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ASMC Offers Its Annual Student Scholarships; Apply Now: Deadline is April 11

11 January 2019

ASMC is once again offering its annual scholarships for students which will be announced at the its Annual Scholarships Awards Reception on Wednesday, May 8, in the Student Lounge. You will find all of the scholarship applications HERE. Please share them with students who will benefit from the financial assistance.

(Click image on left for all applications)

Filed under: news

Searching for a 2019 Calendar? Get a Merritt Wall Calendar for Free from EOPS/CARE!

6 January 2019

If you are scrambling to find a calendar to keep track of your 2019 appointments, look no further. Once again the EOPS/CARE folks have created a wall calendar that displays beautiful photos each month of your colleagues (and maybe even you)!The calendar also includes the important academic dates for the year and  a 2020 calendar to plan for next year!  With a cover photo of a gorgeous Merritt sunset (taken by talented CARE Director Rachel Ellis), the calendar is offered at no charge to Merritt faculty, staff, and students just by requesting it from Rachel ( Happy 2019!

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Merritt Alumna Credits Histotech Program for Successful Career

10 December 2018

With a strong interest in science, Feather Ives headed from El Cerrito High School to San Diego State University as a first-generation college student to follow her passion. Though her intended path did not work out as planned at first, she would end up years later with lots of real-life experiences behind her as she transitioned to an in-demand career in science.

“I ended up majoring in public administration at SDSU which enabled me to do something practical and get my professional life started,” says Feather. “My first ‘adult’ job was an advertising sales position at the LA Daily News where I was put into leadership roles. Then I spent the next 10 years building my resume in various industries.”

So while her science dreams were put on hold, the rest of her life was most certainly moving at full speed: In business, she managed small and midsize teams, worked in business development, and was an affordable housing property manager. She even spent a year and a half teaching English in South Korea. In pursuing her interest in public health, she provided re-entry assistance to prisoners at San Quentin, taught English online to girls in Afghanistan, and is a board member for an organization that provides integrative medicine to women with cancer living below the poverty line. In January 2015, she had a daughter and became a stay-at-home mom for two years.

It was during that time she attended a housewarming party for a friend who had recently completed the Merritt Histotechnology Program. The friend explained that histotechnology involved thinly slicing and staining biopsy tissue and preparing slides for viewing under a microscope to diagnose diseases.

“I had always been interested in pathology and when I heard that the Merritt program would cost only $2,000 and I could earn $70,000 and up, I enrolled in the first courses that spring of 2016.

Feather credits Microscopy Program Director Gisele Giorgi with her success in getting through the rigorous schedule. “Gisele was my professor and my mentor, and she was so supportive,” says Feather. “She also has great connections with companies who are looking for interns, and I ended up being offered two internships at the same time—Gladstone Institute and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub—where I got on-the-job training and learned a ton working on the microscopes and in the wet lab.” She also was thrilled to have a scientific article published with several other authors in the prestigious journal Nature during her time at Biohub.

In two years, the hard work in classes and experience in internships paid off. Feather was offered her “dream job” at UC Berkeley where she is currently a Research Associate in the Molecular Imaging Center and works with director Holly Aaron who is on the Merritt Microscopy Program’s advisory board.

“It says a lot about the biosciences programs at Merritt,” says Feather. “There are no barriers to entry. You apply to Merritt and enroll in the intro microscopy course. Histotech and microscopy jobs are in high demand with openings across the country in private industry, universities, and hospitals.  I also love this program because of its inclusion and diversity in age, gender, and race. Our program looks how science classrooms should look everywhere.”

To help others achieve success, Feather has been mentoring Merritt students to help them transition into higher-paying jobs so they can continue to live in the Bay Area. “Many of our students are mid-career,” she says, “and the goal is to train folks for jobs that get them out from under the $20 per hour range and earning $35 an hour or more.

Feather has recently been accepted into a Master’s of Public Health Program and is deciding which of her many interests she’ll pursue. But whatever she does, she says she’ll always remember the college’s slogan ‘We Change Lives’ and be grateful to Merritt for providing the program and support that changed hers.

Filed under: news

Get Ready For a Relaxing New Year….Add Yoga to Your Schedule! Starts 1/22, 6-6:50

10 December 2018

Will you be ready to de-stress after the hectic holidays? Why not add yoga to your schedule and free your mind to start the new year! Back by popular demand, Sabrina Smith will teach yoga at three levels in the same class:  Fundamentals (51A), Beginning (51B) or Intermedate (51C). You will learn yoga stretches and postures, conscious breathing patterns, and relaxation techniques. Enroll now at For questions, contact instructor Sabrina Smith at


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Plans Underway for First Latinx Graduation Celebration to Honor Student Achievements

10 December 2018

In the last speech before his death in 1993, Cesar Chavez spoke of education as being one of the biggest battles for Latinos. If children were to find success in society, he said, they must be encouraged to complete as much education as possible.

