Author Archives: Diana Osaulenko

Inside Nova Ukraine’s United Victory Event: Ukrainian Culture, Achievements and $83 million in Aid

On December 3rd, Nova Ukraine hosted its much-anticipated United Victory Event.

This celebration of remarkable achievements and the strength of the community’s commitment to supporting Ukraine marked a significant moment for the organization, reflecting on its journey and highlighting key accomplishments over the past two years.

Nova Ukraine is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about Ukraine in the US and throughout the world and providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine. This celebration of remarkable achievements and the strength of the community's commitment to supporting Ukraine marked a significant moment for the organization, reflecting on its journey and highlighting key accomplishments over the past two years.

In a moment of unity and resilience, participants gather at the ‘United for Victory’ event of Nova Ukraine, symbolizing the strength of a community bound together by hope, determination, and the shared pursuit of a brighter future

Nova Ukraine is a registered non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about Ukraine in the US and throughout the world and providing humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

The event welcomed guests to join for a memorable black-tie evening at the historic Green Room at 401 Van Ness Ave in San Francisco. All the guests live music, local artists and artisans, a delicious buffet, and a welcoming community.

At the heart of the celebration the director and a board member of Nova Ukraine Rodion Yaryy announced that the organization had successfully raised over $83 million during the last 2 years, a substantial increase from previous years. This financial support has played a crucial role in assisting more than 4.5 million people across various critical sectors in Ukraine.

“It’s fascinating how far we have come since the beginning of Nova Ukraine now collecting this large amount of money and being able to also report it. So it’s a great achievement for all of us. We also received two different awards from the president signifying how important our work is to help Ukraine. We recently received a number of awards within Ukraine, a lot of them being for our medical initiatives,” – explained Rodion Yaryy, director and a board member of Nova Ukraine. 

All the members of Nova Ukraine expressed gratitude to the audience for their continued support over these years, highlighting their contributions to Ukrainian education, humanitarian aid, evacuation efforts, and providing basic needs to Ukrainians. 

“I’m very grateful for your support. You have been with us for many years. You have embraced our priorities of investing in Ukrainian education, humanitarian aid for Ukraine, evacuating people from Ukraine, providing life basic needs to Ukrainians. All of this stuff we do is with your support and with close communication and feedback from all of you. And again, thank you to all of you and thank you for being with us today,” – shared Nick Bilogorskiy, Director and Co-Chairman of Nova Ukraine.

The organization has actively supported Ukrainian manufacturing and pharmaceutical companies, providing essential supplies such as surgical tables and clothing to different regions in Ukraine.

“If it’s springtime, we know that we might need to give seeds to the farmers to grow food, and if it’s winter time, we have to buy generators and worming supplies and we obviously need to continue to provide medical supplies with hospitals and first aid. So I think that’s what makes us good. That’s what people trust us, and yeah, I’m excited to continue the same work next year. I know that with the funds that we raise, we can really make a difference with our medical projects, with our refugee projects, with our humanitarian initiatives,” – shared Rodion Yaryy, director and a board member of Nova Ukraine. 

The event proved the resilience of the Nova Ukraine community, emphasizing its adaptability and strategic responses to the challenges faced in Ukraine. 

“I’m sure that we will win because Russia is the greatest evil of the day. We have a genocidal where in Ukraine we had the genocide in terms of now we have the genocidal war in Ukraine because the third part of territory is totally destroyed in Ukraine. Russia should be denuclearized and weaponized, and it should be isolated for a century in order just to have some time to realize what they’re doing wrong. They have no right to invade any countries, and they don’t have any chance to raise the green from the political map of the world because we have restored our territorial integrity like we have with our independence in 1991, and we’ll do, we’ll survive in this, I stay optimistic,” – shared his opinion one of the guests Volodymyr Goshylyk.

The key factor is the unity of people and the bridge between Americans and Ukrainians that Nova Ukraine has successfully built throughout the years. 

Joyous moments captured at the Nova Ukraine Holiday Party, where laughter echoes through the festive air and the spirit of togetherness fills the room. Glittering decorations, cheerful smiles, and a vibrant atmosphere mark this celebration as a testament to the strength of community and the warmth of shared festivities.

