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

VISTA Spotlight – Kimberly Torres

Name: Kimberly TorresIMG_8524.JPG

Host Site: California State University, Long Beach BUILD

Alma Mater: California State University, Fullerton

Major: Political Science

Background: Since my freshman year of high school, I had a clear understanding of what I wanted to do in life. Fast forward to the junior year of my undergraduate career, I had mixed feelings about my major and career choice. I dedicated my undergraduate career to studying political science in order to learn the law and the inner workings of the government while pursuing a law degree. Continue reading

My STEM Legacy: Leaving a Larger and Lasting Impact

Brandy_science in the parkWritten by Brandy Hyatt, CSU STEM VISTA 2014-2015

Last year if you were to ask me if I would consider a second year of service, my answer would have been no. But, here I am five months into my second year as an AmeriCorps VISTA.

Last year I was lucky enough to participate in an AmeriCorps state and national program; tutoring math to 4th and 5th graders. After my first year of service I realized I wanted to do more. Although I was making an individual impact, I was not making an impact on the larger issue at hand: a deficiency in mathematics, and similar subjects for underrepresented students.


I searched for a position that would give me an opportunity to focus on the larger issue and found the California State University STEM VISTA position available at CSU East Bay in the Institute for STEM Education. It was a perfect chance for me to learn about what initiatives were in place to increase the number of underrepresented students going into fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

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


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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