STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education, according to the California STEM Learning Network. STEM encompasses a broad field that has taken our society far beyond what was expected decades ago in the realm of scientific and technological advancements.
When many people hear STEM, they fail to think of the minorities that make up the bright learning community here on campus, as well as out in the working world. One such student is Junior Bryant Barahona, who is pursuing a career in the realm of computer science.
Barahona is part of the Digital Business Academy (DBA) program, and he is taking supplementary courses to enhance his computer science skills, according to Barahona. His career goal is to become a back-end worker for a decent company as long as he gets a decent salary, Barahona said.
“I am currently enrolled in a free online MIT course for programming,” Barahona said. “The course core is basically everything dealing with managing back-end work.”
Currently, Barahona also has a job working with Element Animation as a back-end worker. His job is to handle all the basic programming, and he writes the code that makes up the website, according to Barahona.
“I also write the code that makes up for most of the commands that people use,” Barahona said. “As of now, we are working on our new website, since the old one needed updating.”
In regards to Element Animation, the company works on kid-friendly animations, comprised of 3-D animations made into a series of short clips, according to Barahona. The company works on video game projects and non-video game projects, the most popular being “The Crack,” and the more recent one being “Egg’s Guide to Minecraft,” Barahona said.
Through his work, Barahona has also met the likes of people such as Morgan Freeman, Barahona said. Barahona met Freeman when the company was recording lines for a clip, and Freeman is just as charming as everyone says he is, Barahona added. As for being a Latino student in STEM, Barahona hasn’t really faced challenges related to his background, Barahona said.
This is mainly because he has had a knack for programming and basic computer-related work since middle school, according to Barahona. Although he hasn’t faced any obstacles himself, he acknowledges that other students have, Barahona continued.
“I would say so [that Latino students face difficulties], mainly it is because of their overall background, both in economical, and in educational levels,” Barahona said. “However, this isn’t always the case, I would like to believe; I believe it is more of a regional factor. Living in California is quite expensive, and the competition for colleges and universities is even tougher.”
His advice to other students is that they should study hard and seize the day, Barahona said. If they sit around and wait for a chance to open up for them, then the chance may never come. Thus, one should take the initiative and carve their own path, even if that in itself is difficult, Barahona added.
“Honestly, it doesn’t matter what race or minority you are, my message is meant for everyone, not just specific individuals of a specific group,” Barahona says. “For nothing in life is easy, and there are no short cuts. It all falls under one huge category that we prefer to call life.”