The Fremont Podcast

Episode 95: An Introduction to the Eighth President of Ohlone College with Charles Sasaki

October 27, 2023 Ricky B Season 2 Episode 95
Episode 95: An Introduction to the Eighth President of Ohlone College with Charles Sasaki
The Fremont Podcast
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The Fremont Podcast
Episode 95: An Introduction to the Eighth President of Ohlone College with Charles Sasaki
Oct 27, 2023 Season 2 Episode 95
Ricky B

What determines the journey of a man from a humble Hawaiian background to the helm of the prestigious Ohlone College? Meet Charles Sasaki, the first Asian-American president of Ohlone College, as he shares his extraordinary life story and the path that led him to one of the top-ranking institutions in the country. Listen as we discuss the unique features of Ohlone College's facilities, including the LEED certified campus in Newark and the new partnership with Tesla that enables students to earn while they learn.

Charles Sasaki takes us back to his roots, his family's love for Hawaii, and the encouragement he received from his parents to pursue an education. From a full-ride graduate program to teaching on an Indian reservation, Charles shares his life-shaping decisions and the chance encounters that brought him to the presidency of Ohlone College. The discussion also unravels the college's efforts to create programs tailored for the local population and the innovative Tesla partnership that's fostering a new wave of learning.

We comment on former president Dr. Bishop's legacy at Ohlone College - from ensuring the campus's safety amidst the global pandemic to steering the institution through a challenging racial reckoning period. Charles also highlights the hidden jewels of Fremont, California, and the plethora of opportunities that Ohlone College offers its students. Whether you are a prospective student, an educator, or just a curious listener, join us for this compelling conversation with Charles Sasaki, and discover the remarkable world of Ohlone College.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What determines the journey of a man from a humble Hawaiian background to the helm of the prestigious Ohlone College? Meet Charles Sasaki, the first Asian-American president of Ohlone College, as he shares his extraordinary life story and the path that led him to one of the top-ranking institutions in the country. Listen as we discuss the unique features of Ohlone College's facilities, including the LEED certified campus in Newark and the new partnership with Tesla that enables students to earn while they learn.

Charles Sasaki takes us back to his roots, his family's love for Hawaii, and the encouragement he received from his parents to pursue an education. From a full-ride graduate program to teaching on an Indian reservation, Charles shares his life-shaping decisions and the chance encounters that brought him to the presidency of Ohlone College. The discussion also unravels the college's efforts to create programs tailored for the local population and the innovative Tesla partnership that's fostering a new wave of learning.

We comment on former president Dr. Bishop's legacy at Ohlone College - from ensuring the campus's safety amidst the global pandemic to steering the institution through a challenging racial reckoning period. Charles also highlights the hidden jewels of Fremont, California, and the plethora of opportunities that Ohlone College offers its students. Whether you are a prospective student, an educator, or just a curious listener, join us for this compelling conversation with Charles Sasaki, and discover the remarkable world of Ohlone College.

Check out Own It Fitness for your professional fitness solutions. You can find their website here. 

Connect with them on Instagram here. 

If you are interested in supporting the podcast, please reach out to us at thefremontpodcast@gmail.com, or you can contact us here. 


Fremont Bank has been partnering with and supporting people and small businesses for over six decades.

Also, Petrocelli Homes has been a key sponsor for the Fremont Podcast almost from the beginning. If you are looking for help or advice about buying or selling a home, or if you are looking for a realtor, get in touch with Petrocelli Homes on Niles Blvd in Niles.

Additionally, Banter Bookshop is the best little bookshop in Fremont. They are a sponsor of that podcast. And we are excited to have them as a partner.

If you are in need of services for design or printing, check out Minutemen Press in Irvington. They have been serving the community for over 20 years, and they stand strong by their work and service.

Intro and Outro voiceovers made by Gary Williams. Check out garywilliams.org.

This episode was edited by Andrew C.

Scheduling and background was done by Sara S.

This is a Muggins Media Podcast.

Speaker 1:

I'm Gary Williams. If you would please leave a review on iTunes. Your reviews help other people find this podcast.

Speaker 2:

Well, that happens to good things. I mean it's interesting and you have something that's really good and becomes like the speakeasy college right, it's the secret meal.

Speaker 3:

Yes, it's the animal fries of the higher ed world, it's the secret menu.

Speaker 4:

Yeah it's the. There's no reason for this to be a secret Coming to you straight from Fremont, California.

Speaker 1:

This is the Fremont podcast, dedicated to telling the stories of the past and present of the people and places of the city of Fremont, one conversation at a time.

Speaker 3:

Okay, I doubt I can do this. Ricky told me to go to the Fremont police station motorcycle train obstacle course when it was empty and use my e-bike to weave through these cones and not get arrested and tell you this is episode 95 of the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 1:

Now here's your host, Ricky B.