“Well, Nova Ukraine is a fantastic organization, works in the Bay Area, raised millions of dollars founded on awareness of Ukraine, and they’re heavily involved and active in supporting numerous causes. They partner with different organizations within the country of Ukraine to distribute donations and fundings to help humanitarian and all kinds of different outreaches. It’s almost the second year of war and with so much distraction going on in the world, we need to keep a focus on Ukraine and their struggle against invasion and essentially genocide by Russia. And they’re fighting for their lives and for democracy and for freedom, and it’s a fight that we must share with them in support,” – shared George Wesely, American with Ukrainian origin.

As Nova Ukraine approaches its 10th anniversary, the event became an opportunity to look back on the organization’s journey and express excitement about future endeavors.

“I think the primary reason for this event is to make sure that we thank our volunteers, our donors, our partners, people that have been with us throughout the last two years of Freescale War and the previous eight of 2014, and post-Revolution of Dignity. We’ve been with these people for a while, so for us it was a way to say thank you to the community, but also to get people to enjoy Ukrainian music, eat nice food, have Ukrainian artists here and vendors that you can purchase. Very cool items made by them. Yeah. This is our annual event. We are definitely going to have it next year. Next year is going to be probably the biggest one,’ –  

An enchanting tableau of Ukrainian decorations, each piece a testament to rich cultural heritage and artistic craftsmanship. The room comes alive with the warmth of embroidered textiles, wheat sheaves, and symbolic geometric patterns, creating a visual feast that not only celebrates the holiday season but also pays homage to the enduring beauty of Ukrainian heritage

The United Victory Event showed how the community came together with strength, unity, and hope during tough times to get Ukraine closer to the Victory.

Chabot College Hosted Successful Seminar on Networking and Career Development

On October 19 Chabot College  organized a highly successful seminar focused on networking and career development. The event was held in collaboration with a networking organization for accounting and financial professionals Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), emphasizing the importance of networking for career growth and professional development.

“Their goal is to catch students early in the academic pursuits so that they can “groom” them for ultimate job placement in prestigious accounting firms. They were networking, themselves, in hopes of attracting some new members. It worked, too, because a number of attendees said they planned to join the group,” – explained Lynn Klein, Prof. in the Business department of Chabot College and organizer of AFWA event.

The seminar featured key speakers and organizers, including Yelena Melero, Alyssa Bonfilio, and Carolyn Sweeney, who shared their insights and experiences in the field of finance and accounting. The active participation of AFWA members and Chabot students contributed to the enriching and dynamic atmosphere of the event.

“What is a network? It’s creating relationships with people and meeting people that you don’t even know. Coming from Covid, you went from not even wanting to touch someone’s hand or not even wanting to be in person with people,” – declared Yelena Melero, SF Finance Analyst.

The expert says networking is not only learning from others. It is about advertising yourself, and starting to build a personal brand for yourself. The goal of this event is to surround  yourself with like-minded individuals, and also have someone that you can look up to, someone who’s done it before, someone who can give you advice. These are just a few reasons why we need networks. 

During the seminar, various interactive activities were conducted, including a word cloud exercise and a comprehensive worksheet activity, providing engaging discussions on effective networking practices. All the guests were encouraged to dive deeper into the networking strategies and their practical application in real-world life.

“I got to talk with a couple people, so that was cool. Just a quick little networking tip, which I would like to try and do in my own network. But whenever you go work in a coffee shop for work or schoolwork, go to the gym, attend a social event with a friend. You should try to challenge yourself to start a conversation with a stranger every time in this room,” – shared Alyssa Bonfiglio, VP of AFWA with students.

The seminar created an accessible and inclusive environment for students and professionals to engage in meaningful discussions about networking and career advancement. The success of the event was evident through the positive feedback and expressed intentions of the guests to become members of AFWA. 

“The idea to provide value to the students today was just to introduce them to the idea of strategically networking and being thoughtful about what their goals are and who they need to meet to be able to help them reach those goals,” – said Carolyn Sweeney, Managing Director at Century Group.

The primary objective of the seminar was to highlight the significance of networking in career development and to provide valuable insights into building strong professional connections. The collaboration between Chabot College and AFWA aimed to improve students’ networking skills and facilitate opportunities for mentorship and internships in prestigious accounting firms.

‘’Networking is such an important skill to have to make connections with people that could possibly know about job opportunities, to get input and feedback on job search strategies, including interviews, and to basically help students achieve their career goals,’’ – added Lynn Klein.

