Bakersfield College

Umoja Community Students


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.

Apply to Join Umoja ASTEP

If you'd like to apply to join Umoja ASTEP, complete the Umoja ASTEP application form.

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

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


Download: Umoja ASTEP Information Brochure (PDF)

Schedule of Courses Offered 

Fall 2021

  • English 1aL Expository Composition (3.5 units) taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks Monday/ Wednesday 11:10-1:35 and Lib 1 (1 unit) taught by Ms. Faith Bradham Wed. 9:35-10:45 
  • Psych 5  Stats for Behavioral Sciences (4 units) taught by Mr. David Reiss Tuesday/Thursday 1:00- 3:05 pm
  • Psych 1a Intro to Psych (3 units) taught by Mrs. Kimberly WatkinTuesday/Thursday 6:00-7:25 Zoom
  • Comm 8: Small Group Communication (3 units) taught by Ms. Mychael Phillips Tuesday/Thursday 4:20-5:45 p.m
  • Math 22 Statistics (4 units) taught by Mr. Michael Little Monday/Wednesday 6:00-8:05 p.m. 


  • Courses with a focus on African-American culture
  • Group study sessions
  • Simplified class schedules
  • Academic and cultural field 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/adminstration mentor in their field of study.

Umoja ASTEP Team

Paula Parks

Dr. Paula L. Parks
Umoja Community ASTEP Coordinator
Dr. Parks on Weebly


Umoja team: Dr. Parks, Steve Agard, Gilbert Ayuk, Faith Bradham, Michael Little, Mychael Phillips, Dr. Jonathan Schultz, and Kris Tiner




Umoja ASTEP Photos

2019-2020 Year in Review