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm joined today with President Charles Sasaki, and he is the new president of Aloni College, and it's a privilege to have you on the podcast, charles, thank you very much for joining. When did you become officially become president of Aloni College?

Speaker 4:

I officially started at the beginning of July, so it's just been three and a half months, correct, it's just been a few months.

Speaker 2:

What was your professional or college experience leading up to coming here?

Speaker 4:

So I was the last job I had. I was a vice chancellor, so it was the next level. This was a logical move and I was the vice chancellor for academic affairs, so I worked with faculty and programs at Windward Community College in Hawaii.

Speaker 3:

Oh nice, so it's a big move.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if I understand correctly, your family has deep roots in Hawaii.

Speaker 4:

Is that right Correct? We've been there since the 1880s, so family's been there since before it was part of the United States, okay. Yeah so it's an interesting story, it's not a common one.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I can imagine. Is there anything particular that? I know that when you have family that have been in a place for a long time, you obviously hear stories and there's, you feel deeply rooted there. But for you personally, what does Hawaii mean for you, like when you are here in California and you imagine a home in Hawaii, what does it mean to you?

Speaker 4:

personally. So much it's the anchor, right it is. It's that whole thing about roots. I took this trip once. I didn't grow up in the kind of family that took a lot of vacations, but I never went to Japan, even though I'm Japanese American.

Speaker 1:

It's just not something I did as a kid.

Speaker 4:

So I took my first trip to Japan as part of this grant program for faculty and I was so excited I thought oh you know this is going to be like the roots experience and I went to Japan. It was totally foreign.

Speaker 1:

Oh, wow.

Speaker 4:

Nothing clicked for me. Not only did I not know the language, but people knew immediately that I wasn't from there. So it was an interesting moment to go somewhere where you think it's going to be the anchor, and to come home really realizing that it's not your place at all. So it informs who I am, but it's not my story, not in my life. So the part that really anchors me is Hawaii.

Speaker 4:

That's cool and Hawaii's special right, it's a different kind of place. It's got a different kind of culture. People think about each other differently, they have different relationships or histories are different, the weather is different. Yeah, so it's great, it's been a cool. It's cool to get the opportunity to kind of reflect on your life and think about how you end up where you are. But, yeah, I'm very proud to be from there, cool, and I'm enjoying living somewhere else. That's awesome.

Speaker 2:

It's a win. It's a win Along the lines of something that you already said. I'm curious you're the eighth president of Ohlone College and considered to be the first Asian American president of.

Speaker 2:

Ohlone College. How does that sit with you? Obviously, I think that everybody rightfully so treats their heritage with a lot of respect and honor, and so I don't want in any way to degrade that significance for you and your life and even what you bring to this college. But I'm just curious, as you hear that and perhaps that's something that people use to identify you what do you feel about that?

Speaker 4:

What is your thoughts on that? I was just having this conversation with somebody on the staff this morning and I said you know how you get your jobs is twofold and we wear both hats because you are your career, right, you're everything that you've done in your education and your profession, all the skills and the knowledge that you've acquired, but you're also who you are. So I mean you have to bring both sets of skills to the table and it's an honor, right, it's a tremendous honor to have this opportunity to be in this community. It's striking to me that I'm the first Asian American in a community like Fremont or a community like the Tri-Cities. It's pretty astounding, but the reception has been so great and I think people are so interested and so curious and so eager to ask about that that it gives me a good opportunity to again talk about both things right To talk about my profession, to talk about this college, but then also to talk about who I am and my family.

Speaker 4:

So it's just been a blast. That's great. Yeah, and it's exactly what is supposed to happen in life. That's great.

Speaker 2:

I love it. Well, I'm glad that you're here. I think that I have seen recently on different websites or online article journals or whatever, that a Lone College has been ranked as one of the top 20, 25 colleges within a certain category in the country, which is pretty significant. How does that make you feel, coming into the president's seat of a college with the reputation that it has already?

Speaker 4:

So this is me moving to the East Bay. In a lot of ways is accidental, but this is a college that I've always known.

Speaker 4:

Really, yeah, this is a school that has a reputation, so it's known for excellence, and so I always had my eye on it and I never thought I would get the opportunity to lead it. But I've always known about a Lone College and it looks a lot like a lot of the other colleges where I've worked, where it's really got some real high visibility in terms of four-year transfer and then some really excellent career programs. But it's just a pretty exceptional place. So one of the rankings that I saw that came out while I was onboarding here was that we were ranked in the top 10% of community colleges nationwide for academic success. This is Aspen Institute. They do this interesting work where they're looking at kind of the track record that students have in completing and doing great things in life. And then there was another one since I got here that put us in the number two slot for transfer among Bay Area community colleges and it's a great Bay Area thought broadly.