Navigating the Job Market by Experienced HR Professional at Chabot College

In a recent resume workshop, held on October 10 at room 146 at Learning Connection Room, students of Chabot College gained valuable insights into optimizing their resumes and handling the complexities of the job market. The event was organized by instructional assistant Patrick Wwamba featuring a skilled Head of HR with eight years of expertise Jaki Rangel. The main goal was to talk about how to get out into the working world, where you can apply, what you can expect, what those steps might be.

Through Learning Connection Center Chabot students learned how to create a standout resume that will impress employers and land them the job of their dreams. The expert Jaki Rangel guided students through the process and provided personalized feedback to help to craft a winning resume.
Learning Connection Center hold a resume workshop for students to gain the skills and knowledge they need to create a compelling resume.

“It’s part of, we’re just trying to get students ready and I think the first year of college can be really daunting and especially the reality is a lot of our students need to have to work, have to look for work, whether it’s like on campus and outside of campus and as well don’t necessarily have the skills to or know even how to make a resume. So these are part of a series of different resources or skills that we would like our students to get familiar with because that’s kind of what the world expects them to know as well. Patrick Mwamba,  instructional assistant, Collaborative Space.

The speaker Jaki Rangel, known for her comprehensive understanding of human resource operations, offered guidance on creating resumes tailored to specific roles using networking platforms like LinkedIn.

“When I’m looking at resumes and I’m hiring for roles, that’s what I’m looking at as the first line on the hiring process. I’m looking at the humanity of people more than I’m looking at the specifics of the role because I don’t know what an analysis does. I don’t look at that. But I’m going to focus on why you want to work with us. What do you think you can bring to the organization why you’re looking to fill this role for our company?’ – highlighted HR expert.

The importance of adjusting resumes to match job descriptions using relevant keywords was emphasized by the speaker. She explained how to capture the attention of recruiters during the initial review process by specific tricks.

“If you increased sales a lot, that’s great. I’m happy for you, but I need facts and figures. Was it 10 x? Was it a 30% increase? Did you see your team grow by 50%? Those are hard facts and figures that in a 32nd scan of a single page, when that’s all I get to know about you, that I’m able to see whether or not it’s worthwhile to make the next step, which is typically a phone interview,” – explained Jaki.

HR expert also discouraged the inclusion of extra information, reminding guests to maintain a focused resume. One of the essential elements of a successful resume is the format itself. The speaker recommended sending resumes as PDFs rather than Word documents to ensure the preservation of formatting during the review process.

Chabot students transformed their resume with the recent resume workshop at the college.The experts provided valuable insight and tips to help student create standout resumes that will impress potential employers.
Chabot College staff offered great tips and advice to help to create an outstanding resume

Furthermore, the speaker reminded the significance of thorough LinkedIn profiles, highlighting the impact of a clear online presence on potential employers. Professionalism and integrity during the application process are the big rocks according to Jaki.

‘’So my recommendation from scratch would be to find a template. So to go on to Canva, to go on to LinkedIn, to go on to ZipRecruiter, to look at other resumes and to use a template and plug in the information you have available to you ’’ – Jaki

Overall, the workshop encouraged guests to take proactive steps in their career search and requirements of potential employers. As the session came to a close, participants left equipped with confidence in navigating the job market.

‘’I did appreciate the tips in terms of letting us know what to not only put on a resume, but what to emphasize, what to remove and what not to focus on. The page constraint is a huge help. Letting us know insight into what the interviewer or reviewer is going through when they’re reviewing your application was a great help to know what we should embellish on a resume so that we get through at least the first few steps of the interview process. ’’ – Marlene Rolindoro.

The session concluded with a strong power of networking and using available resources. All Chabot members are encouraged to connect with professionals in their desired fields and seek mentorship and guidance from Jaki to boost their understanding of the job market and create a powerful resume. 

You can reach Jaki via email [email protected]

From Grape to Glass: Campus Hill Winery Uncorks a Story of Education and Passion

In the heart of Las Positas College lies a hidden gem – the Campus Hill Winery. It is a stunning teaching Winery, a place where the art of winemaking meets education. Here, the students master the craft of viticulture and winery technology, transforming the grapes from the 4-acre Campus Hill Vineyard into exquisite student-made wines. 

Immerse yourself in the picturesque vineyards of Livermore Campus Hill Winery, where the intersection of education and viticulture takes center stage. In this captivating image, students from the winery program diligently tend to rows of grapevines, their hands carefully cultivating the fruits of their labor. Against a backdrop of rolling hills and sun-drenched vines, the synergy of academia and winemaking unfolds.

