News‎ > ‎

Recognizing and Supporting Community College Transfer Students Through TANMS REM

posted Oct 20, 2021, 2:59 PM by Tsai-Tsai O-Lee   [ updated Nov 3, 2021, 1:52 PM ]
2021 REM Participants
Source: Pilar O'Cadiz, TANMS Education Director

In honor of National Transfer Student Week, TANMS would like to recognize Joshua Rodriguez, community college participant in the Center's Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) Program and our 5th annual recipient of the Elijah S. Johnson Award for Engineering Inspiration, Integrity and Scholarly Promise.* Currently, Josh is enrolled as an undergraduate student at El Camino College and aims to transfer next year to UCLA to complete a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He came to TANMS through our partnership with the Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) program at El Camino, where he has been an active member.

The REM program includes community college students in a TANMS laboratory research experience alongside high school students. Josh served as an excellent near-peer mentor to his two high school student teammates, Cheyenne Arnold and Aurion Montaque, working in the biochemical engineering laboratory of Professor Dino DiCarlo. Under the mentorship of graduate student Hiromi Miwa, Josh and his teammates completed the research project, Development and Use of Single-Domain Multiferroic Array-Addressable Terfenol-D (SMArT) Micromagnets for Capture and Release of Single Cells. He will be presenting this research at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in Washington D.C. February 3-5, 2022.

Josh is a natural leader with a keen ability to focus on the task ahead, which is not surprising given that he is a Veteran of the US Army serving overseas as a Sergeant in the Airborne Infantry. Reflecting on his TANMS experience Josh says, “I realize how vast the research opportunities are and how cooperative different disciplines can be;” and adds, “My involvement with the various grad students [in TANMS] has humanized my perception of postgraduate education.” Because of his TANMS involvement, Josh is now considering graduate school as a possibility in his future.

TANMS is very proud of all our REM participants from the past four years, many of whom have transferred and continued on STEM pathways since 2018.  After spending the 2021 summer in the Tolbert lab, Los Angeles Valley College student Ruben Bautista transferred to the Biochemistry program at Cal State Northridge this fall. Our 2020 REM participant and E. S. Robinson awardee, Ana Venerio, transferred from El Camino College to the UC San Diego Mathematics program. Another El Camino transfer student and REM alumni, Sepedah Ariana Naghibi, and E. S. Robinson awardee, recently completed her BS degree in Physics at UC Irvine and entered the Electrical Engineering Master's program at San Diego State University in fall 2021.

REM Participants During Lab Tour

*This award is given to a TANMS research participant in memory of Elijah S. Robinson (2000-2017) who exemplified TANMS’ values and vision in his collaborative spirit, resilience and persistence in pursuit of higher education and engineering career goals.