Speaker 4:

So it's a 2022 schools and we were number two All of us. You know there's a lot of good stories to tell here, a lot of really humble people that just do the work and just kind of keep plugging away, but it becomes my job to be their champion, so it's just really fun.

Speaker 2:

That's cool. I'm going to ask you two questions that are kind of the opposite. What are perhaps something that you had in your mind as being something you were excited about, a positive note about the university that actually surprised you, that it was even better than you thought and what are some of the things that you see now that you hope to maybe be an instrument to make better, that needs to, that needs to grow, that you maybe you didn't know about or was you were more unaware of this, of the situation before you got here that now you really want to make better now that you're here.

Speaker 4:

And you know, this is such a great place I was. I already knew so much about the school because it has such a reputation. What I didn't realize, though, um, is how little marketing and how little storytelling we do about ourselves. So so the word word about the college just has kind of leaked out, right, but it's uh yeah, Well, that happens to good things. I mean it's interesting and you have something that's really good and you

Speaker 2:

hear becomes like the speakeasy college right, it's the secret meal.

Speaker 3:

Uh yes, it's the animal fries of the higher ed world.

Speaker 4:

That's right Um it's the secret menu. Yeah, it's the um there's, there's no reason for this to be a secret. So, uh, you know that that becomes so much of. This is giving people permission to be boastful in a way that they're not really comfortable with. But, um, to help shape that narrative and help help shape the story about this college, because it's it's a tremendous place. Yeah, I was really surprised at the quality of the facilities. I mean, it's really exceptional.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And I knew that you know, again, this kind of falls into that category of not doing a good job, of telling our own story. But I knew that the college had rebuilt itself. But even if you look at our website, you don't see a lot of photos of the new construction. So, it's a. You know, these are pretty simple tasks for us. We need to get some good photos and get some overhead shots and get them posted online. It's you know, the facilities are part of what students are opting into right.

Speaker 4:

So if we have a trajectory and a tradition of excellence and we have great faculty and a lot of support services and the facilities are beautiful and there's a ton of parking. I mean you.

Speaker 2:

That's a win right, exactly, even our food is good here, so I mean it's, I haven't tried that. I'll check that out, yeah.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's a. I mean, I think it's everything. We have everything that a student would want.

Speaker 3:

Hmm.

Speaker 4:

Um, and I think it just has to be packaged a little bit better. Okay, and, uh, and and I'm totally not a marketing person, all I'm doing is just telling the truth. Yeah, yeah, um, then I think it'll. Uh, it will really help us to draw, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, when you come in having known as much as you already knew and and it it grabbed your attention in a particular way, but for you to be more surprised by some of the things that ought to have stood out, it's you know, then you yeah those are things that you need to highlight and and and, so it's not. It's not even a market you don't need. You don't even need a marketing mind. You just need to realize this is something we need to be talking about.

Speaker 4:

There's this piano behind me.

Speaker 2:

I don't know if you could hear this.

Speaker 3:

Yeah it's pretty cool.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so they set up this piano right in this overhang here. That echoes right into my office, but it's beautiful and it just it's a place for students to just drop in and just bang away on whatever they want to do and, um, it's extraordinary to see that kind of stuff. I mean, it's a. This is a really vibrant place. Yeah, um, it's not captured well right.

Speaker 4:

So I mean, we just uh, I just really want everybody to know how great this place is. Um, and that's my job, that's great and it's a it's like the best job ever, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, now, I know, um that some people who are familiar with the Lonely College would know this, but, uh, we are currently uh in the campus in Fremont, and then there's a second campus in Newark, so some people might just know of one or the other because they either live near or they've traveled by one or the other. Um, what are, what are, the significant differences between the two campuses, and what is it that people might find that one campus offers Um better or exclusively that the other one?

Speaker 2:

maybe doesn't like what and how does that work into what your job is? To try to try to navigate Right.

Speaker 4:

Right, right, tricky to lead uh two different campuses right, so close together yeah so close together, but so far away Right. I mean anybody anybody that lives here knows that these roads in the area are no joke. Yeah, so it's uh, you know. I think a big selling point for us to offer services in both places and have classes and programs is, uh, to cut back on the commute time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, right.

Speaker 4:

Because even to get from our Fremont campus to the Newark center it takes us a bit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

And I think it's like five and a half miles, but it's a long 25. So I mean it's a beautiful facility there. That is the uh first lead platinum certified college facility in the nation, wow.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I did not know that, that's cool.

Speaker 1:

This is the kind of stuff nobody knows.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, so it's uh, it's part of our story that when the uh, when the designers of the facility in Newark were pulling the plans together, they had these aspirations, because that's really what lead is right this environmental certification that your buildings are green yeah, um, but they were doing this work, you know, when they were planning this in the 80s and 90s, so really pretty extraordinary to be the first. And, again, it's a another thing that we should be really proud of that people should know, um, I think it that that lead platinum certification also has led to some curricular programs that I have over there.