“Livermore Valley has a very deep history of winemaking. And the college should show that commitment to the local industry to have a wine program to teach about winemaking and wine growing, sensory analysis, tasting and basic mind appreciation,” – shares David Everett, Chief Winemaker at the Las Positas College.

The college has a wine program that was started 16 years ago by Dean Neil Eli to support the local wine industry in Livermore Valley. The program is hands-on, allowing students to interact with the equipment and process of winemaking from vineyard to bottling. Graduates have found success in various roles within the local wine industry. The program can be completed in about two and a half years for a degree and two years for a certificate. The college practices sustainable methods in their vineyard and winery, using minimal pesticides and sulfites.

The atmosphere is alive with the rhythmic hum of machinery, the heady scent of fermenting grapes, and the shared camaraderie of students collaborating on each stage of production. Wooden barrels, neatly arranged in the background, patiently await the next chapter of the winemaking journey.

“It’s very interactive. And I think that’s the strongest component of the program. And it’s what the students really appreciate because they’re doing things here in our on-campus winery site that you just can’t do in a public winery,” added David Everett.

Students, in both theory and practice, delve into the intricacies of vineyard operations, including canopy management, pest control, and harvest. The Open Bottle event turned out to be an open-door tour for diving deep into behind-the-scenes winemaking for the Chabot student journalists. We traced the journey of the wine from grape to bottle, following all the stages of its production, ending up with bottling, corking, and labeling. Also, we were given a unique chance to have a sophisticated wine tasting. David Everett uncorked a special bottle of wine himself.

“The wine being sampled is the 2022 Campus Hill Winery Albarino, grown at the Campus Hill Vineyard at Las Positas College. The wine was just bottled and filtered. So you have to keep in mind that this wine was just filtered, too. And it needs a month to relax and bottle to really show its full potential,” – explained David.

As the bottles stand ready to embark on their journey into the world, this photograph captures not just the technical prowess of the bottling process but also the soulful dedication that transforms Campus Hill Winery into a sanctuary of wine artistry

The revenue generated from sales supports the Viticulture and Winery Technology program.

“I joined the program because I wanted to learn how to make wine after an unsuccessful attempt with my backyard vineyard. Here, we’ve harvested and tested the grapes. You saw the little operation here. We were bottling today. So I mean, it’s a real learning experience. I’m learning a lot here,” – shares her experience with Jill Scarlet, one of the students of the program.

“If you don’t have sterile equipment, wine turns bad. And then, as you saw here today, helping with bottling and kind of overseeing the students and making sure that they’re being safe and kind of guiding them along the way if they have questions,” – emphasized Damian Bramlett, a part-time lab technician for the Viticulture and Enology program at Las Positas. 

Damian’s role involves supporting the program and instructors, maintaining the lab, and assisting students:

“It could be one day I’m up in the vineyard, rolling up netting, the bird netting after we’ve harvested. I could be up there harvesting. I could be mowing weeds or running the tractor the next day. I could be down here in the fermentation room, cleaning equipment, managing supplies and stocks that we need. Glass bottles or cleaning supplies that we use because a lot of the job is cleaning, so it’s making sure things are sterile,” – Damian described his work and passion for winemaking.

This image encapsulates the essence of the Livermore Campus Hill Winery student experience—a harmonious blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on expertise, where passion and precision converge to create wines that embody the dedication and artistry of the next generation of winemakers.

Whether you’re a prospective student or a wine enthusiast, the winery offers an open invitation to explore, taste, and appreciate the artistry and dedication that go into each bottle. If you want to purchase an award-winning wine, stop by on campus every first Thursday of the month from 12-5 p.m. at Las Positas College, at room 806, building 800.

Matthew Perry, Beloved “Friends” Star, Passes Away at 54

Matthew Perry, renowned for his iconic portrayal of Chandler Bing in the beloved sitcom “Friends,” was discovered unresponsive in his hot tub at his Pacific Palisades home on October 28 at 4:17 p.m. The actor, aged 54, is believed to have died suddenly in an apparent drowning.

Perry, recognized for his iconic role as Chandler Bing on the hit television series “Friends,” is captured in a moment of effortless cool. With a trademark wit and a charismatic smile, he projects an aura of both familiarity and star power.

