On May 14th, 2016, Tesoro Corporation opened the doors of its Los Angeles Refinery to NSHSS Members and their guests for their College to Career Event. The day started with opening remarks by NSHSS President James Lewis and a congratulatory message from Assembly member Mike A. Gipson. Dave Foster, Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery Vice President, and Beth Pann, NSHSS Vice President, also spoke during the opening ceremony, and presented the recipients of the 2016 Tesoro Youth Leadership Awards with their scholarship checks.
The day continued with a panel discussion titled, “Maximizing Your College Experience.” Faculty and staff from California area universities provided detailed resources and tips on how to maximize the college experience. From the application process to selecting a major to career resources, these University panelists offered advice on how to ensure a successful, career-oriented college experience.
The main message NSHSS members came away with from this panel is to be thoughtful with any college decision. They should prioritize programs that are a best fit for them in terms of areas of study and personality, and not to worry if they have not decided on a career path yet. According to the panelists, a person on average will change their field of study and/or career five times, so students have time to figure out exactly what they want to do in their careers.
The panelists included Jina Flores, Career Counselor at California State University, Long Beach; Lily Gossage, Director, Maximizing Engineering Potential MEP: Center for Gender, Diversity and Student Excellence at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; Jody Hamabata, Lecturer at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; and Ajit Mal, Distinguished Professor and Vice Chair, Director, MSOL ME Programs, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, School of Engineering & Applied Science and University of California, Los Angeles.
During lunch, a group of 10 students, the winners of the the NSHSS Tesoro Essay Competition, were invited to sit with Dave Foster, Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery Vice President, and Jeffrey Westra, Director Engineering - SW Logistics, for a roundtable discussion.
After lunch, participants were split up into three groups that each participated in two more panel discussions, as well as a guided tour of the Tesoro Los Angeles Refinery.
Panel One, titled “Environment, Logistics & Engineering," focused mainly on career preparedness, and the steps one should take in college to prepare for a career in engineering. The panelists included Juliana Galvis, Maintenance Engineer, Brian Nguyen, Associate Engineer, Christie Sawires, Environmental Specialist, Raymund Torres, Sr. Electrical Engineer, and Chao Want, Planning Engineer. The panelists advised students to try a variety of internships to get a feel for what career suits them best.
Panel Two, titled “Tesoro Refining Engineering," focused more on education, and what courses are important to help prepare students for an engineering career. The panelist included Luisa Cano, Engineer, Ray Purwadihardja, Process Engineer, Ashwin Swamy, Senior Engineer, Joanna Tse, Process Engineer, and Alice Tsi, Associate Engineer. The main lesson members took away from this panel is that engineering jobs differ vastly from industry to industry, and the best way to find out what best suits their interests is to do internships in a few different industries.