VISTA Spotlight – Cheyanne Ramón

Cheyanne_IAmVISTAName: Cheyanne Ramón

Host Site:
Fab Lab at the California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB)

Alma Mater: University of California, Riverside

Major: B.S. in Biology

Background: If you had asked me when I was younger, “’what’s your favorite subject?” I would have answered art or history, anything but science. That was before my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Holland, changed the way I looked at science. Science didn’t appeal to me, or to our entire class, and when Mrs. Holland found out about this, she changed the way she taught it. She added videos to lectures, experiments, and arts and crafts. Through her love of science, I found my own.

I attended the University of California, Riverside and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology. Biology is such a broad subject that I was able to explore and take a variety of classes. And in my senior year I fell in love with ecology and IMG_6187botany. I was fascinated at how easily an ecosystem could be thrown off balance by one organism and how plants could sense light and gravity and grow towards or against it. I was also fortunate enough to work in a botany and ecology lab under my introduction to plant biology professor, Dr. Jeffrey Diez. In his lab, I went through data sets in search of trends and explanations for fluctuations of native and exotic plants in the Box Springs of Riverside County. He also allowed me to conduct my own research, where I looked at the seed production and dispersal rate of different species to predict which ones would dominate after the next wet season. I really enjoyed working in his lab and I loved how like a puzzle, the data would reveal bits and pieces of a picture.

As graduation approached, I looked for similar positions and stumbled upon the CSU STEM VISTA page and applied to another lab (without reading the whole description*) and was accepted!

*you should always read things carefully!!!

Ah-ha moment: When I applied to the Fab Lab, I thought Fab was just a name and had no idea it was part of a global network of labs that originally stemmed from MIT. Before I started I did some research and found out it was an engineering lab and not a biology or chemistry lab like I was used to. I was scared because I didn’t know anything about engineering. On my first day my supervisor, Matt, brought me into the lab and I was immediately overwhelmed by the all the machines. After a few tutorials and days of playing around with the software and machines, I found that everything was quite easy to operate and I began making stickers and key chains left and right. I came into the lab thinking that it would be complicated and boring since I didn’t have a background in engineering, but it was actually very interesting and creative and definitely changed my mindset about engineering.

Future Goals/Plans:  I always wanted to be a teacher when I was younger. As the K12 Outreach Coordinator at Cal State Bakersfield’s Fab Lab, I have been able to experience being back in a classroom and I really like it. I am magicschoolbusonly beginning to research credential and masters programs and I still need to study and take my CBEST and CSET but soon I could be the next Ms. Frizzle.

Legacy: My role at the Fab Lab is to introduce students to digital fabrication through in-class and after school activities, and coordinating lab tours. I hope that these students find the lab as fun and easy to use as I do, that way they’ll remember STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as something they can do. I would love to hear that these students continued to learn and create and went on to become engineers in the future.


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