Berkeley Connect

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Cristina Mora
Christina Mora
Faculty Director

Berkeley Connect is a mentoring program open to all students at UC Berkeley—thousands of students enroll each year. Bridge Connect is a specially designed version of Berkeley Connect for Summer Bridge participants.

Through Bridge Connect you will be matched with a graduate student who will be your personal mentor for the summer. You will also be placed in a small group of your peers that will meet weekly for discussions facilitated by your mentor. Through one-on-one and group mentoring, you will start to build your intellectual community and support network at UC Berkeley.

The Berkeley Connect motto is “you belong here.” Students tell us that Berkeley Connect mentoring helps them connect with other students and with professors; increases their awareness of resources available to them on campus; and boosts their sense of confidence and belonging at UC Berkeley.

Learning in community is more fulfilling and effective than learning alone. We can’t wait to Connect with you!

Program Description

At the heart of Bridge Connect is the relationship between you and your mentor. The Bridge Connect mentors are advanced graduate students, or recent PhDs, who are chosen both for their demonstrated commitment to undergraduates and for their scholarly achievement. They are dedicated to providing the kind of close-knit community and one-on-one attention that can be hard to find at a large university.

You will meet one-on-one with your mentor at least twice, once near the beginning of the session and once near the end. At these meetings you will be able to talk with your mentor about your goals and aspirations, your questions and concerns—anything you want related to your academic life.

Your mentor will also hold open mentoring hours every week, giving you additional opportunities to check in and make the most of his/her support and expertise throughout the session.

Your small group will meet every week for an hour-long discussion session facilitated by your mentor. Discussions will focus on exploring the research university environment and how you will chart your own path through it—how you will identify and connect with the people, places, and programs that can help you achieve your academic goals. The small group discussions are designed to build connections among students, so that each group becomes a supportive community.

Bridge Connect carries one unit of academic credit, and is offered Pass/Not Pass. In order to pass, you simply need to attend, participate, and complete the required surveys. Bridge Connect will not add to your study load or stress load. Bridge Connect will offer you opportunities for reflection, exploration, and connection as you begin your journey through UC Berkeley.

Faculty

Cristina MoraChristina Mora is an Associate Professor of Sociology and faculty director of Berkeley Connect in Sociology.

  • Where did you spend your childhood?  Los Angeles, California
  • Where did you go to college? What was your major?  BA, UC Berkeley, PhD, Princeton; Sociology.
  • How would you describe your research in a sentence or two? I do research on racial and immigration politics in the US and Europe. My current book project examines these issues across three major California regions: LA County, the Bay Area, and the Central Valley.

Meet Your Mentor

Brita BookserBrita Bookser is a PhD candidate in Social Welfare.

Where did you grow up?

San Diego, CA

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I completed my undergraduate education at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA, where I earned my BS in Psychology, with a concentration in Counseling & Family Psychology. I completed my MA in Infant Mental Health at Mills College in Oakland, CA.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My mixed-method research agenda draws from critical theories and womanist methods of social transformation to study discipline and punishment in schools, particularly preschools.


Alex CatchingsAlex Catchings, English.

  • Where did you spend your childhood?  Reno, Nevada and Vancouver, Washington.
  • Where did you go to college? What was your major?  University of Washington; English.
  • How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?  My research explores how the act of both reading and writing novels has changed with the rise of the Internet. I make a case for the importance of the novel’s “stable” narrator function, exploring how the act of trust in language has changed when so much of the text we see comes from unknown narrators in an Internet with no beginning, middle, or end.

Cheng-Chai ChiangCheng-Chai Chiang is a PhD candidate in English.

Where did you grow up?

Singapore

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Williams College. I majored in English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

I research how contemporary theatre and activism grapple with a British colonial legacy–the criminalization of homosexuality–in postwar Britain, Singapore, and Hong Kong.


Adele PadgettAdele Padgett is a PhD candidate in Math.

Where did you grow up?

Lincolnshire, IL

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

I went to the University of Chicago and majored in math.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

Right now, I am working to prove certain properties of a very fast growing function.


Daniel Roddy recently received a PhD in History from UC Berkeley.

Where did you grow up?

West Covina.

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

UCLA, History.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

I am an early modern European historian who specializes in diplomacy, dynastic politics, gender, and political culture in the Spanish Empire during the 16th and 17th centuries.


Jasmine SandersJasmine Sanders is a PhD candidate in Sociology.

Where did you grow up?

Mobile, Alabama

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Spelman College in Atlanta, GA; I was an English major.

