Sophomore Year Success Panel 2012

April 1, 2013

The CSUN Career Center hosted a panel discussion called “Sophomore Year Success” on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012.  At the event, freshmen and sophomores heard tips and stories from current juniors and seniors and a recent CSUN graduate that detailed methods they implemented in their academic lives to gain the most benefits.  Five of the six panelists were currently serving as peer

mentors in the Building Connections for Success program.

It is 4 p.m. and the Sophomore Year Success panel is about to begin.

A line of freshmen and sophomores are outside the Sierra Center’s Colleagues Room as students are still trying to enter.  The aroma of pizza fills the room as boxes of it are brought up for attendees to enjoy.

Additional chairs are brought into the room to provide more needed seats.  In the end, the seats did not prove enough.  Some students resorted to sitting on the floor or standing in the back.  The room was packed and attendees were ready to listen.

At approximately 4:10 p.m., Monique Corral, Career Advisor, and Patrixia Galang, Career Peer Mentor, the evening’s moderators, let attendees know that the panel was beginning.  The night’s discussion focused on choosing a major, networking with professors and students, utilizing CSUN’s outlets for internships and succeeding in areas to grow in one’s academic and career life.

Armando Yañez, a Kinesiology major, is the President of the University Ambassadors, Vice President of Phi Delta Theta and Peer Mentor with Building Connections for Success.  He related that his advisor helps him with gaining connections.  He said, “My advisor was pretty tough, but I earned his respect through involvement and I work for him now.”

Yañez said, “Always give it your all.  Never end something and then question yourself.”

Brianna Broady, a Communications major and Pan African Studies minor, is the Assistant Coach of the Matador Speech and Debate Team.  She spoke on the determination she needed in her desire to apply to graduate school for communication studies.

Broady said, “I hate the waiting that will arise to get the results.  It would be the hardest thing.  If I do not get in, I will work for experience.  I am going to keep trying until it happens.”

The mood of the night’s panel illustrated the passion and drive the panelists felt in attaining their individual goals.

Many of the first-year students, in the audience that night were part of the Building Connections for Success (BCFS) program.  In addition to other support services, students in the BCFS program participate in two sessions with the Career Center as part of their University 100 experience.

The first session takes place in the Career Center.  During this session students are introduced to the career exploration process and Career Center resources including Pathways, and engage in self-discovery activities on interests and strengths.

The second session introduces students to strengths-based learning concepts, where an understanding of talents and strengths is fostered and students are guided to apply this understanding to career and academic decision-making.  Of 569 first-year students who participated in the strengths-based session during Fall 2011 and completed a survey, 85% agreed that as a result of the session, they better understand that using their talents and strengths will influence their achievements.

Similarly, the night’s panelists displayed a desire in pursuing a passion that resonates with their talents and strengths.

Malek Al-Marayati, a Marine Biology and English Honors double major, is senator of the CSUN Associated Students Student Government, Research Assistant in the marine ecology lab of Dr. Mark Steele and Peer Mentor with Building Connections with Success.  He establishes three resources that helped him to succeed: faculty, Oviatt librarians and the CSUN Associated Students.  He advises everyone to build a great relationship with their advisor because he or she knows the area in which the student desires to pursue.

Fabian Cook, an Accounting major, is the Mentor-Mentee Director of Beta Alpha Psi, Epsilon Chi Chapter (Accounting Honor Society); Vice President of Activities with the Association of Latino Professionalism in Finance and Accounting; Meet the Firms Director with the Accounting Association; and Peer Mentor with Building Connections with Success.  He said that it is through joining campus organizations focused on business that lead him to internships.

Johanna Quintanilla, a CSUN alumna(Child and Adolescent Development major), is the High School Outreach Coordinator,

Graduate Assistant and a Lead Peer Mentorwith Building Connections for Success.

Johanna Quintanilla addressed issues of dealing with financial aid.  She said she would first use her financial aid money toward tuition, books, and other university costs.  After, she would send the remainder of the financial aid into her parents’ saving

account.  Then she would be unable to readily spend it.

Quintanilla stated that she recently used her saved money to buy her first car.  Her continued focus and saving principles enabled her to reach a goal.  She said, “It was really important to me to buy my own car.  My father offered, but I did not want to put the added burden on him.”

Cameron Geller, a Microbiology major, is a Research Assistant in the Biology Department, part of Phi Delta Epsilon (a pre-medical co-ed professional fraternity), involved in the CSUN California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA) and Peer Mentor with Building Connections for Success.
The night’s activities ended with students in the audience being encouraged to talk to the panelists and build connections.His quote summed up the meaning of the night’s festivities.  He advises, “Really decide something you are getting into is something that you love.  It will make you more willing to put in the time for your studies.  I eat, sleep and dream biology.”