New STEM room a boon

Bertin Rodriguez

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

The department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics received its very own tutoring room last month, and it is expected to help STEM majors be even more successful while at Bakersfield College.

Interim Dean of Instruction for STEM Liz Rozell said that there are more than 3,500 BC students who are currently majoring in one of the fields of STEM and the new, large room in the Math Science building is going to allow STEM students to harness their skills more than before.

“The new STEM area will serve as a classroom for instruction in STEM disciplines, an overflow study area for MESA [Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement] and STEM students to receive tutoring and supplemental instruction, and a collaborative meeting area for STEM faculty,” said Rozell.

“It incorporates new interactive projector technology that enhances the learning environment for the type of problem-solving courses in the STEM disciplines.”

Travis Burns, a transfer mentor for the STEM department, said his job, along with the other transfer mentors, is to prepare students majoring in STEM to enter the workforce upon completion of college and to help the students really grasp the importance of their classes while in college.

Burns said the money used to pay for the rooms in the MS building to be remodeled was put aside just for STEM, and came from a grant that in his opinion, was money spent in a great way.

“With regard to the new room, the money was very well spent.  In the past, the only STEM major with an official study/tutoring center was math, and the room they had was too small with not enough white board space,” said Burns.

“Now we have a centralized area where all STEM students can come to get the help they need from people that have a track record of excellence in those fields. The grant money that was spent on the room was earmarked specifically for helping STEM students become successful, and ultimately they will need a place to study as a group in order to do that.”

STEM and MESA used to have to share a room in the Science Engineering building and the students in STEM did not have access to all the instruments they needed to study correctly.

“If you have ever visited the MESA center, you will be shocked to know that small room serves over 165 students, or should I say tries to serve,” said Rozell.

“With over 3,500 students majoring in STEM disciplines (biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, geology, mathematics, and physics) at Bakersfield College, we are seeking to provide support services that assist these students in succeeding in challenging academic fields. The new STEM area will provide the space and resources for at least some of our booming STEM student population.”

Burns said that the new STEM room is going to allow for students to get together to study, which he said is very helpful in achieving maximum success and that by having their own place for their major-specific studying, it’s only going to allow them to be more successful.

“By coming together they can help each other, and get help from us when they need it.  Many people have tried studying in the library, but discussions over how to do complex chemistry formulas and mathematic equations are too loud for that area,” said Burns.

“Some people have gone to the MESA center, but that resource is supposed to be limited to students with economic and educational disadvantages as seen by the state.  Here [in the new STEM room] we have a place all students in STEM classes can come and get the help and encouragement they need.”