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2021-22 EPIC Community College Fellows

Lauren Blanchard

Political Science Instructor, Monterey Peninsula College

Lauren M. Blanchard earned her M.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where her emphasis was political theory. She has been the chairperson of the political science department at Monterey Peninsula College since 2010. In 2017, she helped to lead a collaborative process that succeeded in launching the Global Studies program at MPC. In addition to the very rewarding work of teaching in these programs, Lauren M. Blanchard has two young children and lives with her family in Watsonville, CA.

Project: Hands on Migration: Service Learning Curriculum in Global Studies 

With the help of the EPIC fellowship, the goal of this project is to introduce migration studies to Monterey Peninsula College. Crafting a service-learning curriculum will provide students the opportunity to dedicate a semester to the comparative study of internal and international migrations in the 20th and 21st centuries, alongside the chance to gain hands-on experience working with the diverse immigrant communities of Monterey County. This curriculum will provide insight into the international agreements and values that have shaped government responses to immigration in the past and will shape responses to migration in the 21st century.

View Lauren's presentation here


Miloni Gandhi

Part-time Faculty, Global Studies and Workforce, Foothill College

Miloni has lived in Spain, Hawaii, Singapore, and Chile as well as worked extensively in India. Her research interests include international development, global studies, international education, identity, and tertiary student mobility. She speaks fluent Spanish as well as conversational Hindi and Gujrati. Miloni was an Asia Pacific Leadership Program Fellow at the East West Center, a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, and most recently a Fulbright International Education Administrator Grantee in Japan. Miloni completed her doctoral studies at the University of California at Los Angeles in Social Sciences and Comparative Education with a concentration in International Education. Additionally, she has a Bachelor’s in International Development Studies as well as Geography. Her favorite things to do are exploring different cultures through travel and food and documenting them on her iPhone. Her most memorable pre-COVID trip was Antarctica which was her 7th continent.

Project: Virtual Study Abroad

Virtual Study Abroad is a way to bridge equity gaps in international education at the community college. Study Abroad is a unique experience to explore other cultures and traditions firsthand. However, it is often limited to those with the ability to leave their current situations for long periods of time or those with the financial ability to cover the opportunity cost of being away from home. Virtual Study Abroad allows for all students to have firsthand experiences exploring other cultures through meaningful curated content and authentic relationship building with people in other countries without having to physically be abroad.

View Miloni's presentation here


Kristen Huyck

Director, Public & Governmental Relations, Marketing & Communications; Part-time Faculty, Political Science, MiraCosta College

A San Diego native with a passion for California Community Colleges, Kristen Huyck brings her professional experience as a public affairs practitioner and career dedicated to education to her position as the Director, Public & Governmental Relations at MiraCosta College. Kristen received her Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and a master’s in political science from California State University, Fullerton. Since 2007, Kristen has been teaching as an associate faculty member in subject areas including political science, history, sociology, and organizational leadership. She has also served as a committee member for several doctoral dissertations. 

Project: Free Speech, Regulation, and Democracy in the Digital Age

Community colleges face challenges in the balance of freedom of speech and expression in the digital age. The desire for a safe campus that respects diversity and inclusion as well as Academic Freedom can be juxtaposed with academic endeavors that require unimpeded thought. While case law for traditional media is fairly well established, the rapidly evolving world of social media blurs the lines of libel, privacy, and commercial-free speech. “Free Speech, Regulation, and Democracy in the Digital Age” research and analysis will serve to educate people in and out of the classroom. 

View Kristen's presentation here


Christopher McBride

English and Humanities Instructor, College of Marin/Solano College

Christopher McBride teaches courses in both English and Humanities. His training is in American Literature, Composition and Liberal Arts. His specialty is nineteenth-century American Literature and culture. His current interests include interactions between history, literature, film, and culture. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking and biking in the Bay Area with his family. He is a native of Connecticut where he attended the University of Connecticut, and has earned graduate degrees from the Claremont Graduate University and Stanford University. 

Project: Culture Through a Global Lens: International Film in Humanities Courses

My project aims to create curricular units utilizing film as a tool for exploration of global culture. Through the examination of international films, students will use a popular medium to extend their understanding of global cultures, history, and politics. The obvious outcome is a set of curricular units on film and global studies for community college classes. However, the work will also address skills elements in my curricular units by creating critical thinking assignments and short readings in relevant scholarship for students. My goal is for students to gain both critical thinking skills and a deeper understanding of world cultures.

View Christopher's presentation here


Edward R. O'Neill

Senior Adjunct Instructor, Lake Tahoe Community College

Edward R. O’Neill has taught cinema and media studies in the California Community College system since he was a Ph.D. candidate at UCLA Film School. He’s taught online for Lake Tahoe Community College (LTCC) since 2007. For LTCC, he developed courses in world cinema history, screenwriting, and film appreciation and analysis. Dr. O’Neill’s other professional work centers on instructional design and technology and faculty development. He has mentored online instructors from New England to North Carolina, and he’s partnered with French language and English composition instructors to implement learning technologies from ebooks to videomaking. Edward also sings, writes music, makes photographs and videos.

