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Herman Roque

27 May 2015

 A Tragic Past Leads  to a Satisfying Future 

Eight years ago Herman Roque’s doctor told him he was going to die. He had been an addict for 20 years while hiding it from his family, his friends, and his co-workers. But after two decades it caught up with him, and he got a  blood infection that caused respiratory failure, kidney failure, and paralyzation from the neck down. At that point, says Herman, he started going through the five stages of grief and stopped at No. 3.

“When I got to bargaining,” he says, “I began bargaining my tail off. I said, ‘If I get out of this, I promise I’ll help others to not get in this situation.”

Although Herman “coded” three times and required two tracheotomies, he didn’t die. He spent more than two years in the hospital getting therapy (and gained some movement in his upper body as a result), and he started a lifetime of  dialysis.

“When I got to the lowest point, I knew I had to get off drugs to save my life. That’s when my life changed. As soon as I was well enough, I started my journey to make good on my promise.”

He earned his GED at adult school and then searched for a way to help others. When he found out about Merritt’s Community Social Services Program, he knew that was his calling. Last year Herman got his certificate in substance abuse counseling with a high GPA, multiple awards, and a membership in the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. He plans to attend Cal State East Bay.

He is also interning at Second Chances in Hayward to complete the 2200 hours he needs to become a state-certified counselor.  “This is the best job I’ve ever had. I can’t believe they are going to pay me to do it someday,” he says. “There’s no better feeling than to help someone get their life back.”

Herman thanks his instructor Dr. Bill Love for being “tough” on him and the Disability Services folks, including Ron Nelson and Mary Ciddio, for all of their support. Says Mary: “Herman is a determined and humble man and always has a smile on his face. He is an inspiration to us all!

Herman is in great need of a van to take himself to work and school as he cannot sit for long periods without being in a lot of pain. If anyone has resources to help him, please call him directly at (510) 575-7917.

Filed under: Uncategorized

How Do We Change Lives?

27 May 2015

We Change Lives?
Tell Us How!

While Merritt College has a longtime slogan, “We Change Lives,” I’ve always thought it begged the question, “How?”

Wouldn’t it be great, I’ve thought, if we could have a link on the homepage called, “How We’ve Changed Lives,” with a few sentences and a photo from alumni (and currrent students) who could tell us where they are now and how Merritt helped them get there?

While it seems a daunting task to do for the entire college, I’d like to start small and grow with your help.

I proposed the idea at a recent CTE focus group and everyone thought it was a great idea. But Jennifer Yates in Radiologic Science actually went back and wrote to her alumni. The result is a link I put on her website called Student Testimonials which I add to every time she sends me another one. Check it out!

Email me if you’d  like to participate (smay@peralta.edu). Testimonials are a great way to market your program

Filed under: Uncategorized

stefanie

27 May 2015

Merritt Students in NIH Grant Program
On Their Way to Bright Careers in Science
Scott Aposhian never thought he would go to college. In fact, he wasn’t even interested in high school and dropped out when he was barely in the 10th grade. Today he is headed to UCLA to study molecular and cell biology with the dream of becoming a doctor. Though he may have had other influences in his life to get to this point, the chance to participate in Merritt’s Bridges to Baccalaureate Program was definitely a major factor.

“This opportunity came at the perfect time,” says Scott, who became interested in science once he was back on the education track. “I wasn’t sure if the course loads would be too crazy. But I knew that if I was accepted into this program, I would  get the help I needed to get through. I was overwhelmed at the time, and this was a glimmer of hope.”

The Bridges to Baccalaureate program is Merritt’s name for the National Institutes for Health Grant which counselor Tanya Ilarde helped develop and co-counsel in for six years. It provides support to underrepresented students who want to pursue a four-year degree in the  sciences. Each year, the grant has helped 7 to 10 students reach their goals by partnering with UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships to provide tutoring, counseling, and an 8-week paid  summer research internship on its campus.

“It’s been a great collaboration of efforts with our four-year partners, our science faculty and our student services staff towards transfer,” says Tanya, “and it’s been a thrill to see our students’ achievements.”

Along the way, Dr.  Jennifer  Shanoski, Chemistry Department Chair, has taken the lead as science faculty to direct the grant program and encourage her chemistry students and others who met the demographics to apply for the program.

“From a science perspective, community college students don’t have the chance to do research or look at what science really  is,” says Jennifer, who earned her Ph.D. at Cal.  “An opportunity to do research gives them a leg up not only in their experience but when they are applying to transfer. It’s a unique experience. I didn’t have that opportunity in my own first two years of college.”