Perry’s assistant, who had been sent on an errand just hours before, found him lifeless. Law enforcement sources reported the incident, emphasizing the apparent nature of the tragedy.

Born on August 19, 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts, Perry began his journey in acting at a young age. His breakthrough came in the ’90s with “Friends,” where his comedic brilliance earned him critical acclaim and a lasting place in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Beyond “Friends,” Perry’s career spanned television and film, showcasing his versatile acting skills in projects like “The West Wing” and “The Whole Nine Yards.”

Despite professional success, Perry faced personal challenges, battling addiction throughout his life. In a candid revelation prior to his death, he shared details of his struggles, disclosing a history of substance abuse that led to severe health issues.

Jennifer Aniston, Perry’s former co-star, honored his memory by encouraging fans to support the Matthew Perry Foundation. The foundation, shaped by Perry’s commitment to aiding those grappling with addiction, aims to make a difference guided by his experiences.

In an emotional tribute on her Instagram story, Aniston celebrated Perry’s ability to make people laugh and emphasized the foundation’s mission to help those facing addiction.

“He made all of us laugh. And laugh hard. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been poring over our texts to one another. Laughing and crying then laughing again. I’ll keep them forever and ever. I found one text that he sent me out of nowhere one day. It says it all,” – shared Jennifer Aniston.

The organization’s mission statement says: “It will honor his legacy and be guided by his own words and experiences and driven by his passion for making a difference in as many lives as possible.”

The actor’s family released a statement expressing their heartbreak and appreciation for the outpouring of love from fans. Perry’s desire to be remembered for helping others is reflected in a quote featured on the foundation’s website: “When I die, I don’t want ‘Friends’ to be the first thing that’s mentioned — I want helping others to be the first thing that’s mentioned. Addiction is far too powerful for anyone to defeat alone. But together, one day at a time, we can beat it down.”

Transfer Day Celebrates Student Success and Support at Chabot College

Students check out the Transfer Day to learn about potential Universities and programs.
Students line up near the building 700 at Chabot College for the Transfer Day. Staff Photographer/Diana Osaulenko

On October 12 the recent Transfer Day event at Chabot College, located outside of the building 700, drew attention to the crucial role of programs like CalWORKs and Fresh Success guiding students through their academic journeys. 

The Transfer Day event at Chabot College featured representatives from a variety of universities, including over 10 CSUs, several UCs, and approximately 20 nonprofit private colleges throughout California. 

The second Thursday of October representatives from various Universities come and are happy to work with students answering the questions about the transfer process.

The diverse variety of institutions showed students a big range of options and information to explore to make informed decisions about their transfer paths. Students need to know they must meet certain requirements according to official representatives from CalState University.

“You must have 60 semester transferable units. You must have the, what we call the golden four; speech, English writing, critical thinking, and college level math. Plus a minimum of a 2.0 GPA. And you’re in!” – explained Carmen, the admission representative  from Cal State University East Bay.

The Transfer Center staff encouraged people to stay on that right path and were willing to do anything that would help students. They fully explained from the beginning to the end the whole process of transfer. 

‘’I would say probably the staff was very helpful. They were showing me on the computer as well, how to manage the website and how to get more information, but they were really kind as well, wishing me luck ‘’, shared a Chabot College student  Esperanza Govea.

Derrica Williams, a Chabot College student, commended the invaluable support she received from these programs. Through the guidance of her counselor Elsa and the resources provided by CalWORKs, she successfully navigated the difficult process of transferring to Cal State East Bay.

Students had a great opportunity to connect with University representatives and ask any questions regarding the education.
More than 20 Universities and programs were presented for Chabot College students. Staff Photographer/Diana Osaulenko

“Chabot has helped me in so many ways. I’m in the CalWorks program. If any students want to come to Chabot, I’ll recommend them to go to the 700 building upstairs to CalWORKs and Fresh Success Program. They have great counselors. They’re going to put you in the right classes that you need to get your degree to transfer so you can be able to go to a university,” – emphasized Derrica Williams, a Chabot College student.

The CalWORKs and Fresh Success programs, located in the 700 building, are here to provide assistance in choosing appropriate courses for students’ chosen fields. Furthermore, they supported a seamless transfer process for students who seek the transition from community college to universities.

