2016-2017 Faculty of the Month

View the current Faculty of the Month.

Learn more about the Faculty of the Month program.

September 2017 Faculty of the Month

Robin holding the water bottle.Robin Kurotori
PE Faculty
The chair of the Curriculum Committee

Robin joined the Ohlone family in 1981 as an adjunct PE instructor who taught a variety of PE activity classes at a time when community members could take classes for free over and over again. She says this was the best kept secret until Sacramento caught on to it!

She was hired full-time in 2007 to help coordinate the Newark Center Total Health and Wellness Center and the Health and Wellness Program. Robin says she is honored to teach with “an amazing cadre of talented and passionate faculty who support one another and continue to strive for excellence.”

Robin is currently the chair of the Curriculum Committee and says she has experienced first-hand “the truly stellar, hardworking, professional, visionary, and student-focused Ohlone faculty who put their visions into CurricUNET to make Ohlone shine.”

In her free time, Robin loves to swim, hike, and ride her road bike along with spending time with her husband and two dogs.

Ohlone is truly lucky to have such a gifted and talented instructor and leader as Robin!

May 2017 Faculty of the Month

Nabeel next to a river.Nabeel Atique
Faculty
Mathematics

He came to the United States as an international student from Bangladesh in 1989.

He discovered teaching was his true passion after working as a senior product engineer for a Silicon Valley semiconductor company for eight years.

His native language, Bengali, is the sixth most spoken language in the world.

He has visited 52 countries to date and says each experience has taught him something invaluable.

One of his joys is the outdoors.

He is Nabeel Atique, Math Professor and Faculty of the Month for May 2017.

As a former international student, Nabeel understands the kinds of struggles students may be going through, and he is a mentor to an international student every year. He is also supportive of Ohlone’s under-represented students and is part of the A2Pi initiative, teaching elementary algebra to students on that pathway. He believes the first classes students take are invaluable, and if they have a solid foundation, they can reach for the stars!

Nabeel earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Purdue University. When he realized his future lay in teaching, he quit his engineering job at Xilinx, and one of his first teaching assignments as a freeway flyer was as an adjunct at Ohlone in 2005! After that year, he was hired full-time as a math instructor at Antelope Valley College where he was one of the founding members of the Basic Skills Committee and was the coordinator and architect of the In-Class Tutoring Program. He stayed at Antelope Valley for nine years. However, Nabeel was thrilled to return to the Bay Area, which he missed, and joined Ohlone's full-time math faculty in 2015. During his two years at Ohlone, Nabeel has served on SLOAC, College Council, various search committees, and the President's Advisory Committee.

Nabeel loves the diversity of Ohlone students, and he loves the different languages spoken on campus. He grew up in London, Rome, Mumbai, and Dhaka, so he learned the languages spoken in those cities, including Bengali, his native language. He is also passionate about the Spanish language, and he coordinates Chats in Español once a week for faculty and staff to practice their Spanish. With close to 20% of Ohlone's students being of Hispanic heritage, he feels it's important to show appreciation of their culture and language.

Nabeel climbing on white rock.In his spare time, Nabeel likes to travel to learn about different people, places, and cultures. His most indelible experience was in Thailand on December 26, 2004. He was rock climbing by the beach when the tsunami that took 250,000 lives hit. He narrowly escaped, and the experience was a turning point in his life--a reminder to seize the opportunities ahead and to follow his dreams.

Besides traveling, Nabeel loves the outdoors—especially hiking, rock climbing, and cycling. Some of his best adventures have been in the mountains—he once spent 19 days traversing Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas. One of his favorite climbs was Mount Kilimanjaro, and he feels fortunate to have seen the glaciers in the crater because they are close to disappearing. Closer to home (and work), he loves mountain biking up Mission Peak, and he road bikes regularly—he says, "the freedom of the bicycle and the sense of adventure and discovery it brings compare to none."

