Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

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Angélica Garcia: Afable, Carismática, y Latina

December 13, 2021

Leticia Luna, Gerente de Redacción and Maria Fernanda Gomez Castro, Periodista de The Citizen (English version below)

Afable, Carismática, y Latina – Angélica Garcia comparte su historia demostrando a los estudiantes que es posible triunfar aunque la vida no esté a nuestro favor. 

Al mismo tiempo que las puertas a las oportunidades continúan abriéndose, Garcia mantiene una posición de significante peso social en una ciudad y distrito que siempre se ha enfrentado al cambio. 

La presidenta del Berkeley City College, Angélica Garcia, es originaria de Fresno y viene de una familia Latina. Garcia se describe cómo “divertida” y “relajada” en casa, y ha estado casada con su esposa por 15 años. Juntas tienen dos hijos, con una reciente suma a su familia; un perro – un deseo que su hija mayor tenía desde hace mucho tiempo. Garcia es la primera de su familia en graduarse de la Universidad, y ahora se enfoca en lograr la igualdad de derechos para estudiantes, como ella lo fue alguna vez. 

El trayecto profesional de Garcia ha sido “muy turbulento”, principalmente porque los pasos tradicionales de trayectoria profesional no están pensados para gente como ella. 

“No creo que esos pasos en este [tradicional] camino estén diseñados para personas como yo, diseñados para mujeres, mujeres de color,” Garcia declara. 

La presidenta del BCC tiene un Doctorado en Educación en liderazgo educativo y equidad de San Francisco State, un Masters en Trabajo Social de San Diego University, y una Licenciatura en estudios cívicos y liberales en Saint Mary ‘s College of California. Con su amplia experiencia en educación, García ha enseñado programas de doctorado y maestría, y ha trabajado en varios niveles de liderazgo en universidades de la Área de la Bahía. Antes de convertirse en la presidenta del Berkeley City College, Angélica Garcia fue Vicepresidenta de Servicios Escolares en Skyline College por 5 años. 

Como defensora de la comunidad Latinx, Garcia describe al grupo California Community Colleges Organización de Latinx (CCColegas) como su “proyecto de pasión”, del cual es cofundadora y vicepresidenta. El grupo fue formado con la intención de crear una red de comunidad para los Latino, Latina, Latinx colegio comunitario profesionales en California para esencialmente “diversificar aún más la fuerza laboral” con el objetivo de lograr el éxito de los estudiantes latinos.

CCColegas es parte de “The Coalition”, una asociación con African American Male Education Network and Development (A2MEND) y Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE). Según Garcia, lo que unió a los grupos fue el deseo en común de tener una comunidad diversa que pudiera apoyar la equidad en los colegios comunitarios y asegurarse de que los estudiantes pudieran tener profesores y administradores que reflejaran sus importantes antecedentes culturales.

“Queremos romper las estructuras inequitativas de la educación superior en los colegios comunitarios”, Garcia declara. 

Garcia asumió la responsabilidad de la presidencia en el Berkeley City College en mayo del 2020, justo al borde de la pandemia mundial. Aún siente que no ha podido instalarse en su oficina, a pesar de que comenzó a trabajar principalmente desde el campus en julio de 2021.

Recientemente fue otorgada con el Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence: the New President ‘s Fellowship. De acuerdo con el Aspen Institute el programa tiene como objetivo ayudar a los presidentes de colegios comunitarios a mejorar los resultados de éxito de los estudiantes de sus universidades, la equidad para los estudiantes de bajos ingresos y para los estudiantes de color. En un correo electrónico a the Citizen, García expresó su humildad y honor de representar el compromiso con Berkeley City College y el distrito de Peralta con los estudiantes. 

“Esta beca [presenta] una oportunidad para acelerar el trabajo que BCC ha realizado para aumentar el éxito de los estudiantes, aumentar las tasas de finalización y la transferencia de los estudiantes, y continuar luchando por la justicia racial ”, dijo García.

