VISTA Spotlight – Tiffany Seik-Ismail

15844360_10154915175999224_6445558257897335318_o (1).jpgName: Tiffany Seik-Ismail

Host Site: Cal Poly Pomona, Maximizing Engineering Potential

Alma Mater: Case Western Reserve University

Major: BA in Biochemistry and Psychology / MA in Bioethics

Background: As a child, I always wanted to become a doctor. I continually thought to myself, “how else could I care for someone to help them thrive?”

However, as an undergraduate, I learned about the many different ways people support one another and how the support creates little ripples that can positively benefit someone’s life. I had been so focused on academics throughout my K-12 education that I had completely forgotten about giving back to the community and helping others in the same way I had been helped. I mistakenly believed that the support should come from individuals more experienced, more senior, or who already had a degree—I didn’t think that I could make the difference. Continue reading

VISTA Spotlight: Noe Mora

Noe_withStudents

Name: Noe Mora

VISTA Host Site: Cal Poly Pomona, Maximizing Engineering Potential

Alma Mater: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo / Loyola Marymount University

Major: BA Liberal Studies for Elementary Education / MA Guidance and Counseling

Background: During undergrad my very first job was in campus dining. Oh how I loved the free food after working for a couple of hours. I was in the basement of a dining facility chopping fruits and vegetables or making custom salads upstairs. I then sought a job in education as a tutor for a local continuation high school where I tutored at-risk youth pursuing their  high school diploma. I also worked with Cal Poly Commencement during graduation ceremonies. I participated in about 5 graduation ceremonies before I officially crossed the stage. It was amazing to see the large gathering of families, students, and university staff to acknowledge another cohort of students receiving a bachelor’s degree. Continue reading

Girl Power and Building Self-Efficacy 

IMG_0730

Jaklen Keshishyan, CSU STEM VISTA

Written by Jaklen Keshishyan, CSU STEM VISTA 2014-2015

In 1988 my parents left their home town in Armenia and made the courageous journey to the United States of America with the hope of a better tomorrow for my sisters and me.  Growing up I was always expected to go to college, but no one ever knew how to help me navigate my way to higher education. By trial and error, I found my way to California State University, Northridge (CSUN), where I earned my Bachelor’s in Child and Adolescent Development. During my time at CSUN, I took part in multiple internship and outreach opportunities like; The Blues Project, Jointed Advocates on Disordered Eating, The Peer Health Exchange, and The Child and Family Guidance Center. My internship experiences connected me to the populations of students that were from similar backgrounds as me. Being from a first generation, underserved, underrepresented population, I understood the obstacles that the students were experiencing and therefore wanted to help them find their way to higher education. What better way to do this than to serve as a VISTA member?  I was selected by the CSU Chancellor’s Office and AmeriCorps*VISTA to serve at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona to support and develop K-12 outreach. As the STEM Student Success Coordinator and Community Liaison for the College of Engineering, I have the privilege of reaching out to the local community and connecting organizations with our faculty, staff, and students. My role as a VISTA member isn’t just to provide support to those I cross paths with today, but it also builds a foundation for future projects. Continue reading

Maximizing Your Resources, Meaningful Connections

Noe_withStudents

Noe Mora, CSU STEM VISTA

Written by Noe Mora, CSU STEM VISTA 2014-2015

Becoming a CSU STEM VISTA has been a roller coaster ride with the sharpest twists and turns you’ve ever seen, if you like rollercoasters like me, that’s a good thing! It has been a surreal experience to say the least. I’ve met professors, directors, coordinators, advisors, student leaders, the list goes on. I currently serve as the Tutoring Coordinator for the Maximizing Engineering Potential program at Cal Poly Pomona. A program that serves 400+ engineering students that are first-generation college students or from low-income families, in many cases our students fall into both. This year the program enrolled 120 freshmen, the most students in the program’s history, with over 50% of them being female, another first. I was a bit overwhelmed at when I first arrived. I felt like a caterpillar moving slowly, learning the ropes and waiting for the right time to become a butterfly. Sorry, I’m horrible at metaphors.  October 3rd, 2014 was my day to come out of my cocoon, spread my wings and fly.

Continue reading