Bakersfield College

Umoja Community Students

Umoja Community ASTEP

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.

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


Download: Umoja ASTEP Information Brochure (PDF)

Schedule of Courses Offered

Spring 2023

  • English 1B Survey of Literature (3 units) taught by Dr. Paula L. Parks Tuesday/Thursday 11:10-12:35 CRN 31123
  • Comm 1: Public Speaking (3 units) taught by Ms. Mychael Phillips Tuesday/Thursday 9:35- 11:00 CRN 31191


  • 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/adminstration mentor in their field of study.

Umoja ASTEP Team

Dr. Paula Parks

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

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

Mychael Phillips
Umoja Communication Professor

Umoja Team

  • Gilbert Ayuk
  • Faith Bradham
  • David Reiss
  • Jordan Rude
  • Penelope Young

Umoja ASTEP Photos

2019-2020 Year in Review