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Gonzalez interns with NASA, encourages other young women to pursue STEM fields

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

SJC GonzalezGONZALEZYasmeen Gonzalez will represent San Jacinto College at the fall 2016 NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars workshop.

NCAS is a five-week online workshop consisting of discussions, live video chats with NASA experts and various mission design challenges. Students will then apply for the opportunity to spend four days at a NASA center, getting an inside look at NASA missions and science, networking with NASA scientists and engineers and developing a presentation to showcase their work to a panel of judges.

"I really wanted to apply for the NCAS program just for the chance to be placed in an internship at a NASA facility," said Gonzalez, who wants to major in computer engineering. She added that while she dreams of working at NASA one day, she also has an interest in designing video games if given the opportunity.

Although technology careers are growing in numbers, the growth rate of young women entering today’s tech industry is still in its infancy. While numbers of female graduates with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees in areas such as biology and chemistry continue to rise exponentially, areas like computer engineering are still experiencing low graduate numbers. According to Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million jobs available in computing related fields. However, of the 29 percent of the qualified graduates on track to fill those jobs, women will only fill 3 percent.

Learning environments can also project barriers that educators may not be aware of. A 2015 study by the University of Washington surveyed 270 high school students with results showing that three times as many girls were interested in enrolling in a computer science class if the classroom itself was redesigned to be less "geeky" and more inviting and inclusive. Since identity and a sense of belonging are heightened during teenage years, girls are less likely to disengage from pursuing technology classes if non-traditional elements of design are incorporated into their learning spaces, thus eliminating any stereotypical assumptions about tech careers and professionals.

Gonzalez did have some encouraging words for students, especially other young women, who want to enter a STEM-related field. "Don't be afraid to take a step into what you want to do. People assume STEM programs are scary because of the science and math involved, and that fear prevents them from taking that first step forward. The faculty here want you to succeed, and they want to help you any way they can. San Jacinto College has been phenomenal in preparing and helping me achieve my academic and professional goals."

San Jac graduate builds impressive résumé

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

SJC ValdiviaVALDIVIAAriana Montelongo de Valdivia started her studies at San Jacinto College with a choir scholarship and a passion for people. She later turned that passion into a 10-year career in public relations, experience as a television producer and her very own real estate business.

After graduating from San Jacinto College with an associate degree in communications, Montelongo de Valdivia went to the University of Houston to earn her bachelor’s degrees in art and public relations. It wasn’t long before she started working for the world’s largest public relations firm, Edelman Communications and Marketing Firm.

“I managed multiple clients with Edelman, but my primary account was the City of Houston,” said Montelongo de Valdivia, who worked as a senior account executive for the firm. “My biggest job was to launch the first ever social media campaign for the 2010 census.” The campaign she created and launched won a Gold Excalibur Award from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Houston Chapter.

However, as she spent most of her years in public relations working with nonprofit organizations, Montelongo De Valdivia felt a calling of sorts.

“I spent most of my 10 years in public relations working with nonprofit organizations such as The American Heart Association, Life Gift, and Neighborhood Centers Inc.,” she said. In her role as senior account executive, Montelongo de Valdivia ran media and public relations, which involved writing speeches, press releases and managing press conferences. “I felt fulfilled working for these nonprofits, because I got to influence a lot of positive change in the community.”

Montelongo de Valdivia has always wanted to be an entrepreneur and start her own business. She felt that real estate was the perfect place to do this because of her love for people and because she is able to utilize her extensive public relations background. “Public relations is a skill that is needed in any job,” says Montelongo de Valdivia. “I think that working in public relations for so long has really helped me run my real estate business.”

San Jacinto College helped Montelongo de Valdivia realize her love for people could turn into a successful career. “I took a lot of mass communication classes at San Jacinto,” she said. “I just knew then that I wanted to work in public relations.”

“Don’t underestimate the power of a two-year community college,” Montelongo de Valdivia concluded. “I highly recommend going to a college like San Jacinto College, because it’s great way to transition from high school. I was able to really enjoy the classes in a smaller environment and get to know my professors.”

First day of school means caution on DP roads

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Schools

schoolsafetyIN SCHOOLS

Deer Park ISD welcomes students back for the 2016-17 school year Tuesday morning. Things get a little crazy on the roads during the school year: Buses are everywhere, students on foot and bikes are hurrying to get to school before the bell rings, parents are trying to drop off their students before work.

SJC tabs Stauffer to lead Maritime Center

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

John StaufferIN SCHOOLS
San Jacinto College has tabbed Chief Warrant Officer 4 John Stauffer as the associate vice chancellor and superintendent for maritime. The "advocate for the mariner" will take office Sept. 12 and will head both the credit and non credit maritime programs and head the San Jacinto College Maritime Technology and Training Center on the Maritime Campus.

Kids having fun at Kids U

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

UHCL KidsU

University of Houston-Clear Lake Kids U students, (l to r) Charlotte Maples and Kate Baggerman, watch as a balloon is inflated by gas created when they mixed vinegar and baking soda together.

The two young girls were enrolled in the Junior Mad Scientist class geared for students in grades 1-3. This was just one of the ever-popular Kids U’s offerings, which features a wide range of educational and fun activities for children from Pre-K through 12th grade.

Other summer camp topics included kitchen chemistry, crime scene investigation, computer programming, video game design, public speaking, writing, survival skills, dinosaurs, Chinese culture and many more. For more information,call the Center for Educational Programs at 281-283-3530 or visit http://kidsu.uhcl.edu.

CPA shares how San Jac taught her more than academics

Written by InsideDP.com staff. Posted in Schools

 SJC PaulissenAnn Paulissen looks back on her time at San Jacinto College and realizes she graduated with more than just a degree. Photo credit: Calyn Hoerner

Ann Paulissen started taking classes at San Jacinto College when she was offered a music scholarship. The College was a perfect fit since it was close to home, cost effective, and Paulissen’s best friend would be attending as well. She expected her time at San Jacinto College to be the perfect transition to a larger university. What she did not expect, however, was to learn more than just academic lessons. Paulissen attended SJC out of her love for music, but found there a love for accounting and the love of her life.

While studying at SJC, Paulissen was torn between two degree paths. “I was going to major in music,” said Paulissen. “But as I thought more about it, I didn’t want to move away from home for my job.” Paulissen, who always had a love for numbers, decided to completely shift education paths and earn a degree in business to work toward becoming a Texas Certified Public Accountant.

“There was a good market in that field, and I was able to take a lot of my basic classes at San Jacinto College,” said Paulissen. Other members of her family have attended the College as well. It’s also the place where she met her husband, Tim, who would later become the mayor of League City.

Since graduating with an associate degree in business from SJC and a bachelor of science degree in accounting from the University of Houston - Clear Lake, Paulissen has enjoyed a very successful career and pushed herself to continue learning. “I have taken different management and leadership classes, mainly leadership,” said Paulissen. She hopes to teach accounting in the future.

“San Jacinto College taught me organization skills and the flexibility to see more than one viewpoint,” said Paulissen. “When you’re young you don’t know a lot. The professors at San Jacinto College would teach us life lessons and recount their own experiences.” She explains that she learned to treat people with respect and how to understand the steps to success at San Jacinto College.