First-year students took on social issues from gun violence to mental health awareness at the 2nd Annual Learn Through Discovery (LTD) First Year Experience (FYE) Showcase.
Over 250 faculty, staff, students, and guests attended the virtual event on Dec. 1. The showcase gave the participating students the opportunity to present the Signature Polytechnic Experiences (PolyX) they completed in their FYE classes during their first semester at Cal Poly Pomona. During the two-part event, students presented their innovative solutions in the LTD FYE Challenge and displayed their posters in the FYE PolyX Showcase.
“The FYE Showcase represents the learn-by-doing philosophy of the institution and demonstrates our polytechnic advantage,” said Olukemi Sawyerr, associate vice president of the Office of Academic Innovation. “First year students worked on various projects during their FYE classes that provided them a PolyX in their first semester at Cal Poly Pomona.”
Out of 18 competitive LTD FYE Challenge submissions, three teams were chosen to give 10-minute PowerPoint presentations on solutions they developed to social justice issues in the FYE common read book, “The Moth Presents Occasional Magic: True Stories About Defying the Impossible.”
The winning team, #GrrrlSquad, was from the Womxn’s Resource Center; they gave a presentation on a sexual assault awareness event that could be hosted at Cal Poly Pomona. Both runner-up teams were from the Kellogg Honors College CPU2990H freshmen class; they presented on gun violence prevention and mental health awareness, respectively. The winning team’s organization was awarded a $200 cash prize.
- Winner: Ladies Who Protest – Alyssa-Kayla Marquez, Tiana Perez
- Runner Up: The Right to Fair Arms– Brooke Handschin, Madison Skipp, Alex Cardenas, Andrew Marez
- Runner Up: WLWC – JennaSurdzial, Jason Diaz, Tori Garcia, Jose Pavon, Lindsay Sung
The judges noted that all three teams gave excellent, creative solutions to their topics. They encouraged each team to apply to the LTD Projects Hatchery after the FYE Showcase to gain mentorship and financial support to transform their innovative ideas into fully realized projects.
“All the teams had thoughtful, detailed, and organized presentations that were aimed at issues that affect every one of us in important ways, whether we pay attention to them or not,” said Marmar Tavasol, Projects Hatchery coordinator and event judge. “The Hatchery would be honored to take on every one of the projects and develop them further to implement them into our communities.”
Moreover, over 348 first-year students on 76 teams submitted their PolyX posters. The FYE Showcase allowed guests to hop between 15-break out rooms to hear a two-minute presentation from student researchers and look at their digital posters. For most students, this was their first public presentation in college; attendees noted how impressive the posters and presentations were, especially given the remote circumstances of the semester.
“To step out of your comfort zone, conduct a project and present the project to a live audience is a testament to their desire to get the most out of their university experience. And to do this during their first year, in a remote learning environment is amazing,” said Winny Dong, faculty director of LTD.
The FYE Common Read Essay Contest winners also were announced at the FYE Showcase. Each year, the campus community is invited to join the first-year students in reading a common book and to participate in different activities, including the essay contest.
“The essay contest is part of the common read experience and all Cal Poly Pomona students are encouraged to participate. This year, out of 106 submissions, the four winners were freshmen,” said Dora Lee, director of academic support and learning services.
The four essay winners were awarded for their creativity in writing their own “The Moth” story in under 200 words. Each winner was awarded a $150.00 gift certificate to the Bronco Bookstore.
The winners were:
- Robert Kimble, mechanical engineering– “Together”
- Emily Quinton, international business – “Letting Everything Go”
- Johanna Tsa, civil engineering, – “No Pants”
- Katie Wilson, hospitality management, – “Stepping Up”
The campus community is encouraged to submit common read book recommendations through February. All the submissions are reviewed by a faculty/staff committee, and the book selection is announced to the campus near the end of the 2021 spring semester, in time for preparation for the 2021 FYE courses.
“We are thankful to everyone who helped make the FYE Showcase happen in a virtual learning environment for students who have yet to set foot on campus,” said Sawyerr. “It was an exhilarating experience and we look forward to a greater number of participants in 2021.”
The Learn Through Discovery FYE Showcase will return fall 2021. For more details, visit the LTD Website.