Finally, Nabeel is a certified yoga instructor, and just as he believes yoga is for everyone, he also believes anyone can be successful in math with the right guidance, perseverance, and a calm attitude!

Please join the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee in celebrating Nabeel Atique. Congratulations, Nabeel--you are an outstanding example of Ohlone's faculty!


April 2017 Faculty of the Month

Nan Zhou teaching.Nan Zhou
Counselor
Deaf Studies Division

He began his Ohlone life in 2005 as an adjunct counselor and became a full-time counselor in 2012. Besides counseling students, he also teaches Personal Development classes for Deaf students. He is Nan Zhou, Ohlone's Faculty of the Month for April 2017.

Nan works closely with Deaf students, who have their own unique language and culture. He says he is inspired by the stories they tell of their educational journeys and career paths. Since Ohlone is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive Deaf programs, many students travel long distances to attend classes. Nan understands the drive these students have and where they are coming from since his Deaf immigrant parents took American Sign Language (ASL) and English classes through the Ohlone Deaf program more than two decades ago.

In his dealings with Deaf students, Nan utilizes student services and community resources such as the Deaf Counseling Advocacy and Referral Agency and Workability III, to help serve these students. He also continues to help foster Ohlone's partnership with the California School for the Deaf as well as other Deaf programs in Bay Area and Sacramento public schools. In addition, he helps students transfer to Gallaudet University, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and California State Universities. And Nan works closely with one of Ohlone's sister colleges--the Japanese ASL Signer Society--and their annually sponsored international students.

Nan Zhou bicycling.Besides his counseling duties, Nan also serves on Faculty Senate, SSSP, and the International Education Committee. Nan says, "I am fortunate to have wonderful Ohlone folks to work with because of their dedication and leadership, so I don't think I could ever leave here."

Outside of Ohlone, Nan is busy. He formerly served as President of the Bay Area Asian Deaf Association (BAADA) and as Vice President of the National Asian Deaf Congress. Currently, he mentors young Asian Deaf leaders, many who are Ohlone alumni, for BAADA. He also is a storyteller for Deaf children at the Oakland Museum's annual Lunar New Year celebration.

Nan and his wife are the proud parents of two deaf children whom they recently adopted from China. He says that he and his wife enjoy their bonding time with their children, especially exposing them to the Bay Area's multicultural diversity. They are also a multi-lingual family, using ASL, Australian Sign Language (Auslan), and Chinese Sign Language (CSL). The last two languages are so the grandparents can communicate with their kids. Nan and his family enjoy traveling and learning about as many different global cultures and heritages as they can. They also spend time connecting with the local Deaf communities by visiting Deaf organizations and Deaf programs and by exchanging information at workshops. When he has the time, Nan's favorite diversion is road cycling. He says cycling connects him to the land and nature and inspires within him inner peace and spiritual joy.

Please help the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee celebrate Nan for being a top-notch counselor, colleague, and involved global citizen. Congratulations, Nan!

March 2017 Faculty of the Month

Heather wearing pink pussy hat holding 'Love Will Win' sign at Washington DC march.Heather McCarty
Faculty
History Department
Political Science Department
Gender and Women's Studies Department

Please join the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee in recognizing our Faculty of the Month for March 2017. She is the one who sends the timely and informative emails about UFO issues when she is not teaching her History classes. You've probably already guessed whom the Faculty of the Month honoree is.

Yes, it's Heather McCarty. In her decade at Ohlone, Heather has served on a wide variety of committees--Tech, Distance Ed, Sustainability, UFO, various Faculty Senate subcommittees, and many search committees. On her selection as March's Faculty of the Month, Heather says that while she is flattered, she thinks "this title belongs to us all. My accomplishments at Ohlone are not solitary achievements but rather collaborative endeavors." She continues, "I am always impressed by the quality of our faculty. I love the people I work with, and it is my pleasure to participate in the community college mission. Our work is so meaningful."

