Community Profile: Tomie Lenear

Tomie Lenear (he/him/his), Program Coordinator, Student Parent CenterHeadshot of smiling person with a shaved head and neatly trimmed facial hair wearing a dark button down shirt with collar.

What does your program, unit, or division do on campus?

The Student Parent Center supports students who are parents at UC Berkeley. We provide holistic and formal resources for student parents as needed.

Describe your job in five words:

Unique, difficult, misunderstood, rewarding, impactful.

Why Berkeley?

If a student who is also a parent has earned the right to succeed academically at UC Berkeley, their status as a parent should be fully embraced, not accessorized. That being the case, why not Berkeley?

Over your career, what are some of the things that have helped you move to the next level and to new opportunities?

Being open-minded when learning new skill sets and student service techniques has helped me tremendously, outside of my desire to maximize the presence of my position on campus. Also worth noting is the power of respectful campus rapport, my focal point being student parents themselves.

What is the best advice a mentor has given you in work, life, or beyond?

Do the right thing because it's the right thing to do, not for show or for the acceptance of other people. Better to be respected than just merely liked, but mutual respect and diplomacy is the key. Allies cost less than enemies.

What motivates you to do your best work?

When I meet a new student parent who is on the verge of transcending their worst fears and expectations, that motivates me to support them past it, because I’ve seen how far a self-motivated student parent can take themselves, once they realize their own greatness as both student and parent.

What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?

Being a Black and Brown father in settings where there’s no concept of that at all. Being a security guard was the other one. Lol.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about you?

My father in-law is Country Joe McDonald.

What are you most looking forward to this year?