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Student Equity Reenvisioned Faculty

 

Jason Suarez

jsuarez@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 ext. 3769

Title: Professor of History/Student Equity Reenvisioned Faculty Coordinator

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

16 years

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

University of California, Santa Barbara

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

University of California, Santa Barbara

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Seattle Central Community College

Why did you choose this career?

The learning process and facilitating student success are two topics that have always fascinated me. Teaching was a career choice that allowed to continue my exploration and application of these interests.

What advice do you have for students to be successful?  

There are three areas I believe students should focus on to ensure their academic success. First, students must address behaviors and emotions that may impede them from achieving their academic goals. Second, students need to become familiar and make use the student services offered at their respective post-secondary institutions. Third, students must master and practice the academic skills necessary to be successful in the classroom.

 


 Dr. Argelia Andrade

aandrade@elcamino.edu
(310) 660-3593 x5335 

Title: Assistant professor of Spanish

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

4 years

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

UCLA

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

UCLA and Ph.D., from UCLA

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Los Angeles Valley College, Santa Monica College, UCLA

Why did you choose this career?

I have always loved teaching. Once I started my educational path, I decided that I wanted to teach adults.

What advice do you have for students to be successful?

No shortcuts! Find a way to enjoy the marathon.


 

Dr. John Baranski

jbaranski@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 ext. 3583

Title: Assistant Professor of History

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

2

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

BA, Sonoma State University

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

San Francisco State University

Ph.D. from UC, Santa Barbara

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Fort Lewis College, Durango, CO

Why did you choose this career?

California’s community college system changed my life. My education at Los Angeles Valley College made my college and career goals possible and as a result it opened many opportunities in my life-it would be impossible to list them all. Just as important, my time at Valley College opened my mind to new ways of seeing the world. While I was there, I decided I wanted to be part of higher education so I could contribute to students.

What advice do you have for students to be successful?

Take your education seriously, work hard in every class, and embrace learning. Do that and great things will follow for you, your family, and the world.

 


Dr. Randy Firestone

rfirestone@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 x3762

Title: Professor of Philosophy

Employed at El Camino College: 9 years

B.A. degree from UCLA

J.D. degree from Hastings College of the Law

M.A. degree from Cal State Los Angeles

PhD. work at University of California, Irvine (UCI)

I was a full-time civil litigation attorney with my own law office in Beverly Hills. After selling my law practice, I returned to school to study philosophy. I taught part time for Long Beach City College and Santa Monica College before being hired for a full-time teaching position at E.C.C.

I began reading Eastern Philosophy while I was an attorney, and also became a black belt in Aikido, a Japanese martial art which is based on a philosophy similar to Taoism. When I decided to sell my law practice, I asked myself what I wanted to do and I realized I loved reading philosophy, and also desired to teach, so I returned to school for 5 years with the goal of becoming a philosophy professor.

My advice is to find what you love and make a career out of it. I had always wanted to be a lawyer and loved fulfilling my dream, but after some time began to lose some of my passion for law. Fortunately, I found my passion in philosophy. When you love what you do, you usually will be successful enough to support yourself. I cannot imagine spending most of my waking hours going to a job that I was not excited about.

 


 

Dr. Melissa Fujiwara

mfujiwara@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 ext. 3765

Title: Assistant Professor of Sociology

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College?

I have worked as a full time instructor for two years. Fall 2017 will mark the beginning of my third academic year at ECC! I can’t imagine a workplace better suited for me…I have truly loved and appreciated my time at El Camino so far, especially due to the amazing students and colleagues I get to work with each day!


Where did you get your BA/BS degree?

I obtained my BA in Sociology from San Francisco State University after transferring there from a community college in San Diego (Palomar College).


Where did you get your Master’s degree?

I obtained an MSW (Masters of Social Welfare) from UCLA. After working as a school based social worker for a short period of time, I decided to return to my first love of sociology and obtained my Master’s degree and PhD in Sociology from USC.


Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Prior to teaching at El Camino College, I taught introductory sociology classes at Irvine Valley College and upper division sociology classes at CSU Fullerton (Sex and Gender and Sociology of Childhood).


Why did you choose this career?

Long ago, I chose sociology as my academic pathway because I am deeply committed to social justice and am passionate about issues of equity. I actually began as a Psychology major, but found a perfect fit in sociology where I learned that names and concepts existed to describe the type of marginalization I encountered in my youth, but internalized and personalized. Sociology taught me that very compelling social forces exist that can change people’s life outcomes. For those reasons, I find sociology empowering and useful.