‘’Part of my job is to work with the universities in bringing programming or maybe advocating for them to modify some of their policies to make transfers smoother and easier for our students. Another part of my role is working with my team, our team of a few counselors, a few counseling assistants, student employees, to put on events like today’s event, the transfer day fair, and just to be present when students need to talk to somebody from the Transfer Center or maybe make connections with the universities. ‘’ explained the lead counselor of the Transfer Center Frances Fon.

Transfer Day is an excellent opportunity for students to gather information about campus life, financial aid, classes and much more.
Students explore their options for transfering to the Universities and finding the right fit for their academic goals. Staff Photographer/Diana Osaulenko

The event plays a significant role in supporting students at every stage of their transfer journey, from exploration to application, decision-making, and successful transition.The Transfer Day event at Chabot College, held annually, provides a platform for students. It serves as a hub, offering guidance on various aspects such as understanding different schools and programs, housing options, and financial aid. 

International Dress and Piraguas Day at Chabot College

Uniting Cultures: International Dress and Piraguas Day at Chabot College

On October 5, Cesar Chavez Courtyard hosted International Dress and Piraguas Day, organized by El Centro. The idea behind this event was to bring people of all Hispanic culture celebrating Hispanic heritage, uniting everybody together to be able to celebrate their legacy.

Moreover, to show a diversity of culture to people  that attend and work at Chabot College.

A lot of students do know about Centro, but I think not everybody’s aware of the work that we do, or they think we only support certain specific groups of students. And so I think it’s just also an opportunity for us for students to connect with us even more. ’’, explained Angela Munoz- specialist for El Centro. 

Networking among students  is one of the reasons for them to come on campus at this event. El Centro also encourages other staff and faculty to have an opportunity for them to socialize amongst themselves and with students. 

The President of Chabot College welcomed all the guests and higlighted the importance of celebrating this day: ‘’ Network with one another to make sure that you’re here to truly celebrate not only yourself, but also the heritage and culture of other folks as well. I think that that’s very, very important. And although this is only one hour today, we definitely encourage you to celebrate all the time all year around.’’

Event was not only rich for networking, but also for tasty traditional Puerto Rican food. ‘’ I really do love this. I feel like there’s a great way to represent our Hispanic heritage. Whenever you see these stands, you see chips, you see shaved ice cream, you always see the Hispanic behind it, said Kevin Madina, one of the Chabot students. 

Indeed, Hispanic heritage was represented by the great variety of traditions, for example, a competition for best dress. This idea made it even bigger than just Hispanic Latinx culture. 

‘’So this is just a way to not only celebrate Latinos, but to honor them. And Chabot College is a College where more than 25% of the students are Latino. So really having this type of representation and events really brings our people together so we can not only connect with our culture, but to connect with each other. We all, there’s so many Latinos from all these different countries, so really coming together is a really important thing. ‘’, Claudia Silva, a student assistant at Chabot. 

All the guests were involved in dancing, eating, and having fun. This could only be possible because of the Dj who was providing an electrifying atmosphere. 

We’re in California, especially here in the Bay Area, we don’t really have, from my knowledge, we don’t really have a large Puerto Rican population. And so trying to find someone that’s actually Puerto Rican that makes Piragua basically impossible. And so we have to kind of step away from that and just make it shaved ice, but call it Piragua’’,  highlited Angela Munoz.

This event truly expressed an appreciation for the representation of Hispanic culture by the food stands and other traditions. Many of the students found the support from El Centro and students had meaningful and engaging time. Attandents learned about the importance of celebrating heritage and school spirit from this event, something they say they had not experienced before..

The Extraordinary Journey of Titawny Cook

“I always wanted to come to Ukraine, it’s been a goal of mine to come to this country in this time of war,” — these heartbreaking words marked my first time I met Titawny Cook. He is a proud Chabot graduate who is in Ukraine now covering the latest news about the war for the Chabot Spectator.

Titawny’s background is solid: he served in the United States Marines doing combat logistics and security forces operating as a Cpl of the Guard and fireteam leader in Iraq. We met on Chabot College campus when Titawny was looking for any Ukrainians out there. It was a nice meeting if not considering the context of war in my native country Ukraine. 

At college Titawny had leadership positions starting with Speech and Debate, which laid the groundwork for pretty much everything. Public speaking, confidence, political analysis, and competitive debate over domestic and international policies made Titawny a great journalist. ‘’I had a radio show that I hosted with other students for a good number of years, and this gave me good training for public interviews’’, said Titawny Cook.