Project: World Cinema and Global Visual Cultures

The goal of this project is to enrich a course on world cinema by developing global competencies around visual culture. The course already uses social media (blogging) as a space for students to participate in scholarly discussions in the public sphere; support from Stanford will help refashion the course to support students in competencies pertaining to global visual cultures. Students will curate, comment on, and make their own visual resources using vernacular social media platforms and tools such as YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and TikTok.

View Edward's presentation here


Holly Piscopo

History Professor, Sacramento City College

Holly Piscopo has been teaching history in California community colleges for over 20 years – one urban center, one central valley, one suburban. Since 2006, she has been at Sacramento City College teaching US history and Asian Civilizations, along with coordinating two college-wide grants. Influenced by her multigenerational immigrant and adopted households, Holly has long sought to raise global competencies, emphasizing colonialism, nationalism, and race in her graduate work at UC Santa Cruz. Prior to SCC, Holly led the Mexico wing of a Cross-cultural Education grant between Mexico, Canada, and California. More recently, she taught Study Abroad in Italy in 2019.

Project: Global Trauma, Globalized Trauma Management

The purpose of this project is to create a framework for trauma-informed educational practices based on global cultural strategies. Since trauma is experienced on top of, within, and through culture, this is an attempt to globalize the ways educational practitioners support students and communities. Using resources from Stanford’s Life in Quarantine collection and in collaboration with community college students, this toolkit would assemble in one place a suite of deliberately transnational and intercultural trauma management strategies.

View Holly's presentation here


Tomasz B. Stanek

Associate Professor of History, Victor Valley College

Dr. Tomasz Stanek is an associate professor of history at Victor Valley College. He received a doctorate (Ed.D.) from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) in Education Studies (2012), a master’s in liberal arts from Harvard University in History (2009), a master’s degree in business, (MBA) from Augusta University (1999), and a bachelor’s degree from Augusta University in History (1997). Dr. Stanek is fluent in Russian, Polish, and English, and his historical expertise focuses on comprehensive historical legacies of major events in human history, migrations and diaspora, and educational and pedagogical issues. He was born and raised near Krakow, Poland. 

Project: Global Ethnic Studies Course Proposal

The project involves the construction of a new global or hemispheric ethnic studies course with major emphasis on the paradigmatic discoveries, the environmental and indigenous ideas, transnational issues, climatology, human behavior, a trauma of conflict, and modern philosophy, all encapsulated into one community college course bound from the 1500s to the present. The idea of this course is to create an interdisciplinary discussion space and a comparative analysis beyond national borderlands and local marginality. 

View Tomasz's presentation here


Lisa Vitela

Associate Professor of Art History, Cerritos College

Lisa Vitela teaches Art History at Cerritos College. Since receiving her doctorate in Art History from UCLA, she has been interested in the intersection of humanities research and digital methods. Dr. Vitela integrates the study and critique of digital scholarship into her Arts of Asia course and has participated in digital humanities workshops and research groups at the UC Humanities Research Institute, George Mason University, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. At Cerritos College, she was a co-organizer of the college’s 2019 study abroad program in Florence, Italy. 

Project: Redesigning the Humanities Research Paper with Digital Methods

Through the EPIC Community College Fellowship program, I propose a digital learning project that will redesign the traditional humanities research paper through the use of digital methods. My project proposal includes the investigation of current projects, such as those of the Poetic Media Lab, and the development of curriculum materials that will support student use of accessible and affordable digital tools for research proposes. By integrating digital methods into the collection and analysis of research data, students will notice that their research appears more relevant and that more concrete conclusions can be drawn.

View Lisa's presentation here


Alexandria White

English Professor, Sacramento City College

Alexandria teaches English composition, literature and cultural studies at Sacramento City College. She is the Black Student Union advisor and she also works with the UMOJA Learning Community, which is an academic program for African-American students. In 2005 she earned a B.A. in creative writing at San Francisco State University and in 2009 she attended the University of California, Santa Cruz and earned an M.A. in literature. She was awarded the Unsung Hero Award by the California Black Legislative Caucus in January 2019 for her community service in the Oak Park Sacramento area. 

Project: Black Atlantic Explorations

The purpose of this project is to provide a comparative approach to understanding the intersectionalities and divergences among Black Atlantic identities and experiences. Juxtaposing the diverse experiences of Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-Americans through literature, art, and history will not only be provocative and inspiring, but will also plants seeds in our collective imaginations about the possibilities of Black Atlantic futures rooted in liberation and rooted in the “profoundest creativity to throw bridges across chasms, to open an architecture of space within closed worlds of race and culture.” (Wilson Harris)

View Alexandria's presentation here