From a young age, I always knew I wanted to somehow work in a capacity that involved mentorship and allowed me to help people who encountered similar experiences of marginalization that I also experienced, which is why I initially chose Social Work as my first career pathway. I feel like my work at El Camino College is the absolute perfect fit for me, where I get to engage my love of sociology every day, but also work toward helping students reach their own goals and dreams each semester. Working at El Camino College allows me to work toward promoting social justice and connect with students in a mentorship role as they strive toward their own destination points.


What advice do you have for students to be successful?

In terms of advice towards success, I’d say: believe in yourself, never give up, and advocate for yourself. As far as advice goes, those things may sound pretty cliché, but I actually continue to strive toward these skills myself. Giving up is something I have never done and served as a tremendous safety net for me. Like many others, I’ve encountered numerous hardships throughout my life, but the one resource that carried me through was my willingness to never give up and to continue forging ahead no matter how overwhelmed I may have felt. I witnessed my own parents continue to soldier on through some pretty harsh conditions, and I learned that fortitude, at best, can carry you very far, and at the very least, keep you afloat.

Believe in yourself—it will help you to tune out any naysayers and to enjoy your successes!

Finally, I only learned this well into my MSW program, but you must always advocate for yourself! If you don’t understand something, need something, or want something, use your voice to make your needs known! I was the quiet student who sat at the back of the class—always did my work and studied, but it wasn't until a mentor in my MSW program at UCLA mentored me to realize that if I couldn’t advocate for myself, I’d never be able to advocate for my clients, which now applies to my students and my own children. This was pretty life-changing for me as the quiet and reserved student who would never approach her professors!

I also think it’s really important to carve out a path that you enjoy or feel passionate about, and that allows you to ‘stay true to yourself.’ If you can embrace each of those areas of personal development, I believe you will feel successful!

 


 Xocoyotzin Herrera

xherrera@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593

Title: Professor of History

Xocoyotzin Herrera is a native of Oxnard, CA. and received his B.A. in Latin American Studies from UCLA and M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from CSUN. He has been an adjunct professor in the Department of Chicana/o Studies at CSUN for several years and has taught Chicano Studies at numerous community colleges in the greater Los Angeles and Ventura County areas as well as other local CSU campuses. In Fall 2013, Professor Herrera was hired as a full-time History and Ethnic Studies instructor at El Camino College. Throughout his time at this school, he has been active in the development of its Ethnic Studies program and the on-campus promotion of Chicano history and cultural awareness through ECC’s Celebration of Chicano Culture, a yearly lecture and performance series he has spearheaded since Spring 2014.

Professor Herrera has also been heavily involved in traditional Mexican musical performance since childhood. He is a multi-instrumentalist and has performed with his family group, Conjunto Hueyapan, which specializes in folk music of Veracruz, Mexico (son jarocho) for over thirty years. Together with Conjunto Hueyapan and other highly-acclaimed ensembles, Professor Herrera has recorded extensively and has performed at major venues and festivals throughout the United States, Mexico, Europe and Asia. In addition, he is also composes original music for major film and television projects, some of which include Emmy, Golden Globe and Oscar Award winning programs and films.

 


 Hong Herrera Thomas

hherrera@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 ext. 3756

Title: Assistant Professor of History

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

3rd year full time

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

Cal State Fullerton

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

Cal State Fullerton, PhD course work at UC Riverside

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Santa Ana College

Why did you choose this career?  

I started teaching because I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help people get where they needed to go in life.

What advice do you have for students to be successful?

Follow your passion, work hard, and enjoy the journey.


 

Dr. David L. Reed

dreed@elcamino.edu
(310) 660-3593 ext. 3750

Title: Assistant Professor of Political Science 

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

One year.

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

University of California, Los Angeles

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

California State University, Long Beach

Where did you get your Doctorate?

University of California, Santa Barbara

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

Ventura College

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Moorpark College

Cuesta College

Why did you choose this career?

So that I could essentially remain a student the rest of my life.  I fell in love with academia and the pursuit of knowledge when I started to school here at El Camino 21 years ago, and haven’t stopped since.  I also love to teach, and use my own intellectual curiosity as a model for what I wish to see in my students.  I love imparting knowledge, but also life lessons to my students, and that’s something you don’t get to do in most other jobs.

