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 – Blake Lopez

Blake.jpgName: Blake Lopez

Host Site: California State University, Bakersfield (CSUB)

Alma Mater: California State University, Bakersfield

Major: Engineering Sciences

Background: Throughout my time at CSUB, I have worked as: a morning Dock Associate at FedEx Freight, an English and Math tutor for the Supplemental Educational Services, an Engineering Transfer Mentor at the local Junior College, and an intern at the CSUB Fabrication Lab. These positions, and my current CSU STEM VISTA role, have helped guide me toward my goal of becoming a teacher in STEM fields, especially mathematics. Ironically, I was the typical student who would go to class and leave immediately without spending unnecessary time on campus. Now, my position requires me to be involved with all of the STEM clubs for the School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering (NSME) and many other extracurricular activities on campus. 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