Mentorship Program Successes

The AFT 6157 Mentorship Program focuses on identifying professional and work-related needs of new faculty members by providing support and guidance in their first year of employment in the San José/Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD). Faculty mentors are to serve as positive role models, guides, and initial contact between new faculty and the union, the various college entities and the district as a whole.


Carlos Rojo – Biology Faculty

By David Yancey, AFT 6157 Mentor and Past President

It is my pleasure to be the mentor of our new physiology faculty Carlos Rojo. Carlos, like so many of our new full-time faculty comes out of the ranks of our adjunct faculty.  The AFT 6157 has always boasted of the quality and professionalism of our adjunct faculty in our district, and Carlos is another shining example of the truth of that confidence and pride.

Carlos’ commitment is strong and deep and when you get a chance to meet and talk to him, you will see what I saw when I first met him. He is bright, articulate and has a passion for teaching that is hard to conceal. I immediately saw what I think his students see and that is an original curiosity and interest in the subject matter and in the idea of sharing all of that with them. 

Carlos has been at SJCC teaching lecture and laboratory biology courses, with a focus on human physiology, within the Biological Sciences Department for almost two years and has guest lectured within the UCSF Schools of Pharmacy and Dentistry, giving lectures in physiology (Mammalian Physiology I).

Last summer he participated in an NSF-funded RET (Research Experience for Teachers) Program at UC Berkeley that provides educators with the opportunity to explore a research project within a field of interest and develop a curriculum based on this work. The goal was to bring exciting, cutting-edge research back to the classroom.

He developed a project, analyzing the ability to privatize genetic data sets prior to their release, and a teaching curriculum to help introduce community college students to current issues in genetic data and biomedical data privacy. He has also taught human physiology within the Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Program at San Francisco State University.

His experience as a researcher is also impressive. He spent two years as a graduate researcher, as he explains it, “interested in explaining the genetic basis of complex diseases, particularly those with important public health implications.”

He explains further that this work “might help explain the reasons why some children are (negatively) affected by febrile seizures after receiving the measles vaccination.” As many of us are aware, the importance of fact-based science in guiding vaccination programs and policies is a controversial topic today, and this work was designed to assist scientists and healthcare providers as they communicate the safety of vaccination with the public.

And to give you even more to be impressed about with Carlos, if you needed any more, was that as part of this work, he utilized a variety of computational and statistical tools to analyze genotype and exome sequencing data.

All right, so now maybe you get a hint of how bright this young man is, and I will admit that last paragraph was hard for me to just write, much less understand. However, another very important side of Carlos that you see quickly is a gentleness and a patience in his approach that he will instill into his students. He wants not only to transfer this depth of knowledge, but to impress upon his students the real-life impact of his work in the lives of us all.

As you can tell, I was very impressed with this young professor and to paraphrase another great teacher here at SJCC, Biologist Mark Newton, “I think Carlos has a lot to teach us all” not only in the sciences but how to relate ideas and understanding to his students while challenging them to think critically in their everyday education.


Danielle Brooks – Nursing Faculty

By Peggy Gorbach, AFT 6156 Mentor, EVC Family and Consumer Affairs Faculty

I was so pleased to be able to work with the Union this year as a mentor for the AFT 6157 mentorship program. Although Danielle Brooks has a lot of support from her department of nursing, it was important for her to know that the Union was also there for her.

Danielle graduated with her master’s degree in Nursing from the University of San Diego. She has worked as a registered nurse in variety of settings for the last 10 years and has also served as the clinical nurse leader and med/surgical educator for a local hospital before coming to Evergreen Valley College to become a full-time faculty. Danielle holds board certifications in Medical/Surgical Nursing, Orthopedic Nursing and Pain Management, which are her passion and areas of expertise. When not working, Danielle enjoys outings with her four-year-old son Rhett.


Madhavi Sudarsana – Early Childhood Education Faculty

By Frank Espinoza, AFT 6157 Mentor, EVC Sociology Faculty

As part of the AFT 6157 faculty union mentorship program, which is designed to support new AFT full-time faculty members, I have the honor of introducing Madhavi Sudarsana who was recently hired as the SJCC full-time coordinator / instructor in the Early Childhood Education Program. Madhavi comes to her position with extensive prior professional experience in the field of Early Childhood Education. 

Over her career she has presented workshops, developed curriculum, published bilingual (Hindi/English) children’s books, taught college courses in various disciplines and continues to present on various topics in the field of Early Childhood Education at local, state and national professional conferences.

During the past Fall 2016 I have served as Madhavi’s assigned faculty union mentor. Because both our schedules are quite busy, we both decided to schedule a series of meetings for the entire semester.

This allowed us the opportunity to address important topics related to the history of AFT 6157, its organizational structure, some helpful suggestions and,  the most important of all, the opportunity for me to welcome Madhavi as a new member and colleague of the faculty union. 

For our final meeting of the semester, Madhavi and I attended the AFT 6157 Executive Board Meeting. This provided the faculty union leadership an opportunity to both meet and welcome Madhavi to her faculty union!

Needless to say, the entire SJECCD community is fortunate to have Madhavi as a faculty member at SJCC. Her genuine passion for teaching, commitment to serving the community and professional expertise are just a few of her many qualities that surfaced during our meetings. Oh, and I should mention that Madhavi also enjoys doing all sorts of art and craft projects, enjoys sewing and jewelry making, can spend all day gardening and also continues to be committed to writing bilingual children’s books.

So when you see Madhavi on campus, be sure to give her a “shout out” and welcome her as one of our new full-time faculty members of the San José / Evergreen Federation of Teachers, AFT 6157!