When she is away from Ohlone, Heather spends as much time as she can with her family. She is focused on teaching her daughter about the importance of civic engagement. They will be participating in the Day Without Women this Wednesday, March 8, 2017 and the March for Science on Earth Day. Heather also volunteers in researching swing districts for Swing Left and she is looking forward this summer to working in California's Central Valley and Nevada. She and her daughter will be canvassing both their own local swing district (CA District 10) as well as Nevada's 4th Congressional District with her extended family.

Congratulations, Heather! You are one of Ohlone's best!

February 2017 Faculty of the Month

Jennifer speaking in fgront of co-workers in a classroom.Jennifer Harper
Counselor
Counseling Department

Please join the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee in celebrating Jennifer Harper, Ohlone's Faculty of the Month for February 2017.  Before joining the Counseling Department at Ohlone in 2001, Jennifer worked as an "at risk" youth counselor for a high school.  She became interested in working with youth in the juvenile justice system while she was earning her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice at Sonoma State University.  She turned her interest in working with young people to counseling while earning her Master's degree at San Jose State University.

At Ohlone, Jennifer, besides counseling students, also teaches Personal Development classes.  She is most proud of establishing and coordinating a program to help students who are on probation and developing the first three-unit Personal Development/GE college success class.  She also helped to create online curriculum in order for students to take Personal Development classes online.

Jennifer currently co-chairs the Student Success and Support Program (SSSP) and the Certificated Employee Employer Relations (CEER) committees.  She also serves on the Task Force A (arming campus officers) Work Group, the UFO Executive Committee, the joint Basic Skills/SSSP/Equity Work Group, and the Starfish Early Alert Program.

Outside of Ohlone, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family, doing outdoor activities, and traveling.  She is very close to her extended family--she has around 20 family members within a mile of her house!  She also likes being at the beach, paddle boarding, doing yoga and pilates, and biking.  Her favorite activity though is traveling.  She likes going to tropical locations but doesn't mind the occasional camping/hiking trip to Tahoe or the Redwoods.  She is always on the hunt for new camping and hiking places and vacation destinations!

Jennifer says, "Whether it's teaching, counseling, facilitating workshops/orientations, or collaborating on committees, I am inspired by the students I see every day and the amazing faculty/staff who work to educate them."

Congratulations, Jennifer!  You are an inspiration too!

December 2016 Faculty of the Month

Kathy Sparling
Systems and Technical Services Librarian
Learning Resources Center

The Faculty of the Month for December 2016 used to work for corporate libraries and at a library software firm before coming to Ohlone in 1998. She was hired for a newly created position where she began developing the library’s web presence, initiating off-campus access to library resources such as databases and ebooks, and automating the library’s workflows (she says she witnessed the retirement of the paper card catalog with both sadness and satisfaction). Her job of combining her tech skills with her service to students at the reference desk and in the classroom is perfectly balanced. She also enjoys working with the faculty to integrate library tools and resources into their in-person and online classes.

She has participated on many Ohlone committees (too numerous to mention) as well as serving on over two dozen hiring committees. She says of being on hiring committees that she’s loved helping to bring so many talented and dedicated people to Ohlone. Her most recent committee work includes the Student Equity Workgroup, and she has helped developed the Teaching and Learning Center website and worked on the Student Voices Project.

Her colleague Barbara Duggal says of her, “The high level of professional knowledge and experience that [she] brings to any project is significant and greatly valued by her peers. But it may be her reputation as a colleague we can depend on for open and fair-minded judgment, collegial temperament, sensitivity, tact, and excellent humor that has earned her the respect and affection of the college community.”

She loves her “techie” position as Systems and Technical Services Librarian.

When she is not at Ohlone, she enjoys spending time with her two nearly teenage kids and performing as a singer. She has released two recordings of original songs which can be found on her music website at http://kathysparling.com.

Yes, Kathy Sparling is the Faculty of the Month for December. Please join the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee in recognizing Kathy. She is one awesome colleague, instructor, and librarian!