It was that research experience that changed David Quintanilla’s mind about the field of medicine. “It was a totally different experience than I thought it would be, and it opened my mind toward going into research,” says David, who will continue his work at UC San Diego this  summer before heading to UC Berkeley to study bio chemistry and molecular biology.  “It exposed me to the whole research  environment. I worked with instruments, and I learned about new technologies. Doing the research really boosted my application.”

Alice Onu came out of her summer research with a new accomplishment to put on her resume – creating an enzyme.
“I worked in an infectious disease lab finding out whether bacterias were resistant to disease or causing it. After hours and hours with my lab mentor, I finally got it, and I was able to clone the disease and create an enzyme. It was really enlightening.”

Since that time, Alice has been at UC Santa Barbara studying psychology, but she is now thinking of making a change toward more of a medical career.  “This program helped me in a lot of ways, she says. “You don’t hear about students like me given the chance to go to Cal and work in a lab for free for the summer.”
Sierra Selby was studying kinesiology at  Merritt and nervous about taking a chemistry class when she heard about the program. “I always thought science was too hard—until I took Dr. Shanoski’s class.

She’s a great teacher and super passionate and she makes everything interesting.”

Sierra delayed her 8-week research lab because of work, but this summer she will get work in a genetics and neurobiology lab. She became interested in the topic after taking a biology class from instructor Hank Fabian who then suggested she take Merritt’s class in genomics. She really liked the topic and the high-tech equipment at Merritt’s Alameda facility.

“That class really got me interested in the subject,” she says. “I’m hoping the lab and my courses at Berkeley will help me narrow down my field of science. I’ve had nothing but good experiences in this program!”

For more information, call Tanya Ilarde at (510) 436-2559.

Filed under: Uncategorized

NIH Grant

27 May 2015

Merritt Students in NIH Grant Program
On Their Way to Bright Careers in Science
Scott Aposhian never thought he would go to college. In fact, he wasn’t even interested in high school and dropped out when he was barely in the 10th grade. Today he is headed to UCLA to study molecular and cell biology with the dream of becoming a doctor. Though he may have had other influences in his life to get to this point, the chance to participate in Merritt’s Bridges to Baccalaureate Program was definitely a major factor.

“This opportunity came at the perfect time,” says Scott, who became interested in science once he was back on the education track. “I wasn’t sure if the course loads would be too crazy. But I knew that if I was accepted into this program, I would  get the help I needed to get through. I was overwhelmed at the time, and this was a glimmer of hope.”

The Bridges to Baccalaureate program is Merritt’s name for the National Institutes for Health Grant which counselor Tanya Ilarde helped develop and co-counsel in for six years. It provides support to underrepresented students who want to pursue a four-year degree in the  sciences. Each year, the grant has helped 7 to 10 students reach their goals by partnering with UC Berkeley’s Center for Educational Partnerships to provide tutoring, counseling, and an 8-week paid  summer research internship on its campus.

“It’s been a great collaboration of efforts with our four-year partners, our science faculty and our student services staff towards transfer,” says Tanya, “and it’s been a thrill to see our students’ achievements.”

Along the way, Dr.  Jennifer  Shanoski, Chemistry Department Chair, has taken the lead as science faculty to direct the grant program and encourage her chemistry students and others who met the demographics to apply for the program.

“From a science perspective, community college students don’t have the chance to do research or look at what science really  is,” says Jennifer, who earned her Ph.D. at Cal.  “An opportunity to do research gives them a leg up not only in their experience but when they are applying to transfer. It’s a unique experience. I didn’t have that opportunity in my own first two years of college.”

It was that research experience that changed David Quintanilla’s mind about the field of medicine. “It was a totally different experience than I thought it would be, and it opened my mind toward going into research,” says David, who will continue his work at UC San Diego this  summer before heading to UC Berkeley to study bio chemistry and molecular biology.  “It exposed me to the whole research  environment. I worked with instruments, and I learned about new technologies. Doing the research really boosted my application.”

Alice Onu came out of her summer research with a new accomplishment to put on her resume – creating an enzyme.
“I worked in an infectious disease lab finding out whether bacterias were resistant to disease or causing it. After hours and hours with my lab mentor, I finally got it, and I was able to clone the disease and create an enzyme. It was really enlightening.”

