Imagine YOUR tool belt at this moment in time. After attending this program, reflect on the tools you would add to your toolbelt? This is just one of the important questions History Professor Rosie Bell asked her class to reflect on after attending the Fall 2021 Social Science Unwrapped Speakers Series at Skyline College. Social Science Unwrapped (SSU) is designed to connect the Social Sciences to our 21st Century future and the skills that contribute to students’ success and student reflections (as seen below) indicate that it has successfully achieved this goal.

Speakers talked about their paths to social science, social science research experiences, and specific 21st century toolbelt skills that impacted their professional journey. The inaugural speaker Geography Professor, Rachel Cunningham, discussed her research on Public Perceptions of Levees and Risk which investigated human perception and behavior around levee failure risk in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region of California. She specifically described the importance of the 21st century skill of ”emotional intelligence” and her discussion of empathy left a lasting impression on students as did her willingness to try so many new and unfamiliar opportunities and network through those experiences on her journey to her dream job – Professor of Geography.

Dr. Shaun Perisho shared his research on Fractal Scaling in Bottlenose Dolphin Echolocation and his fascinating path from English -> Physics -> Music -> Marine Science -> Psychology. He connected the 21st century skill of ”collaboration” to his work, inspiring one student to reflect:

Dr. Perisho never thought that his expertise in Physics would land him a job in Marine life. That is where the importance of collaboration is so important. It comes full circle like he mentioned. An area of expertise you have on a subject can create further developments, leaps and bounds (over) what a single person can do…”

Dr. Rika Yonemura-Fabian impressed students with her ability to put words into action. She shared her understanding that 21st century skills are taught in school and was also emphatic that this learning is enhanced and reinforced when implemented in real life. She encouraged students to think about the 21st century skill of “communication”, inspiring one attendee to present Dr. Yonemura-Fabian the perfect opportunity to describe the impact of student communication on teaching and learning with this question:

“Was there ever a comment a student made or a perspective a student shared that changed or influenced your view/opinion on a topic/social movement/theory?”

Economics Professor, Don Uy-Baretta, brought economics to life with eye catching real-time visual representations of the ways economics impacts our daily lives. By sharing his personal path to an economics career, inspired at age 6 by the sound of jingling coins in a pocket, Professor Uy-Baretta discussed Career Choices in Economics. He connected the 21st century skills of “information literacy” and “creativity” to an economist’s success and fielded questions ranging from the future of cryptocurrency to how you decide what data is “good” data.

History Professor, Rosie Bell, wrapped up the Fall 2021 session of SSU with Education is Liberation challenging us to think critically, question, reflect, and then change oppressive structures; and reminding us that education frees our minds and opens the door to lifelong learning. Attendees left understanding that without education and the 21st Century skill of “critical thinking”, we are all slaves who don’t know we need to be freed. L

Recordings of all sessions are available at


Social Science Unwrapped (SSU) – Spring 2022 will continue to share how the Social Sciences can help you navigate locally, nationally, and globally and illustrate how the Social Sciences are a highway to endless possibilities. Look for more chances to learn from faculty who combine their academic expertise with a service mindset.

The series will kick off on Wednesday, February 23rd from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.


SPEAKER:        Steve Aurelio, Skyline College Professor of Administration of Justice

TOPIC:             From Cop to Classroom:  My journey toward dual careers in public service!


Four additional conversations are scheduled this semester on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

March 9                       Tamara Perkins, Film

March 23                     Lori Slicton, Anthropology

April 13                        Tricia Murajda, Sociology


SSU is FREE and Open to All.

Sign up to attend on Zoom at:

For more information, or to request a link to the webinars, please contact Chris Woo at or Jennifer Merrill at Instructors interested in adding an SSU assignment to their course syllabus should contact Rosie Bell at

Article by Chris Burwell-Woo

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