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BOOST features urban-centered, design-focused service learning projects that students complete during their critical transition between freshman and sophomore years.
BOOST rising sophomores, along with junior or senior-level peer mentors, spent six weeks of their summer deepening their Engineering identity as they worked together on Engineering projects which served their local community.
To boost Engineering majors from their freshmen to sophomore year, the BOOST program (Bridge Opportunities Offered for the Sophomore Transition) was created and piloted this past year. BOOST partnered with El Arca and Hillsides, both highly impactful non-profit organizations within 7 miles from our campus, as well as Kennedy Elementary School, which serves a low-income neighborhood just 1 mile from Cal State LA. Motivated by the societal impact they could see themselves making, students devoted at least their summer afternoons, if not evenings as well, to work on their service projects and participate in introductory workshops on computer aided design, computer programming (in Scratch), microcontrollers (using the Arduino platform), as well as materials science and physics, led by BOOST faculty, Drs. Gustavo Menezes, Arturo Pacheco, Adel Sharif, and Deborah Won.
As the BOOST students learned to work in groups and how to solve real engineering problems, they also built their own resilience, discovering that mistakes are to be expected and should be used to help them learn and grow.
Not only did students reap the benefits of exposure to engineering tools that they will likely need to use throughout their college education and on into their professional career and faculty interaction while working on the projects, they also helped to build a name for Cal State LA amongst these community organizations. The community partners were all very pleased with the BOOST students’ work and touched by their desire to give back to their community. The dedication of the BOOST faculty, peer mentors, College fiscal and technical operations staff, and community partners paid off in creating a program that boost student’s technical know-how, self-efficacy in Engineering, and motivation to develop themselves into engineers who will bring greater good to society. One BOOST student sums it up by saying “I learned that making things for others is what engineering is all about.”