Ella ve a los colegios comunitarios como una gran oportunidad para los estudiantes que no tienen claro su futuro. Al mismo tiempo que ofrecen certificados, título de asociado y transferencias (para conseguir el título universitario los estudiantes deben transferirse a una Universidad y completar dos años más), los colegios comunitarios también ayudan a los estudiantes a construir habilidades a través de experiencias. 

“Creo que los colegios comunitarios pueden ser la mejor elección con un gran enfoque para alcanzar las metas académicas y profesionales del estudiante”, dijo.

Con tan solo algunas clases en el laboratorio del campus este semestre de otoño, Garcia ve como su primera responsabilidad, como presidenta del colegio comunitario, asegurar la seguridad y un “ambiente saludable” en el campus durante el proceso de retorno a clases. Ella encuentra importante que los estudiantes, profesores, y empleados del Berkeley Community College se sientan seguros de regresar al campus. 

Desde el año pasado, Garcia ha estado vacunada y enfatiza que las vacunas han ayudado progresivamente a retornar al campus. Las vacunas han hecho posible abordar las medidas para que el campus vuelva a ser seguro, el campus está volviendo a la normalidad gracias a las políticas implementadas, afirma García.

“Las vacunas nos ofrecen una oportunidad de poder volver a estar juntos en el campus,” dijo. 

Cuando se le preguntó sobre las adversidades en las que se vieron envueltas los Peralta Community Colleges en el pasado como el proceso de acreditación, García mantuvo un discurso esperanzador enfatizando,

“Ya sea desde la Junta Directiva, la Canciller, los presidentes, todos los que trabajan aquí, nuestro objetivo principal es estar aquí, para que los estudiantes puedan dar el siguiente paso en su carrera y trayectoria académica”.

Para el futuro, Garcia dice que espera no tener que “ver gente en las pantallas” y “estar realmente en comunidad con la universidad, con los estudiantes, con el profesorado, con el personal”, aunque reconoce que a veces puede estar concurrido y ruidoso, se mantiene optimista de finalmente estar en comunidad y espera obtener los mejores y más positivos aprendizajes de este período “realmente difícil”.

“Estoy esperando poder aprovechar lo mejor de lo que hemos aprendido durante este tiempo y usarlo para hacer que suceda un cambio real”, dijo García.

Este es el primer artículo de the Citizen en dos idiomas. 

Gabriel Martinez, Mariana Rueda y Derek Sylvester (Editor de Multimedia/ The Citizen) ayudaron a editar la versión en español de este artículo. 

——————————————————————————————————————————

This is the Citizen’s first dual language article. 

Gabriel Martinez, Mariana Rueda and Derek Sylvester (Multimedia Editor/The Citizen) assisted in editing the Spanish version of this article.

December 13, 2021

Leticia Luna, Managing Editor and Maria Fernanda Gomez Castro, Staff Writer

Approachable, charismatic, and Latina – Angélica Garcia shares her story while showing students it’s possible to succeed when life isn’t constructed in their favor.  

As the doors of opportunity continue to be pushed open, Garcia holds a position of significant social weight in a city and district that have always been at the forefront of change.

Berkeley City College President, Angélica Garcia, is originally from Fresno and comes from a Latino family. Garcia describes herself as “silly” and “chill” at home, and has been married to her wife for 15 years. Together they have two children, with the recent addition of a dog – a long time wish of her oldest daughter. Garcia is the first of her family to graduate from college and now focuses on achieving equal rights for students like the one she once was. 

Garcia’s professional journey has been “very windy”, mainly because the traditional career path steps are not devised for people like her. 

“I don’t believe that those steps in that [tradicional] pathway were designed for people like me, designed for women, women of color,” Garcia said.

The BCC President has an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) in educational leadership and equity from San Francisco State, a Masters of Social Work from San Diego University, and a B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) in liberal and civic studies at Saint Mary’s College of California. With her extensive background in education, Garcia has taught both doctoral and master’s degree programs, and has worked leading roles at colleges in the Bay Area. Before becoming president at Berkeley City College, Angélica Garcia was Vice President of Students Services at Skyline College for five years. 