November 2016 Faculty of the Month

Diane with the Great Wall of China behind her.Janel Tomblin-Brown
Dance Faculty
Theatre and Dance Department

The Faculty of the Month for November 2016 has been at Ohlone since the Smith Center opened, and she first worked as an adjunct instructor at Ohlone while also teaching at Evergreen Valley College and San Jose State University. While first hired to teach tap and jazz dance at Ohlone, she was also working at several Bay Area dance studios. Her adjunct status changed in 2001 when she landed the full-time job of Director of Dance at Ohlone. Since then, she has directed, choreographed, and produced 15 large-scale dance productions and has choreographed several musical theater productions for Summerfest. She loves her job and has wonderful relationships with her former dance students (alumni who still check in with her on a regular basis). Right now, she is busy with her students preparing for the Winter Dance Showcase.

This faculty member goes beyond just being a dance instructor. At Ohlone, she serves on the Faculty Prioritization Committee and the Student Awards Ceremony Committee. She also currently serves as the Chair for the GE Committee and co-chairs the Academic Appeals/Student Conduct Board Committee with Diane Berkland.

And she says she's still happy to be called "kiddo" by her colleagues.

Please join the Faculty Senate and the Professional Development Committee in recognizing Janel Tomblin-Brown as the Faculty of the Month for November. She is an invaluable member of the Theater and Dance Department and Ohlone! Congratulations, Janel!

October 2016 Faculty of the Month

Diane with the Great Wall of China behind her.Diane Berkland
Counselor
Counseling Department

  • She began her career at Ohlone in 2000 and became a full-time counselor in 2001.
  • She was the Transfer Center director.
  • She was the At-Large Representative on the UFO.
  • She served as the Vice President of the Faculty Senate.
  • She is a musician and singer.
  • She is a lifelong Giants fan.

She is Diane Berkland, the Faculty of the Month for October. She is a graduate of Cal Lutheran and San Jose State Universities. Since 2000, besides counseling students, Diane served as the Transfer Center Director for 10 years. In those years, she helped to restructure the Center, including Transfer Day, into what it has become today. She also created and teaches Personal Development 103: Transfer Success in Life, the only course of its kind in California. Diane is most proud of the workbook she created for Ohlone students and is actively exploring publishing options for it. The text, titled Navigating the Transfer Process: A Transfer Workbook, is available through the Transfer Center, used by some of her counseling colleagues, and is, of course, used in PD 103. She is a mentor for adjunct counselors and eagerly participates in all of the welcome activities for new Ohlone students.

Diane serves Ohlone in other capacities besides counselor. She has been a part of the GE Subcommittee, the Matriculation Committee, and the Curriculum Committee at various points of her career. She was also a member of the WSCH/FTEF Task Force and the chair of the Transfer Advisory Team. Besides her leadership roles on the UFO and Faculty Senate, Diane currently serves on the Academic Appeals/Student Conduct Board. But her work doesn't end at Ohlone. She has served at the state level as well. She was the Northern California Chair of the Transfer Center Directors Association for four years along with four years as the Region IV Representative for the TCDA. For the past three years, she has been a member of the Student Services Portal Steering Committee.

Outside of Ohlone, Diane has a very close-knit and local family. She especially loves the time she spends with her partner, Kevin; playtime with her niece, Emma; and the excited welcome-home greetings of her dog, Gracie. She likes to relax with a good glass of wine, a good mystery, and a good read. Diane is a traveler—her bucket list of places to travel to is long although she's already visited Canada, Mexico, Norway, Australia, and China. One of the places she most treasures is New Zealand. Diane calls the six months she spent living in New Zealand special and the main reason behind why she is a rugby and haka (Maori dance) fanatic. One of the ways she likes to relax is going to hear a great band—she grew up playing various musical instruments and played at the Montreux and Den Haag jazz festivals. She also sings in a choir.

Diane is a valued faculty member at Ohlone as well as an all-around citizen of the world. Congratulations, Diane, on your well-deserved honor!