DMC aims to get kids ready for STEM field

Nomaan Khan

With technology creeping into nearly every field, Del Mar College hopes to ensure student are well-prepared to enter the workforce. The college has an extensive science discipline that offers many courses in STEM, all equipped with current facilities, an experienced faculty and a comfortable learning environment.

“We have to take full advantage of technology and utilize it toward cycle learning,” said chemistry professor Daniel Lindley.

Lindley said he likes to engage and excite his students into progression, so he makes use of resources such as Canvas, video lectures and other options.

“The students these days must have a higher level of understanding and education in today’s professional world. You have to exceed goals at all times,” Lindley said.

“Students must learn the concept of excellence so that they can keep up with this transformation that’s happening in society,” he said. “There’s industries upon industries being created but it’s important to remember that all these industries still require humans to run them.”

With many industries rapidly moving toward automation, even non-STEM companies and firms are looking to hire STEM majors.

From teaching the basics of GPS to video game design, DMC offers Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and gaming design certificates to prepare its creative students.

Dorothy Pallotti, a STEM technology adviser, said DMC “gives students all the resources to get them ready for their post-grad careers.”

Pallotti, also an adjunct instructor at DMC, said there are many extracurricular opportunities for STEM students at Del Mar.

“We’ve hosted competitions for high school students, and then some of the college students will actually get to attend robotics competitions and other cool things like that,” Pallotti said.

Agustin Bernier, a sophomore at DMC studying pre-engineering, is one of the Del Mar students who attended a NASA robotics competition in 2016. Called the NASA Aerospace Scholars Program, it is a national program specifically for community colleges.

“A select few of us were flown out to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi, and we collaborated with students from across the nation in order to design a prototype Mars rover,” Bernier said.

One of the preliminary models Bernier designed had certain elements that are also being used by NASA for its 2020 Mars rover.

“It was a confidence-building experience, full of opportunities for learning and teamwork to focus on something bigger than ourselves,” Bernier said.

Bernier, a peer tutor at the Student Success Center and president of the Science, Engineering & Math Major Organization (SEMMO), said organizations such as SEMMO are great for students to come together and network with people who bear similar interests and also to hear talks by guest speakers.

“All kinds of opportunities are available for your everyday Del Mar student. It’s a mistake to think that only four-year colleges offer these sort of extracurricular options. The only thing that limits you is what you believe you’re capable of,” Bernier said.

The SEMMO club meets every other Wednesday, and provides mentors for students to guide them in STEM courses. It’s one of the many organizations at Del Mar that allow students to connect with not only their peers, but also to chat with professionals from the field with insights, information on internships and other career opportunities.

“I eventually want to design robots and make them mainstream. I want to create something that will impact people beneficially in their everyday lives. Through Del Mar, I’ve attended several conferences, including the NASA one. They’ve helped me greatly and I look forward to furthering my education,” Bernier said.

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