City College doesn't just churn out degrees. It creates opportunities. For Galina Gerasimova, that opportunity led to a great job with the school.
A part-time instructor at the college for about eight years now, Gerasimova moved to San Francisco from the Ukraine in 1997 and immediately began taking ESL classes at the school. With a teenage son to take care of and not a lot of money to survive on, she not only mastered English but was also inspired by the warmth and dedication of her instructors.
As a recent immigrant, "you're scared, you're frustrated, you don't really know what to expect," Gerasimova said, explaining that ESL teachers are often the first people English learners really interact with after moving to the United States. "(They) helped me a lot ... and of course that actually influenced my decision to become an instructor at City College."
By 2000, she became an instructional aid, all the while pursuing an Associate's Degree in computer sciences. She then transferred to San Francisco State University and earned a degree in Human Physiology — a subject that complemented her previous studies in biology, chemistry and physics in the Ukraine, where she worked with war veterans.
Gerasimova remembers how easy it was to enroll in all the classes she needed at CCSF and she laments the steady deterioration of public education in California.
"It just became more intense over the past year," she said, "and I see how that impacts City College and our services." (Bloomberg)