Math & Circuit Workshop

Date: 7/1/05

Reporter: Joel Melvin

            On June 20 the 2006 NASA sharpies attended the Career Center Presentation entitled “Your New Job” at California State University at Los Angles at 1:00pm. The orientation kicked off the first official day of the NASA SHARP program at CSULA. All students were present. Snacks were provided by Dr. Lili Tabrizi. All students were present for the presentation. The presentation was given by Joanna Martel, a career counselor at UCLA. Ms. Martel opened up with a brief history of her life. One interesting thing she shared was the fact that she home schooled her children. Through this, Martel discovered her enjoyment of working with the children.

            This next segment of Martel’s presentation involved the sharpies. Martel had the sharpies state what their career goals. Group members listed plans to study areas from Aerospace Engineering, biochemistry, business and to medicine. Not surprising, aerospace engineering held the attention of the majority of the sharpies. Martel believes strongly that “everyone can be successful”. She mentioned to the prospect students that as they were introduced to different topics in medicine, they would find that their desire to go into specific fields would change just as rapidly “decide on a field and know where you want to go”.

            Martel’s presentation took a slight turn with a creative thinking exercise. She gave the sharpies a piece of paper with an image similar to this:



The object of this exercise was to connect all nine dots with four straight lines without lifting your pencil off the paper. Nikhil Singh of Guam was one of the few to discover the solution (below)












Martel says that the skills and processes required to solve this puzzle are similar to the skills that we would need to become engineers. We were also given the following:




The point was to be able to look at the letters below and eliminate five letters to find one familiar word in the English language.

            Martel then gave a birds eye view of college life in general. Martel used her personal experiences with her daughter to give the best tips and advice on college. Independence was a quality referred to often. She stressed the importance of being able to act on your own and make decisions for yourself.  Another suggestion Martel made to the sharpies was for us to plan out our entire college curriculum in the beginning. She admits that sometimes counselors may deter you from the path you’ve chosen for yourself and that this would be the sure way to make sure that you get what you want. Martel then discussed choosing your career counselor. She suggested that we make a meeting with all of the career counselors and stick to the one whom you have the best connection with. Career counselors are great because they help with recommendations, internships, jobs and research opportunities.

            Martel’s final segment of the presentation gave sharpies an idea of what life is like as an employee. “Generally, your employer will expect you to have a good attitude”, Martel says. She also gave an idea of what qualities an employer would expect out of us. “Timeliness” was at the top of Martel’s list. “Being on time actually matters when you work for a company”, explained Martel.  Neatness and Courtesy were qualities that Martel said will take you very far both inside the work place and in the real world in general. She also told sharpies that, being able to stay on task demonstrates your ability to focus and discipline yourself. Martel also mentioned that “being a team player” is very important and that being able to communicate with your fellow employees will take you far. Honesty and pilfering finished up Martel’s list of essential qualities. “If it wasn’t offered to you, don’t take it”, Martel stressed to the NASA SHARP students.

“I’m Special”

I’m special! In all the world there’s nobody like me. Since the beginning of time there has never been another person like me. Nobody has my smile, nobody has my eyes, my nose, my hair, my hands, my voice. I’m special. No one can be found who has my handwriting. Nobody anywhere has my tastes for food, clothing, music, or art. Nobody sees things as I do. In all of time there has been no one who laughs like me, no one who cries like me, and what makes me laugh and cry will never produce identical laughter and tears from anybody else, ever. No one reacts to any situation just as I would react. I’m special.


I’m the only one in all of creation who has my set of abilities. Oh, there will always be somebody who is better at one of the things I’m good at, but no one in the universe can reach the quality of my combination of talents, ideas, abilities, and feelings. Like a room full of musical instruments, some may excel alone, but none can match the symphony sound when all are played together. I’m a symphony.


Through all of eternity, no one will ever look, talk, walk, think, or do things like me. I’m special…I’m rare. And in all rarity there is great value. Because of my great value I need not imitate others. I will accept, yes, celebrate my differences.


I’m special, and I’m beginning to realize it’s no accident that I’m special. I’m beginning to see that I was made special for a purpose. There must be a job for me that no one else can do as well as me. Out of all of the billions of applicants, only one is qualified; only one has the right combination of what it takes. That one is me, because…I’m special.


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