As the steward of OC STEM Project Acabado I work closely with our partners and always look forward to having them meet the students we serve. Sometime before they head home they normally pull me aside to gush about this amazing student they met during their visit. It hasn’t ever been the same individual.
It always makes me smile. The people with the capacity and talent to use science, technology, engineering and mathematics to serve our community and solve vexing issues are studying right here at OC today.
Andres was one of two of last year’s graduates who spent the summer as interns for Microsoft in Seattle before heading to Cal for the Fall semester. Andres and Rafael cemented their friendship at OC where they served as leaders for SHPE and mentors for FYE. Today they’re roommates and classmates studying computer science. Andres stopped by OC during one of his last weeks home for the summer.
He asked to chat with me in my office. I could see by the gleam in his eyes he had something he wanted to say.
He told me about the first week in the academy. Attendees were the best and brightest our nation could offer. Group work framed the learning and leaders were expected to percolate up. He shared that in the back of his head he wondered who’d lead?
OC had provided loads of opportunities and so had his experience growing up and going to school in Oxnard/Hueneme.
Andres said, “I knew I could lead in Oxnard. You know: FYE, SHPE, soccer. But, this was different. I was there with people from the best universities in the nation.”
He paused and then said, “I stepped in. I belonged. Just like you said.
I led. It was such a confidence booster. Now when I go to Cal I can say I know that I could lead at OC, I could lead at Microsoft and I can do it anywhere.”
Last year about a dozen OC students were accepted to schools of engineering. They went to Cal, UCSB, Cal Poly SLO, CSU Long Beach, CSUN and more. That’s just our engineering students. There are so many more.
Now, let me tell you about this amazing STEM student I know at OC…