Speaker 4:

So we have a really strong environmental science program there and then, um, all of the kind of people, professions that we have, that are the health sciences programs. Um, you know, that's a sort of a logical connection, right.

Speaker 2:

A healthy building a healthy life, healthy community.

Speaker 4:

Um, those things all kind of go together. So I think in in a lot of ways, that Newark center is a it's a really important part of this campus, uh, it's, you know, really important part of this. This institution, um, with its own identity, right, it does not need to be the same as Fremont. Uh, it's a different, different facility with a different set of folks different kind of programs different community. What? What I want to do better is? I want to serve Newark a little bit better.

Speaker 4:

So, Newark really should own that campus right. That that that we have a center there is not just because we have programs there, but it really should be anchored in this, the community um in the same kind of way.

Speaker 4:

So that's an opportunity for us. Um, and the folks in Newark have been really excited about this too. So, just as the Fremont people have really owned the Fremont campus, yeah, uh, the Newark folks are really on board, um, and they've been very supportive too. Um, but I'm excited to anchor the Newark center in the city of Newark as well.

Speaker 4:

So you know it becomes the logical partner for Newark Memorial High School and the city of Newark and, you know, in that part of that side of Fremont which is, you know, it's easier for them to go there than to get here, If you have enjoyed this podcast, consider supporting it with a small gift at buy me a coffeecom slash the Fremont podcast.

Speaker 2:

Thank you for your support and thanks for listening. Yeah, Is it. Have you been able to make connections with city officials here in Fremont and then also in Newark in your efforts to try to help the communities own these particular campuses?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, for sure. The college and the communities have a good working relationship that I was really fortunate to walk into. What's a little bit different is that I'm coming in as pandemic is kind of starting to clear, and so there's a lot of pent up interest actually in the college, which has made it pretty easy for me.

Speaker 4:

There's a lot of people that have been waiting for meetings, waiting for opportunities to meet the new president, and it may have less to do with me than just the fact that nobody got out for three years, right, right. So my timing is great to come in here as things are starting to clear up. We know it's still hovering, that's right. We have solutions for it now, so it's been great. Actually, just the campus has been super generous in opening their doors to me and really really sharing broadly. But then the community elected officials, folks from city, county, state I've had the chance to get to know all of them, that's great. And community organizations they're going gangbusters with invitations, which is great. That's great, and I'll take any invitation that I have time for.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think the first time that you and I met officially was at the Festival of the Arts and I was coming past the Aloni booth. The Fremont Chamber of Commerce hired me to be the official photographer for the event and you were there with Lily May, our mayor, and also Olivia, who is over the East Bay Regional Parks, who we've interviewed and had on the podcast since then. But yeah, that was the first time we met and you were already chatting with Lily May, so that was pretty cool to see their direct, quick connection, and that would have been in August, so shortly after you became president.

Speaker 4:

It's been really easy.

Speaker 2:

This has been a really easy community banner.

Speaker 4:

I have to say it's been a lot easier than I thought. Yeah, it's a lot of curiosity and people already know my story. They know that I'm coming from Hawaii. It's been really. I actually met the mayor the day before I started the job because I was in the 4th of July parade for Fremont.

Speaker 2:

Oh, that's right, I have pictures of you. Yes, that wasn't higher for that, that was my own, yeah.

Speaker 4:

The least arduous job ever riding in a convertible and waving at people. But the mayor was there, lily May was there and she came up to me and she said Aloha, charles, it's a welcome to Fremont. I thought, oh, this is going to be great, that's great. It was a really nice welcome. It's been easy, it's been easy.

Speaker 2:

You mentioned your experience as a chancellor recently at your previous work. What other experience do you have? What is your degrees?

Speaker 3:

in.

Speaker 2:

What are the things that brought you to where you are now?

Speaker 4:

When I went to college, I didn't know what to major in so many. I just knew I was supposed to be in college. The choice was not that. Maybe in retrospect, I should have put better thought into this. My parents were pretty insistent on two things. One was that I go to college, and the other one was that I not be at home. It's part of their own story, because my parents are both from Hawaii but met each other in Los Angeles. The reason I was born in California is because my parents have met in California. I'm the only one from my family that wasn't born in Hawaii. It was always. California was always seen as the place of opportunity for them. I think that was always in the back of my head. This idea that I would get out of the house was really important to them. I think when you get pushed out of the house, though, you always try to come back.

Speaker 1:

It's ironic, right Right. Yeah, you get away and oftentimes you experience what you think is the grass on the other side whether it looks greener or is greener.