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

My overarching research interests are organizations, culture, and inequality. My current research explores the decline in NCAA Division I athletes who identify as first-generation college students and uses an organizational lens to understand the role of culture, access and privilege.


Alec StewartAlec Stewart, Architecture.

  • Where did you spend your childhood?  I lived an itinerant childhood, with my early years spent in Los Angeles, Irvine, Riverside, and Burlingame. When I was 12, my family moved to Boise, Idaho, where I lived until I moved back to California for college.
  • Where did you go to college? What was your major?  UC Berkeley! Geography major, City Planning minor.
  • How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?  I am a suburban and built environment historian interested in how people change urban landscapes–particularly “dead malls” and other kinds of retail buildings–through ad hoc modifications and everyday use. My dissertation on Los Angeles’s “indoor swap meets” discusses immigrant entrepreneurship, the origins of West Coast hip hop, and the rich public life that occurs within these market bazaars.

Sonia Cristina Hart SuarezSonia Cristina Hart Suarez is a PhD candidate in Ethnic Studies.

Where did you grow up?

Cicero, Illinois

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Northwestern University, Bachelor of Science, Human Development and Psychological Services

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

I study the limits of current research methods in race-based biomedicine, especially focusing on “cultural concepts of distress,” and I use Afro/Indigenous, decolonial, and feminist thought to create new methods for the study of racial and gender inequities in health. From the Chicanx perspective, I recommend that instead of focusing on pathologizing concepts like “brujería” (witchcraft) or “nervios” (nerves), biomedicine should value and nurture gut knowing and ‘panza awareness,’ which is embodied and ancestral knowledge of the connections between mind, body, and spirit.


Isabel Garcia ValdiviaIsabel Garcia Valdivia is a PhD candidate in Sociology.

Where did you grow up?

Joliet, IL

Where did you go to college and what was your major?

Pomona College (Claremont, CA), Chicanx Latinx Studies and Sociology

How would you describe your research in a sentence or two?

I study how older Mexican-origin adults come to understand their immigration status and its effects on their daily lives (social, economic, emotional) and how they experience shifts as they move from middle adulthood to late adulthood.


Semester Plan

Bridge Connect Summer 2019 **DRAFT** Schedule

Details subject to change

WEEK 1 (week of July 8) Beginning the journey of discovery

  • Small-group discussion: What is mentoring and how can we seek mentors throughout our time at Cal?
  • Start-of-semester survey
  • Online reflection exercise

WEEK 2 (week of July 15) Taking advantage of opportunities at the research university

  • Small-group discussion: What makes a research university special and how can we best navigate the opportunities at Cal?
  • Online reflection exercise
  • One-on-one meetings with mentors
  • Field trip option #1: Berkeley Art Museum

WEEK 3 (week of July 22) Addressing challenges at the research university

  • Small-group discussion: What are common challenges encountered at a research university and how can we address them?
  • Online reflection exercise
  • Open mentoring hours

WEEK 4 (week of July 29) Getting to know the faculty and their stories

  • Small-group discussion: What are the best ways to get support from professors during our time at Cal?
  • Faculty guest speakers
  • Field trip option #2: Natural history museums
  • Online reflection exercise
  • Open mentoring hours

WEEK 5 (week of Aug 5) Creating your own discovery experience at Cal

  • Small-group discussion: What are opportunities to tailor our time at Cal through research, community engagement, entrepreneurship, or creative work?
  • Field trip option #3: Bancroft Library
  • Online reflection exercise
  • Open mentoring hours

WEEK 6 (week of Aug 12) Setting your goals and intentions

  • Small-group discussion: What are our goals and aspirations for the next leg of the journey at Cal?
  • One-on-one meetings with mentors
  • Online reflection exercise
  • Exit survey

Schedule

All Summer Bridge participants will be enrolled in a section of Bridge Connect. Weekly meetings will be held on Wednesdays at 5pm and 6pm. You will be informed of the time and location of your section.

How to Sign Up

Bridge Connect in a core component of the Summer Bridge curriculum; all participants will automatically have Bridge Connect added to their summer course schedule. No additional step is needed to sign up.

If you would like to continue with Berkeley Connect during the academic year, you can enroll in Berkeley Connect (98BC) for the Fall or Spring during the regular course selection process. Berkeley Connect is offered through 14 different academic departments and is open to all students regardless of declared or intended major.

Contact Us

If you have additional questions about Bridge Connect, please contact:

Please see our FAQs.  If you have additional questions about Bridge Connect, please contact: G. Cristina Mora, Faculty Director, cmora@berkeley.edu.

Michele Rabkin, Associate Director, micheler@berkeley.edu, (510)664-4182