The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Students broaden horizons during Math and Science Day

High school and middle school students attended the Math and Science Day event administered by the Educational Talent Search program at CSUN Jan. 13. This is the first time ETS has done the event in order to encourage low-income and underrepresented students to enroll in fields of science, math and engineering.

“This day was designed with you in mind,” said Niki Dixon, ETS program director, to the students sitting at the Grand Salon.

The students come from public schools where they do not get exposure to these two different fields, said Dixon.

ETS is a federally funded program and has been in existence for the past years after it received a grant, said Dixon.

When writing the grant, ETS specifically selected the high schools they wanted to serve such as San Fernando High School, Sylmar High School, Van Nuys High School, among others, said Dixon.

In these high schools, students attending are usually first-generation college bound students and from low-income families, said Dixon.

Professor Maria Elena Zavala, a CSUN biology professor and keynote speaker at the event, addressed some students in the back rows who were talking to each other and told them to take advantage of the opportunities they are being given because they will be useful one day.

Zavala said she is the first Chicana to have a doctorate degree in her field in the U.S.

“I don’t want to be the only Chicana scientist in this school,” she said to the students.

Zavala said the only thing that can’t be taken away is an education.

The event was broken down to having a different schedule for each high school or middle school, said Maria Rodriguez, ETS advising coordinator. She has worked with two middle schools and two high schools during her three months at ETS.

During the event Rodriguez toured with Monroe High School to the marine biology lab where students could see fish species and ask questions.

Rodriguez said that the students in her class were recruited if they showed an interest in science and math first, then she motivated those who weren’t sure to participate in the event.

She roughly estimated that her class is about 90 percent minority students, if not more.

“This is an amazing program, this is what I love doing and I kind of make a difference,” she said.

The program also helps students with applying for scholarships and colleges, Rodriguez said.

Keveenia Ridley, 16, a Monroe student in Rodriguez’s group, said she wasn’t very interested in marine biology, but said that she wants to become a paramedic.

The groups were divided by schools and not by subject-area interest, so Ridley wasn’t alone with her answer.

Jackey Arriaga, 17, from San Fernando High School, said her interest was in economics, but she toured with the engineering group.

In the lab, Arriaga said she saw how micro robots could be inserted into the skin and doctors can monitor someone’s health without doing an operation.

Like many of the students at the event, Arriaga said that she would be the first one to go to college from her family.

Antonio Vallin, an eight grader from Olive Vista Middle School, said he is planning to do something with science and math.

“I’m good with numbers,” Vallin said.

Sisters Denise and Evelyn de Santiago both said they want to work with children in their careers, only Evelyn said she plans to exercise her field within science. Denise said she wants to be a lawyer.

The students are asking questions, Dixon said, they are asking questions about the field which translates to them having interest in it.

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