)
Saturday, May 18, 2019

Beebe Memorial Cathedral
3900 Telegraph Ave.
Oakland, CA 94609

Graduate Information:

Arrival Time: 9-9:30 a.m., check-in and Continental Breakfast (you must RSVP below)


Dress to Impress. Please wear cap and gown.

Items to Purchase:

Kente sashes will be available before the ceremony. $15. (cash only)
Photographers will be available for photos.

To RSVP, please e-mail confirmation of your participation (or ability to volunteer( as soon as possible to: Dr. Lawrence VanHook, chair, at
or call one of the following:
Cie-Jae (Rose) Allen, co-chair, (510) 436-2572
Ramona Butler, co-chair, (510) 981-2832
Douglas Cobb. (510) 464-3149.

A timely R.S.V.P. will ensure the listing of your name in the program.

Here’s a look at a previous graduation ceremony in 2017:

Filed under: Awards and recognitions, Miscellaneous, news. Tagged: , ,

KQED piece features Merritt student Montel Floyd

18 April 2019

When Montel Floyd graduates in May from Merritt Community College, he’ll be the first person in his family with a college degree. Check out this interesting piece from KQED. #inspiration #communitycollege

Filed under: Awards and recognitions, news. Tagged: , ,

Check out photos from the Tenured Faculty Reception 2019

15 April 2019

Filed under: Awards and recognitions, news, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College

Focus on Your Best Health health care advocacy event May 18

15 April 2019

Save the Date

Join us for a conversation with community healthcare leaders Glenda F. Newell, M.D. and Brenda B. Spriggs, M.D., co-authors of Focus on Your Best Health

Moderated by Michael LeNoir, M.D. of the African American Wellness Project

Featuring Special Guest Congresswoman Barbara Lee

Saturday, May 18, 2019
1-3 p.m. in the Barbara Lee Science and Allied Health bldg. on Merritt’s campus.


Filed under: news, Special Program updates, Uncategorized

Summer/Fall 2019 Class Schedules are here!

9 April 2019

Check out the Summer/Fall 2019 Class Schedules here.

Filed under: news, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College

Medical Assisting Program Orientation Friday, April 26

9 April 2019

Medical Assisting Program Orientation
Friday, April 26, 2019
9:30 1:30 p.m.
Barbara Lee Science Building Room 303

Breakfast and Lunch provided for the first 50 participants that sign up!

Please contact:

Filed under: news, Uncategorized, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College

OAKLAND magazine showcases Natural History & Sustainability Program

5 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.
By Angela Hill, Oakland Magazine
Published: April 02, 2019

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 ( 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: news, Uncategorized, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College

Merritt College Job Fair April 25

5 April 2019

Plan now to attend the Merritt College Job Fair on Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Huey P. Newton Student Lounge “R” Building. For more information, contact Maria Spencer,

Filed under: news, What’s Trending Now at Merritt College. Tagged:

Merritt S.O.U.L. Update

26 September 2018

  • From March 10 2017 (first food bank) to September 13 2018 (most recent food bank), S.O.U.L. has distributed a total number of: 75,571 lbs. of fresh produce and other grocery items to the community.
  • Since March 10, Merritt’s Food Bank has served a total number of 3,564 households, not including food the was re-distributed to some of Oakland’s many homeless encampment.

In those households, we have served:

  • Children: 4,436
  • Adults:  5,803
  • Seniors: 1,646

Filed under: Special Program updates

Karen Seneferu

26 September 2018

Art installation by Karen Seneferu


Filed under: Miscellaneous