Commissioned Officer portrait of Ajita Menon, Special Assistant to the President for Higher Education Policy in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building of the White House, Jun. 30, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

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A Message From Calbright President Ajita Talwalker Menon

Dear friends and colleagues, 

As 2022 comes to a close, I’d like to thank you for your continued support and interest in Calbright as we build this new College from the ground up. The end of the year provides an opportunity to assess our growth roughly halfway through our start-up period, and celebrate our progress – products of the dedication of Calbright’s faculty and staff and a reflection of the incredible promise of our students. 

Calbright is the leading edge of the learning curve for solving the complex equation of how to best nurture the success of non-traditional students. This is a shared challenge across the California Community Colleges system, and early indicators tell us we’re on the right track. Our student body grew by 118% in 2022 and now stands at 1,630. Further, more than 70% of students identify as members of the BIPOC community and nearly nine-in-ten cite our model as the reason their program was accessible. 

Behind all of these numbers are real aspirations and goals. One of our recent graduates, Alana, moved to California from Hawaii and didn’t have the resources to finish her bachelor’s degree. She had previously worked in a research lab and was able to find short term positions, but those didn’t provide enough to make ends meet. She knew she needed a formal credential, and so she enrolled in Calbright’s IT Support program to prepare to earn her CompTIA A+ certificate – a gateway to the IT sector. After she passed her first certificate test, she was hired by a small company that provides IT support to organizations that don’t have in-house teams. In eight months, she went from no credential, to a credential, a job, and a raise. In her own words, she says: “This job is everything I’d hoped for, and more.” 

Stories like Alana’s animate our purpose and speak to the unique needs of adult learners and those who can’t afford to make the impossible decision of going back to school or going to work.

Wishing you and everyone in the Calbright community happy holidays and a wonderful New Year.


Ajita Talwalker Menon
President & CEO

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