Christabelle and Zaira

Zaira and Christabelle received the 5 Saturdays STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agile, and Math) program 2020 scholarship and shared their three year immersive learning experience.

Interview with Zaira

Dr. Dave: I’m really stoked that we got this opportunity to connect, to talk about your achievements, as one thing, but also really important, I’m really excited about the fact that we got to meet when you first came through the 5 Saturdays STEAM program three years ago, and just looking to see where you are today. So let’s start by talking about being one of the 5 Saturdays 2020 scholarship recipient. How does that make you feel? You think about it, for the very first time we met you, I think you just finished your freshman year or you were a sophomore and… How does it make you feel?

Zaira: Well, I was somewhat shocked, but extremely grateful for the opportunity because I had gone to the workshop every summer while in high school and I learned so much from it and ate a lot. So I really thought that I benefited all I could have from it. But then you guys blessed me with a scholarship and I was like, “Oh, they just keep on giving.”

Dr. Dave: That’s what we do. That’s what we do. So graduated from high school, which is awesome. Where are you going to go to college?

Zaira: To the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Dave: Wow. You’re going to be a Cal person.



Dr. Dave: That’s amazing. What made you choose Cal?

Zaira: I think their social justice programs and their involvement with the community and because I also want to major in sociology and minor in policy analysis to pursue a career in social work, specifically social welfare. It just seemed like overall fit.

Dr. Dave: Well, that sounds wonderful, especially with what’s going on today. The challenges. So talk to me about the skills that you got from 5 Saturdays. You started it somewhere after your freshman year, and then you came back during your sophomore year, and then you came back in 2019 as a learning facilitator, which is… You got to change t-shirts, you got to be at the front of the room. What leadership skills did you learn?

Zaira: Well, when I was a student, the end of my freshman year and the end of my sophomore year, I learned new strategies for brainstorming and bouncing off ideas off of different people. I learned how to work within a group while also being able to within my group work with other groups and brainstorm with them. There’s so many skills, it’s just hard off the top of my head, but as a learning facilitator, I think all those skills as a student carried on, because I knew what it was like to be a student and as a learning facilitator, I was like, “Okay, you don’t know blank, so let’s start from point zero and work up.” It just helped with process of brainstorming and creating businesses and expressing ideas.

Dr. Dave: I thought it was fun. I always enjoyed the projects that you and your team came up with. It was really so much fun. So how will these leadership skills help you as you move to the next level in college?

Zaira: Well, I know how to be a team player. I know how to lead within a team. And now I also know how to coach a team. So in college I can work as a student alongside my peers while also working as a tutor or a teacher’s assistant to help the people outside of my own learning circle.

Dr. Dave: That’s really amazing, because leadership skills are very important, no matter where you are, whether you’re in the corporate space or you’re in college or working as a group, and you will discover… I’m sure you’ve already discovered because you went to early college high school where you were already in college for almost two years, right?

Zaira: Yes.

Dr. Dave: So did you finish two years of college or close-

Zaira: I did. I did.

Dr. Dave: Wow. You finished two full years already, and you just finished high school. So you’re going to go to Berkeley for two years and be done with it?

Zaira: I don’t know. I don’t want to rush things, especially because I got a full ride for all four years.

Dr. Dave: What? That is amazing. Congratulations. That is so amazing. Tell me, what would you like to share with other students about the 5 Saturdays learning experience? Because it’s a unique experience. It’s [crosstalk 00:05:20].

Zaira: It really is an experience like no other. You get to learn things about business, tech, job readiness, careers, you get to bond with peers and facilitators, play fun games, eat amazing food. I think it changed me for the better and it’ll change everyone who comes into it for the better. You will develop skills and traits that will leave you feeling like a new person by the end of the program.

Dr. Dave: That that is so amazing that you’ve been able to recognize over three years the different skills that you do acquire. So when you think about it, if there’s one thing that you would like to carry with you from the 5 Saturdays learning experience into the future, as you go into college, are you connecting with other people in the community because you’re going to be in the Bay area, which is going to be a brand new different experience for you. Just think of one thing that you would carry with you.

Zaira: The day we pitched our ideas, which is presentation day, because it leaves you with the satisfaction of being like, “I did this. I was able to carry through all these Saturdays and come up with an entire business with my peers.” And it really emphasizes the importance of the program of what we, as individuals, are capable of.

Dr. Dave: Do you remember the one guy that you used to quote every time he said something?