Since that time, Alice has been at UC Santa Barbara studying psychology, but she is now thinking of making a change toward more of a medical career.  “This program helped me in a lot of ways, she says. “You don’t hear about students like me given the chance to go to Cal and work in a lab for free for the summer.”
Sierra Selby was studying kinesiology at  Merritt and nervous about taking a chemistry class when she heard about the program. “I always thought science was too hard—until I took Dr. Shanoski’s class.

She’s a great teacher and super passionate and she makes everything interesting.”

Sierra delayed her 8-week research lab because of work, but this summer she will get work in a genetics and neurobiology lab. She became interested in the topic after taking a biology class from instructor Hank Fabian who then suggested she take Merritt’s class in genomics. She really liked the topic and the high-tech equipment at Merritt’s Alameda facility.

“That class really got me interested in the subject,” she says. “I’m hoping the lab and my courses at Berkeley will help me narrow down my field of science. I’ve had nothing but good experiences in this program!”

For more information, call Tanya Ilarde at (510) 436-2559.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Sankofa

27 May 2015

Sankofa Program Opens Its Doors to Great Praise
Sankofa, the newest student support service at Merritt College, got a big round of applause and lots of kudos from the speakers at its Grand Opening Celebration on May 12. The primary focus of the program is on the achievement of African-American students, but Sankofa’s services are open to all students who can use the extra nurturing needed to be successful. With an emphasis on English, math, science, and technology, Sankofa will assist students in SEPs, course selection, personal concerns, and connections to other support services on campus.

“We are giving students the power to successfully get through their education and enter their career path,” said Mario Rivas, new Faculty Senate president.

The program is coord

The program is coordinated by Debra Jacks and Dr. Audrey Trotter. For more info, call (510) 464-3958 or go to R-106F.

Filed under: Uncategorized

New Building Design

27 May 2015

Design Concept of Science Building Reflects Open Communication 
We’ve all been watching the cool new building going up for years, and now it’s almost time for the nurses, scientists, and professionals among us to move in. But what many may not know  are the design concepts and the philosophy behind the beautiful façade.

Justin Smith, the Construction Project Manager hired by the District’s Department of General Services to oversee the entire project, recently gave The Merritt Connection a sneak peek and talked about the designers’ philosophy.

“There are many great features within the building that have been carefully planned by the designers to please its occupants,” says Smith. “Everyone from the president to the deans to the first-year students will find something new and exciting in this building.”

As Smith explains, there were three specific objects that shaped the conceptual design:
1) New Approach – Enhancing communication by using public areas to create opportunities for stronger interactions;
2) New Heart – Using the central courtyard,
defined by the helix stairway, to energize the building and the campus  with  clear visibility to instructional and social areas;

3) New Energy – Contributing to learning outcomes through sustainability in acoustics, lighting, indoor air quality, daylight,  and views integrated with new technologies.

In keeping with these design concepts, “Learning Neighborhoods were created — well-defined, dedicated zones spread in key points throughout the building for interaction among students, faculty, and staff. These areas are identified by  comfortable furniture, large windows, and soft lighting to encourage active learning through open exchange.

And there is actually more of a scientific philosophy behind the gold-hued screening than just keeping out the glare. According to the designers, it is “artistic abstractions of scientific principles with the coding signifying a genetic legacy that unites all people while recognizing diversity in our population.” In other words, it represents our DNA!

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Free Books at the Library: Can’t Beat the Price!

19 May 2015

In appreciation of the Library’s book sale success, they are now giving away the rest of their book sale stock for FREE for the last week of the semester. There is a wide variety of books to choose from – something for everyone. Just the time to pick up some books to read over the summer! Go to the library and pick up a handful!

FREE BOOKS 5-19-15

 

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One More Chance for Grad Info Session and Tickets, Tues., May 19, Noon or 3

18 May 2015

If you haven’t yet attended a Mandatory Information Session  or received your tickets, there is still one more chance – the day before graduation, Tuesday, May 19, from Noon to 1 or from 3 to 4 p.m., both in the Student Lounge, R-110.

 

045_20140521_MerrittGraduation_IMG_8427 copy

Filed under: Uncategorized

17 May 2015

Lynn Parker, pictured with her counselor Mary Ciddio,  was one of more than ____ students to receive awards last Thursday at the Annual

 

Lynn

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Announce Your Graduation Now with Free Cards

17 May 2015

Let your friends, relatives, fellow students, co-workers, everyone know that you are graduating!  The Student Activities Office is offering free announcement cards for any student who is  graduating. Pick them up at the Student Activities desk.

announcement

Filed under: Uncategorized