What advice do you have for students to be successful?

Find what you really care about, and then make yourself the best weapon that you can be for the causes that you care about, taking account of both (a) what is required to be successful, and (b) the role that best fits your temperament and abilities.  But also, (c) be willing to grow into a role that you might not initially feel comfortable with.  You may not feel like a leader, but sometimes the reluctant leaders are the best kind.  Take full advantage of every opportunity that you get in college.  Make an Ed Plan and take the courses you need, but also, don’t shy away from the electives that might open your mind to alternative paths in life. 


Dr. Orion Teal

oteal@elcamino.edu
310-660-3593 x3763

Title: Assistant Professor of History

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College? 

1 Year.

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

Reed College, a small liberal arts college in Portland, Oregon.

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

I received both a Master’s and PhD from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College?

I taught History at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri for three years. I also taught at Duke University and William Peace University in Raleigh, North Carolina for several years during and after completing my PhD. 

Why did you choose this career?

I chose to teach at a California Community College because I believe that public higher education is the great leveler in our all-too-often unequal society. I wanted to study and teach history because it is a powerful tool for understanding how we got where we are today. I enjoy being in the classroom trying my hardest to make the past come alive in meaningful ways while introducing students to the skill of historical inquiry. Knowing that I can contribute, in whatever small way, to students’ successful pursuit of life-changing educational opportunities makes all the hard work of preparing classes and grading assignments more than worth it. 

What advice do you have for students to be successful?

Get organized, be persistent, and never be afraid to ask for help. In my classes, and probably most others at ECC, successful students get all their work turned in on time, keep trying even if they don’t succeed at first, and, most importantly, they recognize that instructors and staff are here to support them.    


Sandra Uribe

suribe@elcamino.edu
(310) 660-3593 ext. 3746

Title: Assistant Professor of History

How many years have you been employed at El Camino College?

I have been teaching at El Camino since 2016.

Where did you get your BS/BA degree?

I graduated from UC Irvine with a BA in history and Chicano Studies with a minor in sociology.

Where did you get your Master’s degree?

I graduated with an MA in history from UC Riverside.

Where did you work before coming to El Camino College? 

I worked at Riverside Community College, the Studio for Southern California History, and Westwood College.

Why did you choose this career?

As a high student, I was curious about U.S. history, but was not sure what I could do with a history degree.  By my sophomore year, I changed my major from biochemistry to chemistry, and later history. During my junior year, I took a class with Dr. Vicki Ruiz, one of the only female Latina historians I had encountered thus far.  She became a role model.

Dr. Ruiz provided me with a photo of Los Tomboys, a 1940s softball team from Orange, California. She challenged me to find information on this picture. I naively visited the local public library thinking that information would be at my disposal. However, library staff informed me that no such team existed – at least in their local history archives. The only information housed in the archives was that of the local predominantly white team, the Lionettes. The disparity of information in archives, libraries, and newspapers solicited my desire to search for these women and tell their stories. After careful digging, I met eight members of Los Tomboys. Their oral histories and sport paraphernalia became instrumental in documenting the experiences of softball and baseball among Mexican American women.

During my senior year, I began an internship with the guidance and assistance of Dr. Ruiz. I began to teach for the H.O.T. (Humanities Out There) program, which sought to bring primary sources, and minority experiences to inner-city history high schools.  Students were drawn and engaged with the material because it reflected their personal and family experiences.  This journey solidified my desire to teach, and make U.S. history inclusive to minority students that felt their stories and perspectives were not taught.

My curiosity for the topic led me to continue my higher education, the first on both sides of the family to attend and graduate from graduate school. At UC Riverside I continued my research that sparked my interest at UC Irvine. My thesis, The Queens of Diamonds: Mexican American Women’s Amateur Softball in Southern California, 1930-1950, aimed to chronicle local softball teams and players to gain perspective on issues of race, gender, identity, and community building.

What advice do you have for students to be successful? 

My biggest advice for students is to become an active learner. This means 1) engaging the material (i.e. taking notes, highlighting, underlining, charting, making connections, asking questions); 2) embrace working in groups; 3) participating (i.e. group discussions, in-class assignments, attending office hours, emailing instructors, attending class); 4) reviewing a little every day; and 5) breaking down assignments (i.e.: brainstorming, researching, writing, editing, asking for help, using the school resources). Secondly, in the words of Yoda, “The Greatest Teacher, Failure Is” - learn from feedback and failures