Summer Research: Half-way point update

For the past five weeks, I have studied which practices are most conducive to the success of underrepresented minorities in STEM classes (specifically looking at college populations). But what did I learn?  Continue reading


To the young man who approached me about MSI and med school

Occidental College’s Multicultural Summer Institute (MSI) began a couple days ago. I participated in this program as an incoming first-year back in 2013. It was intense. And seeing the new “MSIers” today was an incredibly nostalgic experience.

As I was conducting my research in the library, I overheard some students fussing with the printer. For them, everything is new. They don’t know that the main printer on the main floor of the library always jams, and they still can’t locate all the printers in the library. They don’t know how to set the staple and hole-punch functions to make their lives easier. And my goodness they still don’t know that they will have to read over 80 pages of articles per day every day for the next four weeks.

So eventually, after I was well entertained, I went over to the printer and introduced myself to them and talked to them. One of them was also a pre-medical student and he began freaking out.

“Is MSI hard? Is it going to get easier? How can I do well? Because I’m kind of worried for my med school application. What can I–”

To the young man who told me about his worries concerning achievement in this one course, and your medical school application: Continue reading

An affirmation exercise

I get anxiety when it comes to applying for things, and that anxiety stems from imposter syndrome. I won’t go into the explanation of imposter syndrome here, but the first paragraph of that article essentially explains what it is. (Note: It fails to go into institutional and systematic reasons for prevalence of imposter syndrome among specific populations, but that’s a wonderful topic to look into if you’re curious.) 

I’m not here to talk about the sources of my imposter syndrome (which is its own story), but rather, my way of combatting such feelings. I like to remind myself of my skills and accomplishments to date.  Continue reading

Aim High Champion

Recently, Stanford’s John W. Gardner Center released a study about the efficacy of a summer program called Aim High. The study sought to examine how the student and teacher experience moderates student preparedness for the coming year and  the teaching pipeline, respectively. The findings are summarized into four points:

1) Aim High’s organizational design reflects educational and youth development philosophy that supports fostering relationships and providing ample time for learning to occur;

2) Aim High’s culture promotes a network of youth who participate as students and return as alumni staff and teachers;

3) Aim High’s curriculum and pedagogy builds the skills of students and improves their academics with habits of mind that bolster performance throughout the school year;

4)  Aim High provides teachers with opportunities for formal and informal training, for developing strong relationships with students, and for innovation in the classroom.

Aim High is a magical program that I’ve had the pleasure of participating in: as a student, a teacher, campus coordinator (admin), and as an indirect researcher. Note: I was not affiliated with the Stanford study. However, I am currently doing research at Oxy related that is relevant to the structure of Aim High. 

But I am more than just grateful for this program. I would argue to say that if I had to choose one instance that changed the course of my life completely, it would be Aim High.

You see, Aim High is not your standard run-of-the-mill summer school program; it’s way more than that. Yes, there is an academic portion, but there’s an activity portion too. And a cultural portion. And an advising portion. And a college preparedness portion. There’s a culture of inclusivity and respect that aims to make the space safe for everyone. And if there’s ever a moment where someone doesn’t feel safe, there is always someone to talk to about it. At Aim High, all the faculty and staff genuinely care about their students.

If you’d like to read the study, please do so by clicking here. I am not going to delve into much more about the study because my experience falls quite in line with the study.So instead, I’m going to tell you my story of how I got where I am today, and what type of role Aim High played into that.

Continue reading

Oxy Tour Guide for a Day

Last night, a friend asked if I could be a tour guide for a middle school summerbridge type of program. As someone who has benefited from such programs, I said yes!

The Amino Ellen Ochoa Charter Middle School visited Oxy today with a group of rising 6th graders. The purpose of their summer program is to get students oriented to middle school life, but also to expose them to college and support them in believing that college is a realistic and viable option–despite all of the barriers that are perceived to be in the way.  Continue reading

Haere Mai!

Hello! Hola! 你好!こおんいちわ!Aloha! Ia orana! Talofa!

I think that about covers it on all the languages I know how to say “hello” in. Granted, “hello” is used even in countries where English is not the main language.

Welcome to my blog! My name is Marjorie and I started this blog because I felt like it was the right time in my life. See, I’ve had blogs before–personal blogs, work blogs, Tumblr blogs, cosplay blogs, journals, etc. I’ve even had a Blogger before, which I thoroughly enjoyed using. So why am I making a new one when I had a perfectly good one before?

Well one reason is because such life changes happened between my old blog and now that I can’t look at my old blog anymore. Some things are better left in the Internet abyss.

My second, and far more interesting, reason is that I’m at an incredible point in my life right now! I’m at a point in my life that is between college student dependency and young adulthood independence. I’m in a huge transitional period right now, and there are a lot of developments going on in my life that I am excited about! In just the past year, I’ve achieved a lot:

I started a club with some of my fellow friends and classmates: People of Color in STEM.

I began volunteering at two hospitals (which I will not name for privacy purposes).

I became a Kinesiology tutor for the Kinesiology department at my school.

I traveled to Japan courtesy of JICE and the Kakehashi Project.

I am currently conducting research on diversity in STEM.

I am in the process of applying to a Fulbright!

The last point is what really really drove me to write this blog. But the other topics are also very cool personal and professional developments. I hope you will all join me on my journies through my last year of college and beyond.