Name: Cheyanne Ramón
Host Site: California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Alma Mater: University of California, Riverside (UCR)
Major: B.S. Biology
Background: Last year, I was a CSU STEM VISTA member serving at Cal State Bakersfield. I worked as the K-12 Outreach Coordinator for their Fab Lab; a lab filled with computer controlled machines (laser cutters, 3D printers and more!) where you could make almost anything. Coming to CSU Bakersfield, I had aspirations of becoming a teacher. Personally, STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) at young age seemed boring until my teacher made it her mission to change my mind. I wanted to be that person for the students of Kern County, to inspire them into STEM. As the outreach coordinator, my job was to bring K-12 students to see the lab, expose them to the engineering design process, develop activities, and discuss their real world applications. At the end of my term, I got a taste of running the program – training student assistants, planning, and executing lessons. Although I loved working in a classroom, I changed programs this year to get a feel for working in higher education and running a large program while collaborating with faculty, staff, and various departments. I am currently a staff member in Cal Poly Pomona’s Maximizing Engineering Potential.
- Be adaptable – As VISTAs we get thrown into new and/or ongoing programs with different staff members and students, or neither. Work changes, so be a chameleon!
- Be vocal – Let your voice be heard in meetings and discussions. You have a unique set of experiences that landed you this job, you can and should contribute!
- Be resilient – Sometimes the work is hard, but know that you are making a difference! You are doing something that means something! You can do it!
- Be excited – Let your passion shine in your work!
- Be social – Network! Not only will your LinkedIn connections grow, they could provide help/support for your VISTA program, or it might land you a job post-VISTA.
- Make friends – Get to know your co-workers and the students, it will make work more enjoyable!
Legacy: Research was a bit tricky for me get into at UC Riverside (UCR). At Cal Poly Pomona, there is an Office of Undergraduate Research, while at UCR students had to know which professors were looking for students. This process is what drew me into being the research coordinator; I remember what a difficult experience it was to find and join a research project. My program goal is to match our students with research and internship opportunities so that they are better prepared to work in industry. It would also be really awesome to get something named after me here. *
Future Goals/Plans: I am still researching graduate schools. Being a part of the CSU STEM VISTA program allowed me to experience both working in a classroom and as part of a university department. I enjoyed my time working in a classroom, but I think my real passion is student services. I want to be a part of a program like the ones that helped me succeed in college, and maybe one day be the director!
* The outreach program at Cal State Bakersfield is now referred to as Connecting High-Tech Education to Youth or C.H.E.Y. for short.