As an advocate for the Latinx community, Garcia describes the group California Community Colleges Organización de Latinx (CCColegas) as her “passion project”, of which she is co-founder and Vice President. The group was formed with the intention of creating a networking community for Latino, Latina, Latinx community college professionals in California to essentially “further diversify the workforce” with the goal of achieving Latinx student success. 

CCCollegas is part of the Coalition, a partnership with the African American Male Education Network and Development (A2MEND) and Asian Pacific Americans in Higher Education (APAHE). According to Garcia, what brought the groups together was the common wish to have a diverse community that could support equity at community colleges and make sure students could have professors and administrators that reflected their important cultural backgrounds.

“We want to dismantle the inequitable structures of higher education in community colleges,” Garcia said. 

Garcia took on the responsibility of the Berkeley City College presidency in May 2020, right on the verge of a global pandemic. She still feels like she hasn’t been able to settle into her office, even though she started to work mainly from campus in July of 2021. 

She was recently granted the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence: the New President’s Fellowship. According to the Aspen Institute, the program aims to help community college presidents to better their college’s students success outcomes and equity for low-income students and students of color. In an email to the Citizen Garcia expressed humbleness and honor to represent Berkeley City College and Peralta district’s commitment to students. 

“This fellowship [presents] an opportunity to accelerate the work that BCC has undertaken to increase student success, increase student completion and transfer rates, and continue to strive for racial justice,” Garcia said. 

She sees community college as a great opportunity for students who might not be sure of their future path. While offering certificates, associate degrees and transfers, community colleges help students build their skills through experiences.  

“I believe that community colleges can be a top choice approach to get to the student’s academic and career goals,” she said.

With only a few lab classes on campus this Fall semester, Garcia sees her primary responsibility as college president to assure safety and a “healthy environment” on campus during the returning process. She finds it important that Berkeley Community College students, professors and employees feel safe to return to campus.   

Since last year, Garcia has been vaccinated and emphasizes that vaccines have progressively helped come back to campus. Vaccines have made it possible to address the measures to make the campus safe again, the campus is getting back to normal thanks to the implemented policies, affirms Garcia.

“The vaccines just offer us a chance to get closer to all being back on campus,” she said.

When asked about challenges that have surrounded the Peralta Community Colleges in the past years such as the accreditation process, Garcia maintained a hopeful speech emphasizing,

“Whether it’s from the board [of Trustees], to the Chancellor, to the presidents, to everybody who works here, our primary goal is to be here, so that students can get to the next step of their career and academic journey.”

For the future, Garcia says she looks forward to not “seeing people on screens” and “actually being in community with the college, with students, with faculty, with staff” even though she acknowledges it might get busy and loud at times, she remains positive to finally be in community and hopes to take the best and most positive learnings from this “really hard” period.   

“I’m looking forward to taking the very best of what we have learned during this time, and using that to make real change happen,” Garcia said.

About the Contributors
Leticia Luna
Leticia Luna, Editor in Chief
Leticia is a Brazilian living in the Bay Area. Her interests range from environment to education, and living abroad since 2013 has given her the opportunity to explore and learn about many cultures — so her interest in cultural diversity has only grown. In Brazil, she has taught English and studied education, now she is pursuing an English degree and hopes to continue learning and exploring the world. Her belief in communicating the truth has led her to this journalism class. Leti is also a National Parks enthusiast and loves to use her camera to photograph landscapes and wildlife. On her off time, you can find Leti on hiking trails around the Bay Area or on long road trips with her friends.
Maria Gomez Castro
Maria Gomez Castro, Staff Writer
Maria Fernanda started her journey when she decided to leave her friends, family, and life back in her native country Peru. She moved from Lima, Peru to the USA. Specifically to California in the Bay Area. Maria Fernanda wants to become a journalist, so she decided to start in college and then transfer to a four-year university. Currently she is in her second year of college, and hopefully next fall she will transfer to get her bachelor’s degree in journalism. Maria Fernanda is still trying to decide what kind of journalism she will pursue, but currently she is passionate about opinion writing. She also likes telling stories and interviewing people. Maria Fernanda would like to travel around the world and get to those remote places where so much help is needed and injustices are committed.
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