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OPPORTUNITY

"Success Leaves Clues."
By Asian Heritage Society and Alliant International University team up to provide clues to success



Photo caption:
Rosalynn Carmen, front, kneeling with middle school students,
is joined by Asian Heritage Society’s Leonard Novarro, left, and Dr. Helen Chen, rear.


    
The lesson couldn’t have been planned better.

    The day before, Dr. Helen Chen was telling 32 middle school students about a colleague who was experimenting with the strength of spider webs to determine how effective they would be in reinforcing military vests. Now, as students broke for lunch, she showed them a spider in action as it weaved its web in capturing an insect. Chen had noticed the insect at work as she made her way to the classroom and called the students outside.
    
“That is really strong – just like the photo,” remarked one of the students amid a chorus of groans and small squeals while three of them, a little wary, craned their necks to watch from four feet away.
    
The scene was outside Green Hall on the campus of Alliant International University, where college professors and Asian Heritage Society mentors shared their real-life experiences to prepare the students – all females – for the monumental global and technological challenges that lay before them. Almost all of the students were from Granger Junior High School in National City, which has a large Hispanic and Asian student body.
    
This first of its kind two-day workshop Aug. 5-6 called “BOOSTEM,” which stands for Business, Opportunity, Outreach, Science, Technology and Entrepreneurship for Middle School, was created and organized by Asian Heritage Society President Rosalynn Carmen, who told the students: “We can’t teach you science and technology in two days, but we can prepare you to recognize opportunity.”
    
Through a series of mini-lectures and briefings, class discussion, videos, games and hands-on exercises, students got a crash course on just that. With the use of a home-grown video called “Success Leaves Clues,” Carmen explained how the subject of the video, Levis jeans, exemplified the Boost principles as its founder, businessman Levi Strauss, recognized the need the California gold miners of the 1850s had for durable work pants. Changes in the next century and a half also coincided with technological, scientific and marketing changes, Carmen pointed out, explaining how the same principles applied to the success of such innovators as Thomas Edison, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Microsoft’s Bill Gates.
    
Students, under guidance by Chen, had the opportunity to try out a newly invented life-saving vest, break up into teams and report on how they might improve the invention. The teams were later asked to design a video game for girls and report on their respective inventions, name them and tell how they would price and market their products.
    
Alliant professor Rene Naert also pointed out the difference between being smart and wise.
    
“A smart person learns from his own mistakes. A wise person learns from the mistakes of others,” he told them. “It’s easy to succeed today because most people don’t put time and effort” into exercising that lesson, he added.  Naert also discussed the importance of understanding business models such as Costco and how they employ mathematics, the universal language used in businesses as well as all forms of science and technology.
    
While fellow Alliant professor Miles Beauchamp focused on the application of social media in marketing, Dr. Wendy Chung, Alliant School of Management program coordinator, explained the difference between demographics and psychographics and how they are used in determining what markets serve products best.
    
Chen also discussed the numerous career options available to someone with a science or medical degree while entrepreneur Kathy David, author and founder of IT Tech Pros Inc. of Escondido, took the students on her own path of discovery and how she recognized and capitalized on opportunities to go from a school dropout to become a highly successful businesswoman and IT specialist.
    
Dr. Estela Matriano, professor of cross cultural studies at Alliant, introduced the students to the necessity of understanding more than their own cultures if they are to compete for jobs and careers in the future. She also regaled them with her own life experience, including how she survived the devastation wrought by the Japanese invasion of the Philippines when she was a young girl.
    
In addition, SDG&E representatives Lucy Curtin, Cyndee Fang and Stephanie Giulle, who appeared not that much older than the students, shared their backgrounds in technology and how it helped their careers and briefly discussed how energy works, what is being done to save it and make it cleaner and what innovative changes may be taking place in the future.
    
Matriano hosted the two-day workshop and introduced Alliant President Geoffrey Cox, who told the students that as they prepare to take their places in the world “you will be studying things I wish I knew more about – science and technology, the wave of the future.” He also told them: “Education is all about giving people opportunities to fulfill their dreams.”
    
Students left with handouts on science, technology, innovation and teamwork and a workbook to record any ideas they may have on the variety of topics featured both days.
    
“Somewhere, any day, you may wake up in the morning with a new idea,” Carmen told them. “If it fits the BOOST formula, you have something there.”

 
 
 
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