This experience made a strong foundation for Titawny to decide to relocate to Ukraine to help Ukrainian Armed Forces. He also wrote for the college newspaper at this time, and he enjoyed this educational training. So much so that he eventually came around full circle to do this again.

Being a journalist and adventure seeker he embarked on a great volunteering mission: to find military work or news agency work in Ukraine, starting in Kyiv. Titawny says, there are many options to accomplish this goal, but there is an express need for fighters and infantry positions. 

Being actively involved in life in Ukraine, Titawny continues sharing his firsthand experience from the heart of Ukraine — its capital Kyiv — with all the Chabot Spectator readers. 

“It took time to get acquainted with the idea of leaving home for a long duration where I would have no friends and no support, or so I believed. Riding an overnight train with two very large suitcases, one of them carrying body armor. It was Ukraine that I was worried about because traveling with body armor could be perceived as a threat by military security forces. It was indeed, and I was questioned about why I had such a heavy suitcase.”

Titawny Cook shared with The Spectator his feelings about living in Ukraine. He said he actually loves Ukraine and especially Kyiv, and he is very proud to be there and so far has made very solid connections, including very strong friendships, in a very short time period. 

‘’I have done very well here, and I plan to stay for a good period of time and contribute to the fabric and rebuilding of this country. I have experienced nothing but real and very courteous people since I have been in the country, and any rumors or fears of people back home that I heard about before arriving here were actually untrue, and like they say, “You don’t know until you try it for yourself.’’ Titawny’s goal is to eventually find military work or news agency work here in Ukraine, starting in Kyiv.

“I hope to land with UAF (Ukrainian Armed Forces) public affairs or a journalist position with a local news agency covering the war, but overall I hope to build lasting relationships here because the strength in people is unbelievable and outstanding in terms of character and strength! ‘’

I know how different and difficult life can be in a foreign country, but I can confidently say that staying in Ukraine for just three months Titawny is doing a great job! And by the way, he is even learning the Ukrainian language to settle down there and start life in the new country from scratch. ‘’Ukraine is beautiful and strong, and regardless of war, this spirit will never be extinguished! ‘’ Titawny said. 

Titawny Cook is one of those multitalented and aspiring students of Chabot College who’s proved his desire to be a real journalist. He’s never given up on his big dream. As one of the proud graduates of Chabot College, Titawny inspires hundreds of students by his dedication to journalism and bravery in the profession. 

Despite being dangerous during the war, Titawny faced the challenge to go abroad and serve as a journalist in Ukraine. 

The Chabot Spectator wishes Titawny Cook good luck and success. Chabot College is proud of your fearlessness and eagerness for new life experiences!

Beyond the stars: Mayan Nights at Chabot College Planetarium 

On September 21, Chabot College Planetarium hosted an exclusive event that explores the fascinating world of ancient Mayan science and culture. It’s shed light on the Mayan’s advanced understanding of astronomy and timekeeping.

The event was organized by Scott Hildreth, a knowledgeable Chabot College professor of Physics and Astronomy and NASA researcher, who guided students through the rich heritage of Mayan knowledge and history.

“They didn’t have calculators, they didn’t have Seikos, they didn’t have smartphones, but they took records over so long that they were able to figure out there are approximately 29.530 days in one lunar month. And this is a thousand years ago,” explained Prof. Scott Hildreth.

The show started with a splash of the sound of Mayan cultural music that brought viewers back 1000 years ago to indigenous cultures, highlighting the existence of vinyl records from regions including Mexico and Guatemala, showing many of the musical instruments used by these cultures, such as flutes and drums, likely remained unchanged until now.

One of the central parts of the event was the connection between the students and their potential Mayan ancestry. Prof. Hildreth touched upon the idea that, even if people couldn’t directly trace their lineage to the Maya, the influence of this ancient civilization might still be present in their bloodline or through connections with friends and family.

‘’I also was very amazed to learn that the Mayans did scientific studies which were not only way ahead of their time but included it as a part of their daily lives,’’ – shared Brian after visiting 7 Wonders of the World.

One of the most astonishing revelations was the Mayan’s intricate understanding of time. They precisely recorded the position of the sun throughout the year, tracking its rising and setting locations. They developed a calendar system based on 260 named days and a 365-day solar calendar, along with a detailed system for associating characteristics with specific birth dates.

