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Former Cañada Student John Paulino Named NASA Ambassador

Paulino is currently studying mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley



John Paulino, a former Aragon High School student and Cañada College graduate, has been named to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Student Ambassador Virtual Community.

Paulino is currently studying mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley and is a member of the Pilipino Association of Scientists, Architects, and Engineers at the school. He is also going through machine shop training at Berkeley this spring.

John Paulino
The NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community (NSAVC) is an online community network designed to foster greater interaction and mentorship among outstanding interns of NASA's higher education projects. The goal is to provide participants with access to tools needed to serve as a NASA Student Ambassador, increase retention throughout the NASA educational pipeline into the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) workforce, and provide strategic communication opportunities.

“Being a NASA Student Ambassador allows me to connect with a network of great professionals, interact and work with my peers, prepare to enter the STEM workforce, and represent and help NASA inspire and engage future scientists and engineers,” Paulino said.

For the last two summers, Paulino participated in a 10-week summer research internship sponsored by NASA through the Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award for the Integration of Research (CIPAIR) Program.

“In 2011, he did an excellent job doing research on earthquake engineering, contributing to a successful project that resulted in a Best Poster presentation at the conclusion of the internship program,” said Amelito Enriquez, professor of engineering and mathematics at Cañada. “This poster was one of the finalists for the Best Poster at the 2011 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) national conference in Anaheim. He also presented a paper and a poster at last year’s American Society for Engineering Education Pacific Southwest Section Conference in April 2012.”

For the summer 2012 NASA CIPAIR Program, Paulino led a group of three other community college students in doing research on the analysis of performance degradation of integrated circuits due to transistor aging effects in nano-scale. Although a mechanical engineering major, he was selected as the lead student in his group, and helped the group receive the Excellence in Engineering Research Award for the program.

“As a result of this research work, a paper will be presented at the 2013 Interdisciplinary Engineering Design Education Conference (IEDEC) in March.” Enriquez said. “He is also the lead author of a paper that has been submitted for presentation at the American Society for Engineering Education Pacific Southwest Conference in April.”

Paulino credits his education at Cañada for his opportunity at NASA.

“I know for certain that if I did not attend Cañada College, I would not be here at Berkeley. The great professors I had, internships and scholarships that I received, and various conferences I attended during my time at Cañada really prepared me for the challenges at Berkeley.”

Paulino said it’s true that some community college students attending Berkeley are overwhelmed by its different academic culture and structure. “I feel fortunate that Cañada gave me the tools I needed to adjust quickly at UC Berkeley. I’m actually three or four classes ahead of my engineering classmates who also transferred because I was able to take a few upper-division classes at Cañada that aren’t offered at other community colleges. I don’t believe that students who take those classes at UC Berkeley know the material more than I do because what they learn is basically the same material I learned at Cañada.”

While at Cañada, Paulino participated in a video encouraging other students to pursue STEM majors at the college.

While it can be a struggle to transfer from a community college to UC Berkeley, Paulino said students need to keep their eye on the prize. He said the challenges that arise at school, home, or work can be overcome with the help of family, professors, and friends. “It’s not always easy,” he said. “But it’s important to learn from our mistakes and continue to pursue our goals.”


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