Cal Culture

The Original Happiest Place on Earth

Seated in her office behind a door bearing signs reading, “Warning: I have flying monkeys and I’m not afraid to use them!” and “What happens over the rainbow stays over the rainbow,” C.J. Hirschfield, the executive director of children’s Fairyland in Oakland, smiled as the sounds of toddlers gleefully sliding down one of the park’s newest attractions, the Jack and Jill Hill, a gently sloped mound covered with AstroTurf, filtered through her window. Read more about The Original Happiest Place on Earth »

Alumni Gazette: Rocket Science, Woman Power, and Updating The League

Ever hear that old cliché “This ain’t rocket science?” I wouldn’t use it around Ashley Chandler Karp because what she does is rocket science. A propulsion engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, she’s helping design the next generation of rockets, which will bring samples from Mars back to Earth for more extensive testing than can be done on the Martian surface.

As if that weren’t ambitious enough, they also have to figure out a way to transport the stuff here without getting any contamination from the Red Planet on the container. Read more about Alumni Gazette: Rocket Science, Woman Power, and Updating The League »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Keepin’ It Real with President Napolitano: The State of the State’s University

Janet Napolitano and I met in her office in downtown Oakland on the afternoon of November 4, 2016, just four days before Hillary Rodham Clinton was thwarted in her attempt to make history by becoming the first woman president of the United States of America.

Some people thought that Napolitano, a former governor of Arizona and Secretary of Homeland Security in the first Obama administration, might herself have been a candidate for the White House. Instead, she became the first woman president of the University of California in 2013. Read more about Keepin' It Real with President Napolitano: The State of the State's University »

From the Winter 2016 Reality Bites issue of California.

Storming Sather Gate: Two Student Groups Demand Visibility

Recent demonstrations at Sather Gate by LGBTQIA+ students and students of color were covered with gleeful alacrity by the national press—largely because white students were seemingly prevented by the demonstrators from entering the campus. Right-leaning (and alt right) outlets denounced the actions with particular fervor, claiming they were neo-segregationist in intent and distressingly uncivil in tone. Some commentators lamented that the acronym for people who are other than heterosexual is becoming absurdly long, leading to confusion and muddled communication. Read more about Storming Sather Gate: Two Student Groups Demand Visibility »

Alumni Study: Africans Abroad Still Committed to the Homeland

Even those of us who don’t reflexively shriek “Go Bears” every four or five minutes know that UC Berkeley is one of the finest universities on the planet. The proof is in the sheepskin; if a Cal degree isn’t always a fast track to an executive suite or academic renown, it at least constitutes a reliable on-ramp.

But is that the case just for American students? What about the developing world? Berkeley bona fides can be of inestimable value in Silicon Valley, but is the same true for Mombasa? Read more about Alumni Study: Africans Abroad Still Committed to the Homeland »

UC Berkeley Votes: On-Campus Interviews about the 2016 Election

The national reputation of the University of California, Berkeley is, shall we say, a bit liberal. And there’s been a lot of talk this election season about the Millennial vote, as though Millenials were a monolithic group sharing a single Bernie-inspired thought, or maybe just an Instagram image that would carry them to the polls, if they bothered to vote at all. Not content to believe rumor, California talked to people around campus about the election, the candidates, and whether or not they’ll vote.

Read more about UC Berkeley Votes: On-Campus Interviews about the 2016 Election »

Urban Ore: Berkeley’s Eternal Garage Sale

Enter any grocery store franchise and prepare to be worked. It’s almost Halloween so you’ll see pumpkins, candy, straw, and speckled corn garnishing produce bins overflowing with honeycombed stacks of shiny, plump fruit. You’ll smell flowers, fresh bread, and deli meats. If you came at the right time you might hear a faint thunderstorm in the produce section and see soft mist falling on dewy greens.

“Have you tried Advanced Listerine?” A voice might chirp from the ceiling. Read more about Urban Ore: Berkeley’s Eternal Garage Sale »

Union Yet? Worker Protections Elude Graduate Student Researchers

Nearly 15,000 graduate teaching assistants, student instructors, and readers in the UC system are full-fledged members of the labor movement. But UC graduate student researchers (GSRs) are the only student employees who are not protected by the UC Student Workers Union contract, and are not eligible to negotiate for better working conditions. Read more about Union Yet? Worker Protections Elude Graduate Student Researchers »

A Little Dotty: Berkeley Startup Has a New Way to Make Your House Smart

When giant tech companies like Intel or Samsung need to make a circuit board, they simply pop one out of their multi-billion dollar fabs or pony up a few million for a new machine. But when you’re just a tiny, underfunded startup putting together a prototype that you need to bake, you’ve got to look for something simpler and cheaper—a lot cheaper. Read more about A Little Dotty: Berkeley Startup Has a New Way to Make Your House Smart »

Making Believe: Actor Robert Sicular’s Devotion to Berkeley, the Bard, and The Bay

Born and raised in Berkeley, Robert Sicular feels sorry for people who didn’t grow up here. He even loved his time in high school, which he remembers as full of opportunities–not just in academics, but in sports and music and the arts. When he went there, Berkeley High School’s commitment to drama was clear—there was a theater technician and costumer along with the two drama teachers—all full-time.   Read more about Making Believe: Actor Robert Sicular's Devotion to Berkeley, the Bard, and The Bay »

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