VISTA Spotlight – Miriam Ureno

Miriam.jpgName: Miriam Ureno

Host Site: CSU, Stanislaus

Alma Mater: CSU, Stanislaus

Major: Psychology with a minor in Chemistry

Unexpected Results: It doesn’t matter how well organized an event, a routine, or life can be, always expect the unexpected. When I joined AmeriCorps VISTA, I was aspiring to make a difference on my campus, CSU Stanislaus, and in my local community. As a K-12 STEM Outreach Coordinator, my main focus was to reach out to students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). My resolve to complete this purpose and my passion to reach out to K-12 students was extremely strong and everything else just disappeared. I was not aware of the impact that serving would have on my family and myself. Now that I am getting close to the end of the year, I realize that our spheres of influence as VISTAs tend to interconnect and affect each other. I am extremely pleased to say that even when my programs reached out to close to 2200 participants in our community, it also positively helped to mold the lives of two young girls: my daughters. Continue reading

A Journey That Found Its Purpose

Written By Nam Kang, CSU STEM VISTA Member 2016-17 CSU Bakersfield, Fabrication Laboratory

14517481_1128013860568525_815002108047413197_n.jpgWe all wonder which kind of journey our life will take us on, where will we will be, and what we will be doing in the future. Like everyone else, I have been on that journey, unsure of what my future holds. Then one day, I wandered down a path that helped me realize what my future will look like.

I have always enjoyed being a mentor to others. Perhaps, it was the influence of great mentors that I have been blessed with in my life, or how easily I can connect with others. But my passion for becoming a great mentor has always been inside of me. Thus, wanting to pursue a career in teaching came naturally for me. Continue reading

Bridging Together Technical and Social Worlds

Written By Emily Liptow, CSU STEM VISTA Member 2015-17 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

12803200_10153427471656381_8061855602720549735_n.jpgI remember quite clearly a moment early in my undergraduate studies when I first became distraught at the social-technical divide that pervades our education system and society at large. I was excited to be taking one of my very first Industrial Engineering classes where we were exposed to some of the basic principles of the field. In one of the first weeks of class, our professor provided a brief history of Industrial Engineering, introducing us to Frederick Taylor who is considered the father of the field. Taylor is known for his contributions to industrial efficiency and development of time studies and Scientific Management.

Just a few weeks after learning about Taylor in my engineering class, we met again in a very different context. I was taking a class on the sociology of work and employment, and we had just begun learning about the formation of unions around the time of the industrial revolution. We learned of the abuses many workers faced as manufacturing companies focused on production, efficiency, and the bottom line. Taylor’s ideology of management largely contributed to the dehumanization of workers, reducing them to cogs within the manufacturing process. Continue reading

My Scary, Tepid, Exhilarating, and Mastery Journey to Conquering STEM

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Written by: Jessica Taatjes, CSU STEM VISTA 2014-2015

I was a student scared of tackling the hurdles of STEM; my journey from elementary school to college was full of academic hurdles. Ever since third grade, mathematics always gave me a tough time. In high school, I was always floating through STEM classes without thoroughly understanding the topics.  This approach backfired my senior year and required a tremendous amount of tutoring to pass and graduate with my fellow classmates. Following this experience, I became motivated to not let my academic struggles interfere with a college degree. I enrolled in community college and took the minimum amount of STEM classes required to graduate. Shortly after beginning college, I realized I had to go far beyond the minimum to pursue a career in science, my heart sank. I felt as if this would be a replay of my elementary and high school struggles, but in spite of this feeling, I was determined to reach my goals and embarked on a journey of treacherously high hurdles.

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PEEPS: Not Only About Marshmallows

Written by Jeffrey Cabanez, CSU STEM VISTA 2014-2015

IMG_0720When you hear the word PEEPS, what comes to mind? Probably five yellow marshmallows shaped as tiny chickens, or five pink marshmallows shaped as tiny bunnies, placed in a box wrapped in plastic. You know, the candy that everyone likes for two months out of the year but is irrelevant for the other ten. When I hear the word PEEPS, I think academic learning communities, professional development opportunities, block scheduling, and financial aid.

At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I am working with a brand new scholarship program called the Program for Engineering Excellence for Partner Schools, cleverly shortened to PEEPS. PEEPS aims to recruit, retain, and graduate engineering students from underrepresented backgrounds. To recruit students to apply for our scholarship program, we worked with Admissions and Financial Aid to see what target group would benefit the most. We decided that Cal Poly Partner Schools would be the students we recruit from. A Cal Poly Partner High School is a high school that meets one or more of the following criteria:Jeffrey (2)

  • The school is part of the College Preparation Partnership Program introduced by Senator Hayden.
  • The school supports First Generation student’s efforts to attend college.
  • The school primarily serves students eligible for free or reduced school lunch.

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2014-2015 Position Openings!

From July 2014-July 2015, CSU STEM VISTA members will serve as liaisons between campus host sites and their community partners so that CSU students can participate in mentoring and academic support programs, as well as engaged learning experiences such as service learning, internships and undergraduate research. VISTAs will also support K-12 student success in STEM through departmental partnerships with local K-12 schools, after school programs, local science museums and other youth programs.CCE-16433-2014 VISTA-Flyer

CSU departments participating in the inaugural year of the CSU STEM AmeriCorps*VISTA Program are:

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Center for Excellence in STEM Education+
Fresno State College of Science and Math+
Fresno State Construction Management Program
CSU East Bay Institute for STEM Education+
San José State College of Science+
CSU Monterey Bay Division of Science and Environmental Policy and Service Learning Institute
CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology (CSUPERB)+
CSU Council on Ocean Affairs, Science, and Technology (COAST)
Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering+
+indicates that the department will host two VISTA members

Check out the 15 available positions here: