The Department of Interdisciplinary General Education (IGE) hosted alumna Rebecca Mikhaylov as its Professor for a Day.
Mikhaylov talked to students about her journey from IGE to her position as an assistant section manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena at the March 11 event.
Professor for a Day, held annually, gives alumni an opportunity to speak in a classroom setting. The program celebrates alumni achievements and gives current students the opportunity to learn how their education applies to the real world. This year’s format was held virtually on Zoom.
Mikhaylov, who holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Cal Poly Pomona, manages JPL’s Payload and Small Spacecraft Mechanical Engineering section. Her department aims to develop science-enabling technology, which is incorporated into flight missions. For example, she and her team worked on the Mars 2020 mission, building motors for the Perseverance rover.
During her talk she explained how being an IGE student helped her develop critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills that led to several promotions at JPL and successful teamwork efforts.
“One of the lessons I learned in IGE is how to build a good team,” she said, “where people feel valued and important as contributors.”
Mikhaylov said IGE is a great foundation for becoming a positive team member regardless of the profession. You learn how to work with and understand others. Further, she said she has maintained lifelong friendships and meaningful connections that began in her IGE courses.
“I would like to thank Rebecca for serving as our IGE Professor for a Day,” said IGE lecturer Kenneth Stahl, whose class Mikhaylov, a former student, visited. “I appreciate so much how IGE has impacted her life. The difference that we make in the lives of our students is what keeps us going.”
IGE offers a unique approach to completing general education requirements at CPP. IGE combines the humanities, social sciences and writing into small classes that emphasize group activities, creativity and academic rigor.
To learn more about IGE, visit https://www.cpp.edu/ceis/interdisciplinary-general-education/program-information/ige-courses.shtml.