Speaker 2:

And then there's always something about home that tugs back at you. So you did your college and I think it was Riverside yeah.

Speaker 4:

UC Riverside was great. I didn't even know Riverside until I went there to school.

Speaker 4:

It's a really neat university. I didn't know the city at all so I just thought you know what it's a UC school. How can you do wrong? And my dad had given me this terrible advice. He said that some of the terrible advice he gave me was better to be a business major than be undeclared. So I went in as a business major, which was really a mistake, and I realized immediately that I hated it and I wasn't destined to stay as a marketing person. But it made sense to him and I didn't know any better.

Speaker 4:

So I did that. So I spent some time searching, figuring out what I wanted to do, and I took a history class because it met a requirement and it was at the time when I wouldn't have to wake up too early and it changed my life and I didn't know history right. What is the job? For history I mean law school, higher ed. So as I got later in my career I realized why I need a plan.

Speaker 3:

I can't stay in college forever.

Speaker 4:

So I just started thinking, well, what do you do with this? And it really was that decision between law school or grad school and, just kind of a chance meeting, I met somebody from UC Irvine who was recruiting students into a graduate program and I got a full ride. So I went to UC Irvine and so I went into ethnic studies. So I was doing multicultural studies in Asian American history which was great. So that's the same thing again career and personal kind of coming together right, and I didn't know that that was a career.

Speaker 1:

And it was great.

Speaker 4:

Just that chance to do academic work, but have it be meaningful and do something with it in the community. And you think about these things and I mean this is in the 90s, right, like early 90s. Who would think that that would prepare me for Fremont?

Speaker 2:

right, but it was perfect.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 4:

Absolutely perfect. So, just yeah, it was really lucky and I had another kind of. I think when you get a degree, a graduate degree, you have another fork in the path between serving students or teaching them. And so I had two part-time jobs at the same time, and one was as a counseling assistant and the other one was teaching part-time. And I thought, well, I like them both, I'll go with whichever one will hire me. And so the next job I got was a full-time job, teaching, and so that is where I went. I could have done the counseling thing too, I liked it as well, but I got the job as a faculty member and that took me in a different direction. So I went to Washington state and I was there for-.

Speaker 2:

You taught at Washington state.

Speaker 4:

I taught in the state of Washington in Yakima, washington which is a rural town On an Indian reservation in central Washington. It's the part of the Evergreen state that's not green at all. It's wine country now. But, it wasn't when I was there, but it was a great experience.

Speaker 2:

And what was your specialty or what did you teach? Was it history, then? I?

Speaker 4:

taught sociology. I ended up teaching sociology. They had a race and ethnic relations program and then they had a lot of nursing and dental hygiene students who needed some cultural, cross-cultural training for their certification and for their degrees. So I ended up teaching a lot of aspiring nurses and nurse aides and RNs and dental hygienists, dental assistants. So it's kind of cool, that's cool, it's a lot of fun.

Speaker 2:

And then you went from Washington back to Hawaii, is that right?

Speaker 4:

So I went from Yakima to Seattle.

Speaker 2:

So I was in.

Speaker 4:

Seattle, which was a great place too, and then finally just thought, you know, I should get back to Hawaii. So that was the timing. Okay yeah, and then I was in. I went back to Hawaii in 2001. So then time flew by. Wow, that's cool yeah.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 2:

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Speaker 2:

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Speaker 1:

know I. I joke because my College degree is in humanities and I tell people that I'm a professional human, so I need help and I have a degree in it so I can help.

Speaker 2:

But Some part of the reason that that was where I ended up was because I also was torn between, you know, variety of things and perhaps it, maybe there was a niche that I was looking for that didn't exist, but maybe there is a, maybe there's a degree program or certification program here that the Loni offers that people might be Not aware of, and so what are some of the lesser known programs that you guys have available?

Speaker 4:

the lesser known ones. I probably wouldn't know either.

Speaker 4:

Yet I'm still learning but I have been impressed, though, at the breadth and the variety that's available here. So I mean, in a lot of ways this campus looks a lot like maybe like a UC campus, right. So we have a very traditional liberal arts and sciences base here, so you know all of those disciplines there and they all have programs and degrees that go along with it. But we have a lot of really exceptional programs that are smaller. We have a really tremendous program that does work around new media oh, and that's been. That's a really amazing program that I've gotten to know pretty well. They're doing some really neat outreach work with the correctional center and Milpitas Okay as well, doing education for folks that are incarcerated Wow, that's awesome.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, it's amazing. So you know you talk about a kind of one of the smaller, lesser known programs. This is one that we don't even market Wow it's. It's just made available to folks who really want to better their own lives.

Speaker 3:

That's cool.

Speaker 4:

We send our faculty in who teach in really challenging circumstances, right To folks who really want to improve their lives. Wow.

