BESST Graduate Prepares for Doctorate

Jairo Maldonado-Contreras

Attending high school on California’s Central Coast, Jairo Maldonado-Contreras got good grades, but didn’t plan to attend college. He sent out a few applications because his friends did, and was surprised when he was accepted at Long Beach State University.

Contreras chose to study engineering because he liked math. He also hoped to provide a better life for his mother, Rosa, who supports the family by picking strawberries. “When I got my acceptance, she was happy for me but also brokenhearted that I was moving three hours away,” he said. “We were always accustomed to looking after each other.”

Luckily for Contreras, he arrived at Long Beach State as the College of Engineering was establishing the Beach Engineering Student Success Team (BESST), a support program for incoming freshmen, particularly those from diverse backgrounds and with greatest need. Students attend a summer camp before the semester starts, go to classes and social activities as a group, and receive individual and group tutoring and mentoring. Continue reading “BESST Graduate Prepares for Doctorate”

STEM Day Speaker: ‘No Limit to What You Can Accomplish’

CSULBCOE5 Nearly 200 middle and high school students on Friday got to make slime monsters, Styrofoam gliders, spaghetti marshmallow bridges and balloon rocket cars—as well as hear advice from successful engineers. Dean Forouzan Golshani welcomed students to the College of Engineering’s third annual Engineering@theBeach STEM Day, saying becoming an engineer will let them “contribute in many ways to improving the quality of life.”

Speaking at STEM Day, Robin Thorne, a chemical engineer and CEO of Long Beach-based CTI Environmental Inc., told students that things can seem difficult, but bad situations can be overcome. “I want to share some of the things I’ve learned along the way,” said Thorne, adding that “My path to engineering wasn’t always a bed of roses.” Among the tips Thorne shared: Always encourage someone else and celebrate your success. Continue reading “STEM Day Speaker: ‘No Limit to What You Can Accomplish’”