Zaira: Yeah. I have my notebook around here somewhere with all his jokes and… I still have it.

Dr. Dave: You could take it forward with you, right?

Zaira: Yeah. Oh, if anytime I need to do comedy on the spot, I’ll just bust out my notebook and flip through.

Dr. Dave: There you go. You got a few things. So what else do you have planned for the summer? You finished school, and I know it’s really interesting just being… You didn’t get an opportunity to do all of the stuff that you normally would have done as a student, but what else do you have planned for the summer? Jobs? Other activities?

Zaira: I started in my first job at the Beach Pit Barbecue. I’m going to go up to San Francisco again to really look at the surrounding area of Berkeley more. I’m also taking this Golden Bear Advising class online, which is hosted by Berkeley and it’s at no cost to their students, just so they really get to know the website and all about the college before they get to the campus.

Dr. Dave: That’s wonderful. That’s really great that you would do that. But one thing I would like to say is just say thank you for investing in your own future. Because you could have spent your summer going to the beach. Living in a nice sunny beach place like California you could have spent your summer going to the beach as opposed to coming and building up your skills. So I wanted to say, just thank you for doing that for yourself, which I think is really important. And the other thing is I want to see what you guys are going to do coming back and how you can contribute to the 5 Saturdays and making it a better program. Because I think that the stuff that you learn, you’re going to bring a different context and a twist to it that people like myself probably won’t have. So I really want to [crosstalk 00:08:56]-

Zaira: Well, thank you guys for everything you’ve done for us then.

Dr. Dave: Yeah. Is there anything else you would like to add in terms of… Just anything you would like to add based on your experience or things that you would like to see different in the future, just to improve the program, make it better?

Zaira: Well, I definitely recommend everyone participates in 5 Saturdays. If you do not ever in your life go to at least one of the Saturdays, you are not living your life to the fullest. And the way I would improve 5 Saturdays is by getting more people to come. I think the more people there, the more it gets hyped up, the more… It’s just better with more people.

Dr. Dave: Good. We hope that you’re going to be one of our pollster people for the 5 Saturdays program that we could share with the rest of the world what you’ve experienced, but we’re really excited that we want to just stay in touch to see what happens as you progress through your years at Berkeley and see what happens. One more thing, what are you guys going to do with all the… You learned how to build a business. You learned tech, you learned how to look for a job. You learned how to use agile skills. How are you going to use some of these things as you’re navigating the college campus? Maybe you’ll start a business in Berkeley. Who knows?

Zaira: Maybe, actually. You never know. I might come back and have my own business and be like, “Dr. Dave, look at this, invest in my business.”

Dr. Dave: I love it. I love the way you turned out around. That is so beautiful. That was wonderful. Well, anything else, any last final words that you would like to leave us with before we end our conversation?

Zaira: Thank you for everything. I know you changed a lot of my peers’ lives. They really enjoyed their summers a lot more because of the program, and I think I really benefited from it. So thank you for that.Dr. Dave: Well, thank you so much.

Interview with Christabelle

Dr. Dave: Let’s just start. I’m just going to start off and say like hey, you know what? It’s good to see you. I hope you’re safe and healthy. And how are you doing?

Christabelle: I’m doing all right. Thank you.

Dr. Dave: That’s it? Just all right? Yeah.

Christabelle: I’m doing well.

Dr. Dave: Okay, great. I’m really excited to connect with you today and I’m really interested in the fact that you’ve invested so much into your future by attending the 5 Saturdays STEAM Program. And I want to just learn more about your journey into your future, all right? So you were one of the 5 Saturdays Scholarship recipients. What went through your mind when you were notified of being a 5 Saturdays Scholarship recipient?

Christabelle: I honestly was very shocked because I didn’t expect receiving anything, but when I realized that I did, was notified of being one of the recipients, I was proud and felt very nice.

Dr. Dave: That’s awesome. So you’re done with high school. No more high school. You’re finished. You’re graduated. Where will you attend college?

Christabelle: I plan to attend Cal State, Fullerton. It’s close to home so I can stay with my family, but it also allows me to have some independence for myself.

Dr. Dave: Oh. So are you going to live on campus? Are you just going to stay at home?

Christabelle: I hope to live on campus my first two years, if not my first year. And then once I go into the upper grades, then I will be able to understand how college will work and move my schedule so I will be able to live at home so it would be easier on me and my family.

Dr. Dave: Okay. What field are you planning to study in college and potentially pursue as a career?