Speaker 4:

So it's I got the chance to go down there a couple weeks ago and it was really amazing. It's the. It's almost like teaching outdoors, you know. I mean they really are working with some, some pretty basic tools and it's interesting right, because we're teaching new media and IT To folks that don't have full access, right. So they've got a beautiful classroom that set up for the male inmates down there. Females have a little bit less Access, I think, in some ways. So we have we have to make make do a little bit more and about excited about kind of beefing that up to and Making some better services available to the female population there as well. So that's a program that's small. It's fascinating.

Speaker 2:

Really.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you know it's. It's not just that we're doing this cool work that's like really rooted in social justice, but that it's new media, arts and doing work in IT, so I mean, it's pretty, pretty exceptional. They're doing some courses around communication, right now and really Really just an extraordinary program.

Speaker 4:

I mean, we've got other things here that I've been so pleased with my first couple weeks here. There was a big production by the theater arts program, and you know they do all kinds of technical work around there stage, stagecraft and a technical theater, but then also the more traditional drama and acting. Everything that's a wrap around there. We've got a cool broadcast media program here as well. So Another program that is a little bit smaller, but one that merits as much attention as all of the others if you need it, if you need a guest speaker.

Speaker 4:

One day I'll come in and talk about that sparks me how to set up a mobile office in two minutes.

Speaker 2:

Well, I mean it actually was even quite more extreme today. I did not have a vehicle and I kind of knew that that one might happen. But I have an. I have an e-bike. So I've been in the back of my mind. I've been planning for this for a long time, in case I needed to do this. But I packed everything I have the microphone, mic stands, computer Interface, all that stuff into my backpack and I rode my e-bike here.

Speaker 4:

So I was a hill up the hill.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I.

Speaker 2:

Would have been drenched in sweat if.

Speaker 4:

I had a road, a regular bike up the hill but especially today.

Speaker 2:

It's like a 93.

Speaker 4:

What is going on. I know what happened there. I don't know.

Speaker 2:

But yeah, so that was a, that was a little little much. But yeah, I I try to make what I do professional, but at the same time I also want to make it mobile, so that I can kind of experience Matter of fact, when I got here and was set up and I heard the piano playing down there, I thought, man, that's great ambient sound to be able to have in the background I have these classical tunes playing in the background.

Speaker 2:

So that's pretty cool, yeah. So, as you look into actually one, there was one program that I was interested in and, if you had any extra information on, there's a manufacturing development program that works with Tesla amazing, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 4:

so tell me a little bit about that.

Speaker 2:

What is, what is the story behind that, or what?

Speaker 4:

Manufacturing development program. Okay so first in the nation okay. And it is a partnership with Tesla, and what it is is this to train technicians, and you know, I think it it meets their, their, their recruitment needs. Right, they need an educated population of folks from which to draw. They do really want to focus in on thinking about hiring locally, which I really admire.

Speaker 3:

It's great.

Speaker 4:

Yeah, and I'm not sure what the Genesis is, but they ended up with a partnership with us here and I imagine it probably has a lot to do with the connections right, the local connections and I love that they're doing this in their own backyard. But, yeah, we're super honored to be the first program. There are other programs in the around the country that are doing this work, but now we will always be the first. That's cool, and so it's a. It's a program that has an intensive program of study for students, where they're earning college credit but Tesla is actually paying them to be students.

Speaker 4:

Wow, so they actually they, yeah, it's. It's amazing they, they onboard them and they celebrate their hire Before they start of the program. So it's backwards instead of celebrating when they complete, they celebrate them at the beginning of the program. And they did this beautiful signing ceremony thing here a couple of months ago, invited family members from the students and celebrated each student. They did a. You know it looked like an athletic signing event. They signed a contract in front of an audience.

Speaker 4:

They put on a cap, they didn't take pictures with me and with the mayor, and it was really, really, really neat it was. It was a real real cool model. Tesla does some really interesting things.

Speaker 1:

Hmm, and.

Speaker 4:

I've been impressed, so they're. They're now coming back to us for some corporate training. We're doing some additional training for them now. Nice, which again it's we're happy to be of service, yeah, and I'm glad that they see something in this college that we can offer them that helps their corporation. So, yeah, that's a. It's a real robust partnership. I think it could continue to grow. We have a dynamo engineering professor here who has just totally anchored this program.

Speaker 4:

She's got all the credentials and all of the polish and all of the kindness and all of the rigor and all the training Wow needs, but just one of those extraordinary human beings that you wish you could kind of clone. Yeah, and she rose marketing to us. She has been an anchor for this program here.

