2015 STEP 4 Pillars Speeches icon

By: Erica Buenrostro

Good afternoon peers, faculty, and parents. My name is Erica Buenrostro today I have been ask to talk about what it means to focus on excellence. After completing 7 weeks of the STEP program, I grew as a person and learned to focus on excellence.

First off, what does focusing on excellence mean to me? It means to strive towards perfection. It means being persistent in order to accomplish nothing but the best. It means making a commitment and executing all necessary actions to achieve absolute greatness. When a challenge arises, I should never give up, but take on the challenge head on. By overcoming challenges, I become stronger and obtain satisfaction from accomplishing something that I thought was beyond my ability.

Throughout my journey in the STEP program, the most important thing that I have learned is that it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to admit that you do not understand something. In the beginning of the program, I was afraid of asking questions because I believed not understanding something is a sign of weakness. I used to keep to myself for the first couple of weeks because I did not want to admit that I was struggling. As the weeks went by and the material began to get more difficult, I accepted the fact that I needed to ask for help, so I began to open up to asking questions. In the end, I learned that asking for help was not a sign of weakness, but not admitting that you need help is.

The road to excellence is a discouraging and agonizing one; however, it builds a stronger and wiser individual. The failures that will happen along the way help us learn and teach us to look for best way to achieve our ultimate goal, but most importantly, focusing on excellence means “I admit I do not knowing everything, but I want to.”

So as I enter my freshman year here, at Cal State LA, I will go in with an open mind and accept failure in order to strive towards excellence. In the end, I hope that we can all strive towards excellence together.

By: Steven Vallejo

My name is Steven Vallejo, and today I have been ask to speak on what it means to take Responsibility. Before I start I would like to thank the wonderful staff of the Student Success Center, Dr. Sharri Kornblum, my wonderful SI Leaders (April Ornelas, Amit Pal, Thien Doan), and my class KHB4016.

What is responsibility? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines responsibility as “the state of being the person who caused something to happen; something that you should do because it is right.” Everyone who has attended STEP has shown a great deal of being responsible. Some of us are not from the area and commute every day. Some take public transportation, others drive, and some walk Monday-Friday to come to class on time. Aside from coming to class, we have also put education and success before fun, not saying that math is not fun. Most incoming freshmen are home, with nothing to do, posting pictures, tweets, status updates, all on how they have nothing to do and wasting their time. We are 10 steps in front of them. We are already familiar with the campus, familiar with the ECST staff, and other students, so when fall comes, it will feel like we have been in Cal State LA for a year.

Throughout my experience with the STEP one of the ways I have learned to be responsible is by taking responsibility of my own education.  For example, for me it was not enough to just take notes at lecture; I had to go over the notes every night and I spent 3 or 4 hours learning the material and putting it into practice I took ownership in my education not putting the responsibility on anyone else.  It was my responsibility to learn the material, get the information and master it.

By attending STEP we admitted to our mathematical weaknesses and sought help to improve, and we accomplished that. These past 7 weeks are proof of that. We used our time wisely, and took advantage of an amazing opportunity. That shows the type of students we are. We are hard-working students that have bright futures in the STEM Field.

All of us who participated in the Summer Transition ECST Program, or as we know it as, STEP, have taken responsibility. What have we taken responsibility of? We have taken responsibility of our future, both in our college career and beyond. Because we know future engineers, computer scientists, and other careers in the STEM field, that it is not going to be easy, but even though we know that, we are taking the challenge head on and committing to excellence and taking responsibility.

By: Juan Estrada

Good afternoon, fellow steppers. My name is Juan and Today I was asked to discuss with you the importance of engaging in the community. Socializing and interacting with people is important because you build friendships that will be beneficial to have in the future. All of you are already here engaging in this community because you are here in step building friendships with people on the same path as you and that is good because you motivate each other to be better. I like to have a lot of friends simply because I like interacting with people, I’m not a chismoso or anything like that it’s just that in life you never know where you might end up and you can help secure your future by building bonds with people right now. One day you might need someone’s help to figure out a math problem or find a job so it’s always good to have those supports. If you are not a social person that’s fine we have all been there just try to put yourself out there because when you do you’ll see that with friendship comes happiness and all these other good things. Also when I say engage in the community it doesn’t just mean make as many friends as possible, it also means join clubs/sports, do competitions, try new things and get to know the teachers and faculty here at Cal state LA because a lot of them can provide you with opportunities other students can only hope for. Use the resources your advisers give you, in other words take advantage because your future depends on what choices you make here in the university.  All of these things you can put on your resume and you’ll be looking like gold to all these companies looking to hire new people.  Just put yourself out there and be open.  I came from a small high school here in East LA called Oscar de la Hoya and yes it was named after the boxer, there wasn’t many clubs or activities offered there so I personally am planning on trying as many things as I can here at Cal State LA and you should too. You never know who you’ll meet when you try new things, you might find your future honey or your future best man so like my favorite brand says, “Just do it”, and don’t be afraid because this isn’t high school anymore, everyone here thinks differently. and before I end here I just want to remind you that when you all become successful making the big bucks out in the real world to never forget to give back to your community and stay humble. Thank you.

By: Luis Hernandez

My name is Luis and today I will be talking about how to embrace challenges.

Thank you to my S.I leader, facilitators, Instructor, classmates and especially STEP for creating an extraordinary summer and giving the chance to complete two math courses for free. Not everything was fun and easy though. I faced different challenges while attending STEP like managing my time, transportation and dedication but just like math we need to face our problems and create a solution.

One of the obstacles I faced was managing my time with attending class, going to work after, and finishing my homework before midnight so I could have a goodnight rest. My lifestyle changed when I started STEP because all my free time expired but it opened my mind to the real world. I realized not everything is going to be easy and I will have to make sacrifices to be successful.

An obstacle that affected me and I know it affected a whole load of students is transportation. Fortunately my dad gave me rides when he could but when he wasn’t able to. I had to wake up two hours earlier to catch two buses and arrive to Cal State LA before nine. It takes patience and persistence to keep it up every day of the week to complete the program but at the end of STEP I know I will be ready for when the fall quarter begins.

The most important challenge that I know many students went through was staying dedicated and having the potential to attend seven hard weeks of math and completing the program. For that reason, this shows that everyone in here have the determination to be successful and become engineers. Believe in yourself, work hard for what you desire and your dreams will become reality.

I’m honor to receive the chance to be part of STEP because my determination and spirit has no limit. I won’t stop until I’m done. I can’t move on if I see something is wrong. It warms my heart watching those people that I have helped happy, motivated and inspired to achieve to the greatest like myself. I’m proud of myself, for doing all those wonderful accomplishments and becoming successful in a place with lack of resources. I want to change history. I want to be part of history and show the people that yes we can.  

To learn more about the Cal State L.A. Summer Transition to ECST Program (STEP) click or contact the ECST Student Success Center.