Christabelle: I plan to study psychology in college. I find learning about the human mind very fascinating. And I hope to aim for my master’s degree and perhaps my PhD.

Christabelle: I hope that once I finish college, I will be able to find a job as an industrial organizational psychologist. I found that very interesting and I hope to pursue that as a career.

Dr. Dave: Tell me more if you know more about it, about being an industrial organizational psychologist. If you know more, tell me more.

Christabelle: I’ve done some research and I’m still doing a little more research on it, but what I do know is they typically work in businesses and they are similar to an HR, where they help with like the people and the workers, but this focuses more on like teamwork and how the individual people will give what they can to the company itself for whatever area that they’re working on. And it helps with if they’re doing all right, how can we make them work better and work more effectively?

Dr. Dave: Oh, great. Great. So you attended the 5 Saturdays STEAM Program for two years as a student, and then one year, in 2019, as a learning facilitator. What skills did you learn?

Christabelle: I learned how to deal with different types of people. And during the business aspect, how to help with consumers and how different personalities require different things, but also how it all follows a similar path if you do it correctly.

Christabelle: I also learned about job readiness, how would you be confidence in how to hold myself, which I found very helpful and something that helped me a lot throughout not only high school, but I’m sure that will help me in college and beyond.

Christabelle: I was also able to learn how to pay attention to people and how they react to a situation and how I should react.

Dr. Dave: That’s wonderful. Now that you’ve learned these skills, how do you think they’ll help you at the next level in college? Because not only attending classes and working as a team, but also, you may do other things in the community. I would like to get your insights on that.

Christabelle: I know learning how to make a resume will be very helpful and it will also keep me in check, making sure that I know what I am doing. The organizational skills that we learned, such as the Kanban board, they will also help me keep track of my schedule, knowing that if I were to branch out, trying different things in the community, but also trying to manage my classes and job, then I will need some way to keep me organized. And also, helping me make the right choices and act accordingly will also help me a lot.

Dr. Dave: Okay. So if you had to share with other students about the 5 Saturdays STEAM Program learning experience, what would you share?

Christabelle: 5 Saturdays is really fun and I enjoy it a lot. I think it’s a great way to bond with other people, and it’s also a great way to meet new people, not only your peers, but also people who have done jobs before they have their career, they can offer their experiences. And it can also help with networking and learning other skills. I think it’s a great program and I feel like a lot more students should go into this program because it offers a lot of things.

Dr. Dave: Okay. If there was one experience that stands out to you based on your whole 5 Saturdays STEAM Program learning experience, what would that be? And it’s something that you’re going to carry into the future, beyond what you did over the summers. What would that one thing be? Just one thing that stands out in your mind, like, “Ah.”

Christabelle: It has to be the mock interviews. When I first heard mock interview, I actually was very, very scared and very worried, but it also is a great experience because it shows what would happen and what could happen during an interview. So it helped me prepare a lot and it can also help me during real interviews in the future. So I think that’s a great experience.

Dr. Dave: So I know you guys also came up with some business ideas. Tell me just a little bit more about that experience because we really enjoyed your cafe and different things that you came up with as being entrepreneurs. Tell me a little bit more about those, if you remember.

Christabelle: So when we were creating our businesses, I think it was very fun. I enjoyed thinking about what we could offer and how we will be able to gain money, but also trying to spend it accordingly. I found that experience super fun. And working with other people made me realize that while we all had similar ideas, we also differed greatly. And I honestly enjoyed a lot.  One of my favorites was the cafe idea, as you mentioned.

Dr. Dave: Yeah.

Christabelle: It allowed me to be creative, but also it made me think of objectively. What we did for our cafe was we were trying to get more of college students who needed some time to study, but also would like a cup of coffee. So we would make our hours a lot longer than what regular cafe would be. We also wanted it to be just a place where people can relax. So we wanted to have different events during like different weeks. And it was really fun to come up with those things.

Dr. Dave: Yeah, we really enjoyed it. So great job, and you noticed it still resonate with me, and I think that was two years ago. So in closing, I’d just like to say thank you for investing into your own future and I hope to see you as a continued contributor to the 5 Saturdays STEAM Program learning experience into the future. You know, you go off to college, I know you get busy with your life, but it would be great to see that you come back, if you choose to, and give back. Is there anything you would like to say in closing? Anything else you would like to share?

Christabelle: Well, thank you for having me. I think it was a fun many years of having you with me and I really hope to contribute as much as I can. So thank you so much for offering this opportunity for me.

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