Speaker 2:

That's great. You know, I was just this thought came to my mind. So it may not be, it may not be very clean and maybe I need to polish it up a little bit, but I was just thinking that freeman is made up of a lot of first-generation immigrants from other countries. Right, and a lot of the people that come here come here because of technology, because of the advancement of the Silicon Valley and the opportunities that are there. But the second generation, and perhaps even the third generation, may not have the same interest that their parents or grandparents did when they came here. So, whereas you know somebody might have come here because of an opportunity at Facebook or Apple or you know whatever, the next generation may be more interested in something that might be considered more of a blue-collar job. So it would be like harder for somebody who has an interest in that direction To stay around here at home because they maybe don't want to be coding and they don't want to be doing other things.

Speaker 4:

Mayor, mayor may told me a Factoid that I thought, and she's got all kinds of factoids above free one right but she was telling me that this city has more Manufacturing employers than any other city in the state.

Speaker 4:

Oh, wow, so another just interesting thing that you, you don't think about you know, but but if you look at Fremont, I mean you know this better than I would, but I'm the history of this place is Also includes Agriculture right and manufacturing right right. So these are. You know, we don't think of this as a blue-collar town, but it really still has that flavor and it does have that component of folks who have been here for a long time, who may have Families that built vibrant futures around manufacturing.

Speaker 4:

That's good, so it's not actually that far off, you know. So it might not be the reason that people move here now, I don't know. Yeah, but it's certainly part of the history of this place, and so it's one of the things that's been really interesting to me about Fremont is that Fremont is so much more than it appears to be on the surface. You know, there's kind of one story that gets told about this place, which is all you know, it's good, it's good, it's a good story right.

Speaker 4:

But I think there's a, there are a lot more layers to it and I think, when I think about this college, there are a lot of folks that maybe haven't been touched by the college right. So I'm excited about thinking about building programs for those folks and bringing them to the college and getting them the training in their own backyard and I don't know what those things are yet. You know, I haven't been here that long, but we're already having conversations about how we'll grow and you know that's what colleges are supposed to do.

Speaker 4:

They're supposed to reinvent themselves over time. So it's again. It's great timing for me to come in, because the economy in this area is doing all right. You know it's. The traditional narrative about tech is not completely true for this area. Right, it's an aberration in a lot of ways. There's still a lot of opportunity, but I don't think that the only opportunities are in tech.

Speaker 4:

So we have some other things. I really would like to look at manufacturing jobs. I would like to be thinking about what people do in labs. There are all kinds of power, professional, you know jobs that happen in laboratory situations. I mean, look at all the biotech here, right, those are not all PhD trained people that are working there. There are people with humanities degrees, right. So you have business process folks. You have people that are doing all kinds of interesting organizational development people jobs, right, those folks need training to train, so I think it's.

Speaker 4:

It's our opportunity to look more closely at what's around the area and design some quick programs for those folks as well. We already have a core of, you know, excellence, of business professions IT, stem, you know, transfer programs, health sciences but I mean we can do more, yeah. So I think I want to find some things that are relevant locally that makes sense for a Loni college. Right, we're not going to just start a right aviation program here?

Speaker 4:

right, we don't have an airport and you know that's not a high demand job for for Fremont, but there are a lot of other things that we can be doing. So we've got a we've got a task force and a group of faculty that are looking at some new program ideas that make sense for us here.

Speaker 2:

So one of one of our most listened to, probably top three episodes from the Fremont podcast was with the former president, dr Bishop, and it keeps getting a lot of downloads, so people are interested in that. I'm just wondering what you feel as far as, like, as you've come in, what were, what was maybe one of the main things that Dr Bishop did while he was here in the time that he was here, that kind of set you up to be able to continue, you know, continue on with, with that, like what was something that maybe he passed along to you that you're grateful for. That was that was helpful for you. Yeah, that's a great question.

Speaker 4:

I have not gotten the chance to meet him, but I I certainly know about the legacy that he left behind. I think it. You know he did a couple of things that I'm particularly grateful for. I think he kept this campus safe and in a time of a global pandemic, you cannot ask for better than that. Top of mind is making sure that folks don't get sick and that we take care of each other. So I think, that that was done really well, and that's a story that continues to get told about him.

Speaker 3:

That's great.

Speaker 4:

I think he also was leading during a time of tremendous societal unrest. Yes, and he did a tremendous job in leading this institution through a really difficult time of a racial reckoning, and that is also something that I'm very grateful for it. It equipped the faculty and staff and the students here with a language that is really sophisticated, and this work that that Dr Bishop led, I think it really positioned this institution to be in a good place. So I think you know, those two things are standouts for me. That's thinking about COVID recovery or handling the pandemic, and there's just this piece of this sort of post. George Floyd era such important work, right, right, and again, I'm sure it drew from his professional knowledge and some of his personal background, and I think that that's when you can really shine right, when you can do those both.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, that's a great question.

