John has been chosen as GEW student of the month by Prof. Strona. Congratulations, John, on this honor.
A local to CSUSM, John grew up in San Marcos and attended High Tech High School (HTH). His experiences at HTH taught him not to be afraid to approach his teachers. His high school experience was all project based, so he needed input and direction from them. John not only had to do smaller, focused projects, but he had to complete major projects, which were then put on exhibition. These projects incorporated all subject areas. His favorite project came from his Engineering class. His team had to take apart an old engine and create something new from the parts. He and his team built a go-cart, and even though the go-cart did not work, they had fun building it. He said that he really liked the hands-on component of the project and developed a deeper understanding of auto mechanics.
Due to John’s last three years taking Karate, currently a blue belt, he developed an interest in Kinesiology. He said that through Karate, he started to pay attention to the “physics of the body,” and became fascinated by how the body moves. While Kinesiology is his major, he is open minded about this pathway to that goal. Taking advice from his parents, he is exploring his options based on the electives that he takes.
When asked what he likes best about CSUSM, he replied, “it’s easy to make friends;” he finds that people are open. He also said that college is fun because he is learning new and interesting “stuff.” He is discovering subjects that he previously thought were “boring.”
John also reports that he struggles with the fast pace of college courses. He manages his workload by using his planner to write down his homework and checking due dates to avoid procrastination. John has a brother who is a senior at High Tech High, and, as a responsible older brother, he passes on these useful strategies for success.
In response to the question of what sets him apart from the average college student, John said he is “never satisfied with his writing.” He strives to improve by asking questions of Prof. Strona. He learned that communication is a key element to his learning. Prof. Strona noted, “John came to class already with an ability to write well, but what makes him stand out amongst other students is his dedication to improving his writing.”
While reading is not John’s favorite past time, he does do his reading for classes. He also said that his dad recommends books to him, so he does read those books. The last book that he read is Child 44. John likes to read scientific and suspenseful texts.
Besides Karate, John is involved in a youth group through North Coast church. He has also attended a few meetings on campus with the Pilipino Alliance to learn more about the culture, which is similar to his Thai/Laotian heritage. John speaks “a little” Laotian, which he learned from his mother. One of John’s favorite places to go is Get Air, which is a trampoline park. He is working on his flips and wants to stay out of the foam pits.
Lastly, John is single. He is not ready to have a girlfriend, but he is looking to make new friends. The qualities he looks for in his friends are that they are “funny and kind.” In the time that I spent with John, I noted that John possesses these same qualities, which is a rare combination. Next time you see John on campus, don’t be shy, he might just have a joke or two to tell you!