Monday, October 19, 2015

Q&A with the IDEA Student Center

During the last Jacobs School Student Services Open House, I sat down for a quick Q&A with a few of the staff at the IDEA Student Center (Center for Inclusion, Diversity, Excellence, and Advancement). 

Not only as staff members, but also as mentors, these extraordinary people are your resources - meet Gennie, Walter and Victor:

Gennie Miranda

What is your role at the IDEA Student Center?
I’m the assistant director. There are specific student programs I also take charge of, such as the Jacobs Undergraduate Mentor Program (JUMP), the IDEA Scholars Summer PrEP, and the tutoring program.

One of the events I help to organize each year is the Jacobs School Student Services Open House. In addition to new incoming students, a lot continuing students can benefit from attending by partaking in programs and taking advantage of what is available according to their needs. We want students to receive help they need, which may be available beyond engineering offices, for example, if a student is interested in studying abroad.

What should students know about you?
I love working with students. That’s why I’m in higher education. A lot of it is because I learn a lot from them, and I learn a lot about myself - especially in being a part of their college experience from freshman year to graduating. Hopefully I may be helpful in their journeys in some way.

Do you have a favorite mantra or quote?
I have a few. It’s hard to choose. One thing I always tell students is that things will always work out for the best. Students are always anxious about one thing or another, especially when they have decisions to make. Whatever choice you make, it’s always going to work out. Because you made that choice, you’re going to have to make it work. They always look at me, as if they’re thinking “Is that the best you can do? You can’t give me anything more specific? Tell me what to do, like really.” But for the most part, things do work out.

Walter Torrence

What is your role at the IDEA Student Center?
I am the Interim Student Life Coordinator. In essence, I am the advisor for the Triton Engineering Student Council (TESC) and most of the student organizations that fall under TESC.

What should students know about you?
I’m extremely fun-loving. I’m a big goofy big kid at heart, extremely approachable. They can come to me with anything. Also, I am very passionate about what I do, about student success, student involvement. I will bend over backwards for any student as long as they are willing to bend over backwards for themselves.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?
One of mine is a quote by Frederick Douglas. “Without struggle, there is no progress.” In essence, that says, you’re going to go through a lot of hard times, you’re going to go through a lot of challenges, but if it wasn’t for those challenges, you won’t become a stronger individual.

Victor Betts

What is your role at the IDEA Student Center?
Student Life & Diversity Coordinator. I work and advise the three diversity engineering student organizations: National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at UC San Diego.

What should students know about you?

I'm good at being a sound board when it comes to ideas and will get you to think through your thoughts by identifying possible gaps or pitfalls. I value equity, diversity, and inclusion, so I help students make those connections with engineering.

Do you have a favorite quote or mantra?

"Failing to plan is planning to fail" and "No lollygagging"!

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