Throughout the years, Merritt College has worked toward this goal by continuously recruiting, supporting, and advocating for its Latinx students to follow through on Chavez’s legacy. The college has had an active Puente Program for more than 30 years and recently achieved HSI status (Hispanic-Serving Institution) with more than 30 percent of Latinx students. That population is also supported by the District-wide PACLA (Peralta Association of Chicanx and Latinx DeAztlan.)

This year, for the first time, the Latinx students will be publicly recognized for their accomplishments and their heritage at the Latinx Graduation Celebration (LGC) on April 27, to be held in the Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale Student Lounge. Hard at work planning to make this event a success is a committee of 29 members, co-chaired by Dr. Lilia Chavez, Maria Suarez Rodriguez, Dr. Mario Rivas, Rosa S. Perez, Dr. Marty Zielke, Jennifer Briffa, Isela Santana, Jose Salceda, and Dr. Rick Ramos, and including Dean Jason Holloway and Dean Syed Hussain.                                                                                                                                                                         

“For many years we wanted to have a Latinx graduation, but we didn’t have the appropriate support,” says Jennifer Briffa, Child Development instructor. “Now with the increase in Latinx faculty and students, we have support from faculty, staff, and administrators, and students from ASMC, Puente and First-Year Experience.”

The event is designed to portray the accomplishments of Latinx students to their proud families, friends and community members. Along with the ceremony honoring each student, there will be a spiritual blessing, guest speakers, music, short speeches by student honorees, awards and recognitions to supporters, and light refreshments. Each graduate will be presented with a specially designed stole marking the memorable occasion.

The committee considers the event to be more than just a graduation, but a way to also rejoice in the achievements of Merritt’s students as they move out into the world and represent their heritage in their successful new ventures.

“This milestone event is intended not only to celebrate students’ achievements,” says Mario, “but also to reaffirm our commitment to uplifting the Latinx community by helping students access college opportunities so they can move on to higher paying careers and positions of leadership in our society.”

Photo: Planning for the first-ever LatinX Graduation Celebration are some of the nearly 30 committee members: (left to right)  Rosa Perez, Jennifer Briffa, Rick Ramos, Maria Suarez Rodriguez, and Mario Rivas.

Filed under: news

Join a New Learning Community and Earn Double Units: AFRAM History, Culture, and Music

30 November 2018

If you are interested in African-American Studies AND Music, you can now earn units for both classes at one time in this new interdisciplinary learning community. Just enroll in both AFRAM 30 and MUSIC 11 and you’ll  be learning a combination of African-American history, along with music, art, and culture, and earning transfer units for both! See flyer below, and for questions about this new innovative program at Merritt, contact Jason Seals ( or Monica Ambalal (

Filed under: news, Newsletter

HBCU Alumni Give Students Advice from First-Hand Experience

28 November 2018

From Angela Khoo: On Thursday November 15th, Merritt College Transfer Center hosted an HBCU Information session led by a panel represented by alumni of HBCU  (Historic Black Colleges & Universities). Students got to hear from first-hand experience all about their challenges and the support they received on the road and the pathway to the HBCUs and life after HBCU!  Thank you Dr. Kitchen, an alumni of Lincoln University, for hosting us at the ASMC chambers. Next Spring we will host our second panel session about Life on Campus and how to afford a HBCU education!

Seated let to right are:

  • Alisa Burton – Spelman College
  • Joan Morris – Xavier University
  • Allison McMillan – Abbott Lab HBCU Recruiting Team member
  • Betty Booker – Grambling State University




Filed under: news

One Holiday Down, More to Come! Admissions & Records Starts Early!

24 November 2018

IMG_4837Even before Thanksgiving,  Susana de la Torre and staff members Marisol Roque and Dayana Juarez in Admissions and Records  were getting out the winter holiday decorations to hang, with some help from Birhon Quizhpe. Welcome back to work until the next holiday and the new year!

Filed under: news

Don’t Miss the Holiday-Themed Merritt S.O.U.L on 12/13 with Snacks; Last One of the Year!

17 November 2018

Mark your calendars for the last Merritt S.O.U.L. event of the year on Thursday, Dec. 13, from 12 to 4 p.m. in D-144 where we will be providing holiday cheer along with fresh produce.   After a successful fall where we have also been offering healthy snacks to eat while you “shop,” (and providing the recipes), we will be offering one final opportunities to select fresh produce before the new year, as well as information about nutrition and full healthy meals to plan for yourself or your families. And if you have a recipe to share, please send to Brandon Christian at bchristian@peralta.ed. Hope to see you on Dec. 13 and sample the special snacks and recipes we’ll have for the holidays!



Filed under: news

Find Out All the News in the November Merritt Connection

16 November 2018

See what’s new in the latest issue of The Merritt Connection! Get the schedule for the exciting faculty and staff exhibition, “The Art We Make,” that runs through November 27, and see the work of your talented colleagues. Read about the progress of the Guided Pathways Core Team and see how you can participate! Then find out more about one of the Core Team members, Stefani de Vito, and how her extensive background in counseling and education make her the perfect choice for making Guided Pathways a success.  Have a great Thanksgiving and all holidays and The Merritt Connection will be back in February just after school begins.

Click here for the complete issue!


Filed under: news