‘’I did not know that the ancient Mayan civilizations were so obsessed with astronomy and the sky, and they were such strong observers. It’s amazing that they based all of their architecture on the sky, and I think that’s what my biggest takeaway is,’’ – said Chabot student Emmanuel Garrido.

Mayan Nights
Mayan Nights at Chabot Planetarium

The Mayans’ written records contained detailed depictions of astronomical events, historical records, and intricate artwork that told stories of battles, conquests, and the lives of their rulers.

The event concluded with an exploration of Mayan artistry and craftsmanship, including their beautifully detailed stone glyphs and pyramids. They didn’t build it in one place. They built pyramids all over the Mayan area, and these pyramids are not accidental because they’re aligned to the directions of the Sun. 

“They’re aligned to when the moon rises and sets in particular places on the horizon: the highest or lowest of the sky,” – explained Prof. Scott Hildreth.

Mayan legacy left behind such as their specific methodology for counting days in a year on the pyramids is both fascinating and practical. These architectural structures served as both monuments and astronomical observatories with specific characteristics:

“91 steps on all four sides. What’s four times 91? They had to bring a calculator? It’s 364. The top step is 365. You think that’s an accident? No, no. Well, a quarter of the year on each side”, – noted Prof. Scott Hildreth.

All in all, Chabot College Planetarium is an exclusive place in the Bay Area academic neighborhood. None of the most famous local universities such as Berkeley or Stanford has this sort of facility. Luckily, Chabot College has. 

‘’I think it’s a very inviting atmosphere, a very learning atmosphere. I think I feel safe being curious and asking questions because I think the professor was very well, he was very eloquent with everything and seeing as this is my culture, these would be my ancestors. I felt just very interested overall,’’ – shared Emmanuel Garrido. 

Therefore, all the students were offered a unique opportunity to journey into the heart of ancient Mayan science and culture. Through the insights of passionate and captivating exploration of Mayan achievements, all the students not only gained a newfound appreciation for the intellectual richness of this remarkable civilization but also celebrated Hispanic heritage month.

“La Bienvenida” Marks 40 Years of Inclusivity

Chabot College celebrated 40 years of “La Bienvenida” as the fall semester kicked off, focusing on inclusivity. The event on Sept. 18 drew students and staff together.

Javier Espinoza, an anthropology instructor and Vice President of the Chicano Latino Education Association, explained the event’s importance for the students: “Getting them to know that we’re here, to know that we want to help them through the process and navigate through the college system because a lot of students are first-generation and they need us to help them get through, and we’re here for that.”

This event aimed to highlight the culture, background, history, and identity of Latinx students on campus.

Chabot College has a huge background in supporting students. Sandra Hera, counselor for the Puente Project, recalled the event’s long history: “Puente started right here at Chabot College over 40 years ago, and that was because a counselor and a teacher got together and said, we need to do better for our growing Latinx community and have a learning community specifically dedicated to them.”

Bienvenida means “welcome.” Our house is your house, and it’s a cultural opportunity for all students to come together around food, music, and each other, to welcome each other, and to get to know who’s in the same space. “In the Latino culture, we always want to know who’s in the room,” Sandra Hera explained. 

At “La Bienvenida,” all guests enjoyed music, networking, and burritos. The tone reflected the community in terms of the students, faculty, administrators, and classified professionals. The main goal was to make spaces available for students so they feel comfortable.

“I can support students in creating a student education plan, whether they want to earn a certificate or transfer or get an associate degree. I can also support students in recommending services on campus and resources, or if they need help filling out any forms for financial aid or admissions and records,” explained Jasmine Garcia. She is a counselor at Chabot. Her office is located on the second floor of the 700 building, so she can support students in drop-in counseling services or make student appointments. 

There were a lot of opportunities for students to meet representatives of different organizations, such as “El Centro,” the Student Resource Center for all students on campus with a focus on the cultural background of the Latinx community. “The Dream Center” has information and resources for students who are undocumented and need counseling appointments. They provide access to legal services, like meeting with a lawyer. 

“The STEM center” focuses on students pursuing careers in math, biology, and physics. Financial aid department reminded everyone about the opportunities to apply for the financial resources available to pay for books, supplies, and transportation to pass your classes successfully. It’s trying to bridge the gap between the Hispanic population and number of students getting access to higher education. 

Overall, celebrating the 40th anniversary marked a milestone for the Chabot College family. The Chabot College team showed how they connect students to the right services, the right spaces, and the support they need not to feel alone.