Dear Berkeley Connectors:
When I became a professor at UC Berkeley in 2012, I felt excited, nervous, and more than a little disoriented. There were so many people, so many opportunities, and so many expectations. I had to figure out how I fit into this complex ecosystem, navigate new academic norms, and learn to express vulnerability even in a professional setting.
That’s why I was so excited to get involved in leading Berkeley Connect in my home department (Environmental Science, Policy, and Management). The Berkeley Connect message of belonging and authentic connection was a relief. Here was someplace where I could be myself and where I could support others on their own journey.
I now serve as the Faculty Director of the campus-wide Berkeley Connect program, which operates out of fifteen departments and serves thousands of students a year. You have probably already heard from the Berkeley Connect Faculty Director in the department you enrolled through, and from the graduate student who will be your personal mentor for the semester. I want to join them in saying: Welcome to the Berkeley Connect community! Each one of you has a role to play in helping us build a community of support and belonging.
I have always found that when entering a new phase of life, I need time, trust, and support. This is especially true now, when we are learning new ways to connect and support each other through challenging times. I hope your Berkeley Connect experience fosters for you what it continues to offer me, a space that delivers the loud and clear message: “you belong here.” I’ll be reaching out again soon with some more thoughts on how we intentionally cultivate a sense of belonging for all students in Berkeley Connect.
Thank you for joining our program – we are so lucky to have you at UC Berkeley and in Berkeley Connect!
Director, Berkeley Connect
Associate Professor, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management