This blog post was written by DCCCD alumnus William Kaseu. William graduated from El Centro in Spring 2016 and plans to transfer to the University of Rochester next fall to double major in computer science and mathematics.
Becoming a DCCCD STEM scholar has been one of my best experiences at DCCCD. It is a phenomenal program because it affords its scholars the opportunity to explore the endless possibilities and boundaries of the STEM field. One of the greatest benefits of being a STEM scholar is the access to networking. In all my semesters at DCCCD, I rarely ran into a STEM student. This made it very difficult for me, as a future mathematician and computer scientist, to relate to many of my peers career-wise. I seldom got to speak about my career goals and the problems I hoped to tackle in the future as nobody around me was really interested in mathematics or computer science.
However, the DCCCD STEM Institute changed all of that by creating a vibrant environment where I could easily network. At the many STEM events that the STEM Institute hosted, I got to interact with very intelligent students who held similar interests to my own. At those events, I was able to be a STEM nerd and go berserk about physics and mathematics while talking to other scholars. I got to speak and argue about black holes, general relativity and the mysteries of mathematics, which was something I had never done before. The access to networking really exemplifies the benefits of being in the DCCCD STEM Institute.
Another benefit of being in the DCCCD STEM Institute is the types of events that are offered to STEM scholars. One such event is called the STEM Summit and it usually takes place sometime in early April. The STEM Summit is a two-day event where STEM scholars are given incredible presentations by prominent pioneers in the STEM field.
In the spring of 2015, one of our presenters was Dr. Nina Tandon, the co-founder of a tissue engineering company and an MIT graduate. In her presentation, she introduced us to what happens behind the scenes of her revolutionary tech company. We got to see where she drew her inspiration from and the reasons behind many of the decisions she makes. This was an extraordinary experience as it inspired many of us to ponder the use of STEM to change the world.
In the event, we also had a student and alumni panel that we could ask a myriad of questions. They really helped clarify the reality of pursuing a STEM degree at four-year institutions and provided us with advice to consider while we studied.
As STEM scholars, we are also given ample opportunities to take field trips. For example, last year the DCCCD STEM Institute took about ten scholars to a personalized visit at Texas Instruments. We got to see the meticulous surgical rooms that the engineers worked in and we saw, firsthand, some of the procedures they used to design their microprocessors. Texas Instruments also gave us a walk-through of their operations and their hiring process. It was a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience that was only made possible by the DCCCD STEM Institute.
But what makes the DCCCD STEM Institute so special is the incredible support structure they offer their scholars. The STEM Institute strives to encourage its students to complete their undergraduate degree and one way they help scholars is by assigning them a STEM mentor. These STEM mentors are professors at your respective colleges, and you get to meet them and discuss your future plans with them. These mentors are able to offer you valuable advice about your future plans and consistently provide you with encouragement, feedback and support, which better prepares you for your degree plan.
The DCCCD STEM Institute, however, takes it one step further by providing financial support to its scholars. This effort really helps lessen the financial burden of its students and allows them to devote more time, effort and energy into their school work.
I really, really enjoyed being a STEM scholar as it reiterated my goal of becoming a mathematician and computer scientist. The networks that I built have allowed me to create friendships that will last for decades and the events I attended helped me see the endless possibilities of science and engineering. The DCCCD STEM Institute also helped me get an intriguing and rigorous STEM internship, which gave me valuable work experience. I recommend every student to apply to the DCCCD STEM Institute as it will enhance your STEM education.
- Learn more about the eligibility requirements for the DCCCD STEM Institute.
- Take the STEM Careers Quiz through the DCCCD Foundation.
- Make sure to read more from our other DCCCD student bloggers, and stay tuned for more updates.