New Team Members Committed to Cal Teach

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fall brought not only a new academic year, but also several new faces to the Cal Teach Berkeley team. Though they each have different roles, these staff members share a dedication to the success of the Cal Teach program, students, faculty, and mentor teachers.

Joining Cal Teach as development coordinator, Elizabeth Horpedahl will focus on identifying new sources of financial support to sustain and expand the program. Elizabeth comes to Cal Teach from the Ocean Discovery Institute in San Diego, where she raised funds for programs that engaged students from underserved communities in science.

“I have experience in all areas of fundraising, so I can see the big picture,” says Elizabeth, who had served as the Ocean Discovery Institute’s director of development and communications since 2010. “In particular, I have expertise working with corporations. Historically, Cal Teach hasn’t received much corporate funding, but there’s good potential. I’m excited to be a part of the team.”

The recipient of a B.A. in politics from UC Santa Cruz and a certificate in fundraising management from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Elizabeth wants to increase corporate and foundation funding and enhance stewardship of current donors. As the first Cal Teach staff member whose sole responsibility is fundraising, Elizabeth says, “Being able to focus all my time and energy on this will make a big difference.”

But Elizabeth sees her work as involving more than money. She says, “I’m looking forward to meeting the students. It makes my job more rewarding when I can see people who are excited about the program and the impact I’m having.”

Devin Richards, who became program assistant in August, is also new to Cal Teach, but he’s already well acquainted with UC Berkeley. A 2012 graduate of the College of Natural Resources, Devin went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Oxford and work as a research and policy consultant for the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance before returning to campus to join Cal Teach.

“I wanted to get back to an educational environment and like the wide focus of my position in its supporting role,” Devin says. “I also have a passion for teaching and had thought about going back to school for that myself. Helping students get into the classroom as teachers is a great opportunity.”

Devin got his own taste of teaching as a community college student involved in a Cabrillo College program similar to Cal Teach. He also developed and taught a course at UC Berkeley through DeCal, a student-run education program.

Now, Devin will contribute to Cal Teach by supporting faculty, facilitating student placements in schools, coordinating scholarship programs, and becoming a resource for information about university processes and systems. He expects his prior experience as a UC Berkeley student to give him a head start with his new responsibilities. Devin also hopes it will provide an advantage for Cal Teach.

“I hope to leverage my own knowledge and the connections I still have on campus to help spread the word about Cal Teach,” he says.

A third addition to the administrative staff is student advisor Mackenzie Lucky, who recently completed a master’s degree in college student counseling and personnel services at San Francisco State University, where she had also been an assistant area coordinator in residential life. Earlier, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Sonoma State University.

“In my undergraduate program, I was studying to become an elementary school teacher, and I come from a family of educators,” Mackenzie says. “Coming to Cal Teach is an opportunity to combine this education piece with what I did in graduate school. I love working with elementary school students, but I thought helping students through college would be even better. I see a lot of myself in the Cal Teach students. In my undergraduate work, I had fantastic mentors who helped me through even the smallest of transitions.”

As a graduate student, Mackenzie learned the importance of establishing personal connections with students and being aware of issues in their lives outside school. She says, “Opening that door shows them that I’m ready to listen. I like to make people feel someone cares.”

Though she put her graduate education to the test in academic and career counseling internships at San Francisco State and Stanford, Mackenzie feels her ability to support students also comes naturally. She explains, “I’m a lighthearted, humorous person who just likes talking to people. I’m an extrovert through and through.”

Working with Mackenzie this year are new peer advisors Michael Boyd, Eric Uribe, and Sandra Muñoz Lule. These Cal Teach students are staffing the Advising and Resource Center (ARC) and sharing their firsthand knowledge of the program with their peers.

For Michael, a senior, becoming a peer advisor is an extension of roles he filled as a high school student in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. He explains, “I was part of a program advising high school students in leadership skills. I also volunteered as a peer tutor in high school and my community college.”

By then, Michael already knew he wanted to become a teacher. After completing an associate’s degree at home, he headed to UC Berkeley to study earth and planetary science. When he discovered Cal Teach, Michael immediately decided to become involved. For advice, he turned to the students serving as peer advisors at that time.

“Sam [Samantha Nguyen] and Rita [Tuan] provided a very thorough explanation of Cal Teach. I became friends with them long before I thought about becoming a peer advisor myself. Since I got the job, I’ve been told that they recommended me highly,” Michael says.

Eric is another Cal Teach senior who sought help from the peer advisors before becoming one. He was a frequent visitor to the ARC and says, “They were great sources of ideas for lesson planning. They’d taught lessons and been in classes with other people who’d done this.”

A chemistry major from Southern California who considers communicating about science his passion, Eric readily offers his insights about Cal Teach, whether he’s in the ARC or a class. He says, “A lot of my peers know I’m a peer advisor, so they ask me questions informally. It’s all about sharing knowledge. You can go to a Web site, but that’s never as good as hearing from someone who’s actually done it.”

Sandra, a junior cognitive science major who also loves math, has dreamed of becoming a teacher since childhood, when she pretended her sisters were her students. In her first year at UC Berkeley, she nonetheless had questions about Cal Teach, leading her to the peer advisors. Now, Sandra says, “I want to give back and help other students like those peer advisors helped me.”

She also wants to give back to Olivehurst, California, the small community 40 miles north of Sacramento where she grew up. Sandra, who hopes to go on for a teaching credential through Cal Teach before returning home to teach math, says, “I attended a disadvantaged school and was the only one in my class to come to Cal. Coming here was always my goal, and Cal Teach has reinforced that I want to become a teacher.”