STEM Speaker Series Connects Students with Alumni & ProfessionalsWed, 2 February, 2022 at 2:20 pm
Every year, the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Center at Cañada College hosts the STEM Speaker Series a series of talks from professionals and alumni in the STEM fields. This year, the Speaker Series took place over the course of two months, featuring a total of seven speakers. These speakers generously volunteered their time to help advise and guide students on their academic journeys.
Having successfully established an online format in the 2020-2021 school year while the College transitioned into a virtual campus, students joined via online video streaming to listen and learn from a variety of speakers. Although the talks were generally focused on transferring to university and starting a career in STEM, each speaker brought a distinct voice and story to the series. They ranged from the recently graduated to long-standing professionals, and covered a variety of subjects ranging from data analysis to education.
One of the greatest benefits of the Speaker Series is the opportunity that students have to ask questions and connect with professionals working in their fields of interest. Rance Bobo, STEM Transfer Liaison and the STEM Speaker Series host, sees this as one of the critical functions of the talks. “For me, it’s always the way students word their questions and how specific the questions are.” Rance sees this engagement as proof of the success of the Series. “This is an indication that the students are paying attention, have been inspired or hold an interest in the matter.”
The speakers that students got to learn from in this Series were eclectic and fascinating, and each brought valuable knowledge to Cañada students. There was Dr. Ameer Thompson, who serves as the Dean of Science and Technology at Cañada College and previously served as the Interim Dean of Natural, Social, and Applied Sciences at Contra Costa College. His impressive career is underpinned by years of persistence in education from which our students got to pull from. Another speaker was Yardley Ordonez-Hernandez, a Cañada alum who currently works as an Automation Engineer, and whose story reflects the journey of so many of our Latino students. In Yardley, students got to see what a potential future trajectory for a successful career could look like for themselves, an invaluable exercise in visualizing their own futures.
The STEM Speaker Series will return in the Spring 2022 semester. If students are undecided on a STEM career choice, they are encouraged to attend the STEM Speaker Series events and listen to former Cañada alumni who are now professionals. View past recorded Speaker Series here. The presenter’s insight and real-world experiences can and will bring much-needed enlightenment to all Cañadians!
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