Speaker 4:

Thanks for asking that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I was. I was really honored to be able to meet him and interview him. I enjoyed the conversation and I think that it's unfortunate that he was only here for a short time. But I think that it, I think it's good service for us to be able to recognize what he did, 100% to your point. It was a very hard time to take over anything and to be able to be a part of anything. You know, I remember talking with him and him and he said that it was. You know, he spent the first I don't know how long, it was six to eight months, maybe even a year working from home because he was trying to fit, you know, because everything was shut down, right, right. I can't remember exactly what, the, what, the numbers were there, but it's just hard you know it's hard, especially you're not from the area like.

Speaker 2:

Like you, he came in from Southern California and he was able to try to navigate all of that.

Speaker 4:

So yeah, we had a lot of people that moved to Hawaii during the pandemic and worked from there Smart people, I thought well, you know, how come I didn't think of this? I could have gone to Paris, or you know. Peru somewhere else and work remote yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

I can imagine how hard that must have been. Yeah, it was a really, really an amazing time to to live through that yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know, as we kind of wrap things up, you, you said that you almost had to be convinced by your dad to even go to college, or by somebody to go to college, but your dad told you to actually choose a major. So let's say you have somebody listening to this that's questioning the reason why they ought to go to college. They might be trying to decide on what to pursue in going to college. Maybe a loanee is in their scope of choices. What would you say to a perspective or an incoming student that would be beneficial, that you think would be encouraging for them to consider before making a choice?

Speaker 4:

Yeah, you know, I think really, education is just about what's possible and I think what. What's amazing about higher education is that it exposes us to things that we don't even know exist. So I think it. You know, often we're very focused on thinking about how education will lead us into a job, but I mean honestly, if you develop yourself as a person, it also transforms your career aspirations. So I think it's for folks that are on the fence. It really is just, you know, nobody's asking you to be here and take 20 credits and eight classes.

Speaker 4:

You can just take one right, or you can take a take a weekend seminar and just come to campus and see if it's for you.

Speaker 4:

So I think it's. You know, I just never want people to limit themselves and think that it's not possible or they can't afford it. We have all kinds of services here to make it possible for anybody to come to school here. We have classes that don't require you to buy a textbook. Everything's online. We provide the you know, the books and materials for you for free. We have scholarships. I mean there's all kinds of things. People think scholarships are only for 4.0 students. We have scholarships for folks that are just high need. So it's really. It's really just I really, you know, I would love for people to come to Ohlone College, but I really just want people to get an education and if it's not, here.

Speaker 4:

that is okay with me, you know you're welcome here but, it doesn't have to be here, you just go somewhere and give it a shot. I just think that that people, I just don't want people to ever cut themselves off by what's possible by what they think is possible. So, really, just you know, this is a place where you can launch your dreams, and maybe the path is long, yeah, but that's great. Everybody, everybody deserves a better life than they have. Yeah, so this could be the place for you. That's great, that's great.

Speaker 2:

So, as I close, I heard you're a little bit of a foodie, is that right?

Speaker 4:

Oh, yes, I spend a lot of time thinking about food.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so what are some of your places that you found here in Fremont oh my gosh, that you've enjoyed.

Speaker 4:

Fremont. I'm going to be like enormous in a few years. It's been great. So, thank goodness I live in a place that has a pool and a gym.

Speaker 3:

Okay, yeah, but it's been.

Speaker 4:

Oh my gosh, where do I begin? I like this Mexican place down at the end of Thornton, milindo Sinaloa which is a great. They've got this really great taco that they have there Marlin taco. Okay, there's gosh, there's so much stuff. There's a really great noodle place down by Tesla Theo Chow noodle. It's just like amazing. Yeah, Fremont is awesome, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's, it's. I guess it's like the. I feel like it is. It has a lot of hidden treasures like a Lone College. It has a lot of hidden treasures around the city, and when you take the time to explore or trace down leads that might be presented to you, I think you find some great things out there, sure, sure, my, my Yelp list, my bookmark list, grows faster than I can knock them off the list.

Speaker 4:

That's right, faster than you can schedule times at the gym.

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 4:

Yes, yes, that's great Well.

Speaker 2:

Charles, thank you so much for being a part of the podcast and I am I'm proud to have you guys represented on the podcast, being able to hear the story of Lone College, and it's a privilege to be able to get to know you and to interview you and share your story with the listeners of the podcast.

Speaker 4:

Thanks for having me.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Yeah, it's been great, it's great Thanks.

Speaker 4:

I'd love to come back further this weekend you.

An Interview With President Charles Sasaki
Discover University's Hidden Gems and Connection
Meeting, Experience, and Career Exchanges
Exploring Partnerships and Program Development
Dr. Bishop's Education Legacy
Hidden Treasures in Fremont