By Hayley Hart
Staff Writer
Twitter: @hayleylhart

“The Wizard of Oz” was used as an example of following the yellow brick road to success as a workshop presenter spoke at the 8th annual Beverly O’Neill student leadership conference Friday, Oct. 30.

The conference attracted about 100 students and blended a mentor mixer, workshops and speakers in the LAC’s T Building.

The workshop Passion, Purpose and the Leader Within was led by LBCC’s Shamika Simpson, a collections development and outreach librarian. Simpson asked her workshop group members to consider what their passions and purposes are.

She used the example of “The Wizard of Oz” and the paths of Dorothy and the other characters she meets on the yellow brick road to simplify the things that can get in one’s way as they progress toward their goals.

Simpson said everyone has a turn in his or her road and a variety of bumps can come up, but people need to keep going to get to their goals. Goals and outside influences can lead people to their purpose and passion, Simpson said.

The two workshop sessions included four opportunities in each session. The sessions featured information about scholarships, leadership, mentors, finding one’s passion and techniques for healing from trauma or stress.

Moving back into T1100, the audience heard from keynote speaker and LBCC alumnus Chris Soriano, who said, “My major was considered biological life sciences” at LBCC. He had the opportunity to attend LBCC due to the Long Beach City College Promise.

Soriano said, “I got exposed to medicine through volunteering. I was like, ‘This is what I want to do. What do I have to do to prepare myself to go to UCLA as a pre-med?’”

Soriano took three years to complete the requirements. “Every single year was a learning process. I don’t regret coming here at all. It was lovely.

Chris Soriano, LBCC Alumnus and UCLA transfer student, majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.
Chris Soriano, LBCC Alumnus and UCLA transfer student, majoring in Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics.

“All the motivation and inspiration that I have gained from LBCC has propelled me forward to be the person that I am today. Honestly, I owe all my current success and future success to LBCC,” Soriano said.

Of the conference Soriano said, “Events like this really inspire me because it’s giving back to the community.”

A panel of former LBCC students who have transferred to universities spoke about the transition and the differences between their current schools and LBCC. They covered everything from planning study time to dorm life to the difference of class size.

The mentor mixer was in the T Building courtyard and featured professionals in various fields, speakers, workshop facilitators and alumni of LBCC.

Raquel Gonzales, 19, a communications major, said, “I think it was a really great opportunity. I’m sad that not more students came. It’s a great chance to learn definitely about the kind of leader you want to be and what roles you have to play in order to get to the place that you want to be. It’s also a great opportunity to network.”

Participants in the 8 a.m.-4 p.m. event were greeted with a tote bag with an information packet inside, a lanyard with an ID badge and a continental breakfast of pastries, tea and coffee, juice and fruit. Participants moved to T1100 to hear greetings from ASB President Dalziel Arambula.

After the two workshop sessions, participants moved to the V Building courtyard for lunch and a chance to network with other participants. The lunch included salad, enchiladas, beans and rice supplied by LBCC’s Culinary Arts Department.

O’Neill, the namesake of the conference, was LBCC president from 1988-1993 and Long Beach mayor from 1994-2006.