Umoja Community

What is Umoja African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (Umoja ASTEP)?

Umoja (A Kiswahili word meaning unity) African-American Success Through Excellence and Persistence (ASTEP) is a program that integrates academics, support services and African-American culture. We seek to educate the whole student — body, mind and spirit — through an ethic of love. African and African-American histories and voices are deliberately and intentionally acknowledged and are woven into the learning experience, and this integration is seen as empowering to students and as foundational for their academic and personal success. Students are full participants in their learning and growth. Umoja ASTEP aims to develop students into leaders and role models in their college and larger community.

To Join Umoja ASTEP:

  1. If you'd like to apply to join Umoja ASTEP, complete the Umoja ASTEP application form.
  2. After Dr. Parks receives your application, she will contact you or feel free to email her at

For more background on the program, download the Umoja ASTEP Informational Brochure or email Dr. Paula L. Parks:

Umoja ASTEP is a member of the state-wide Umoja (Unity) Community Educational Foundation



To learn more, attend a Summer Umoja Day: June 5, July 9 or July 30. Time: 10:00AM-3:00PM. Includes lunch. Please register through the Online RSVP Form.

Find out about the program and what is offered including required courses with an African American theme. Meet other Umoja students, learn strategies for a successful year, and get any help with your class schedule .

Schedule of Courses Offered

Summer 2024

  • English 99NC: taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks In-Person: July 29 and August 12, and Online in between. This class is for students who plan to take English 1aL with Dr. Parks in the fall.

Fall 2024

  • English 1aL: Expository Composition (3.5 units) taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks, Monday/Wednesday 11:10AM-1:35PM

  • Library 1: Introduction to Research (1 unit) taught by Ms. Faith Bradham, Wednesday 9:35-10:40AM

  • Art 1: Art Appreciation (3 units) taught by Ms. Penelope Young Online, Monday/Wednesday 6:00-7:35PM

Spring 2025

* English 1b taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks (satisfies critical thinking requirement or humanities requirement)


  • Courses with a focus on African-American culture
  • Group study sessions
  • Simplified class schedules
  • Academic and cultural trips
  • Historically Black College and University tours
  • Book loans
  • Academic excellence celebrations
  • College visits
  • Support: The Umoja ASTEP counselor makes sure every student has an educational plan and stays on track to graduate and transfer.
  • Mentorship: Students, who request, are matched with a community or BC faculty/staff/administration mentor in their field of study.

Umoja ASTEP Team

Dr. Paula Parks standing in front of Umoja promotion banners

Dr. Paula L. Parks
Umoja Community ASTEP Coordinator

Umoja Counselors

Dr. Jonathan Schultz (L) and Mr. Steve Agard (R)

Umoja Counselors

Mychael Phillips Umoja Communications Professor

Mychael Phillips
Umoja Communication Professor

Umoja Team

  • Gilbert Ayuk
  • Faith Bradham
  • Keith Wolaridge
  • Penelope Young

Umoja ASTEP Photos

2019-2020 Year in Review

Umoja Community Club African-American Success Through Excellence & Persistence, logo.