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Staff Research Profile

Everardo Barraza

Mr. Everardo Barraza

BA in Sociology from UC Santa Cruz

MPA in Public Administration from Cal Poly Pomona

Coordinator for the Achieve Scholars Program and the Engineering Scholars Program
at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Mr. Everardo Barraza started off locally, attending Chaffey High School in Ontario, California before attending community college and then applying to the UC system. He "wasn't sure what classes to take, who to talk to, or how to navigate the campus and find opportunities." While attending UC Santa Cruz, Mr. Barraza did figure out how to navigate the system, but realizes "it would have been helpful to know some of these things right away."

During his time studying sociology at UC Santa Cruz as an undergraduate, Mr. Barraza was offered an opportunity to engage in research. A professor of Mr. Barraza's "said he was going on sabbatical and that he was starting a research project. He told the class that if anyone was interested, they could go to his office hours and discuss joining the project. The research was in environmental sociology." Mr. Barraza went to those office hours and joined the project. His research involved "looking at how religious institutions can influence and drive environmental awareness."

Mr. Barraza came to see the professor he was researching under as more than just a research mentor. "I became close to him," Mr. Barraza shares, "we would go out and get coffee and just talk about the future – about my career options. As a sociology major, I didn’t know which fields I could get into. He also wrote me letters of recommendation for my master's degree and for scholarship opportunities."

After Mr. Barraza graduated with his BA in Sociology, he entered into the professional world first as a criminal investigator for the public defender’s office then later as an international trade assistant doing market research for the U.S. Department of Commerce back in his home town of Ontario. He felt pressured by his family who "wanted me to start working immediately after high school to help pay the bills. I went against my family to go get my bachelor's degree." Even after earning his BA, his family’s focus was on work more than education.

Soon Mr. Barraza found the call for furthering his education and applied to Master's in Public Administration (MPA) programs and ended up here at Cal Poly Pomona. Mr. Barraza notes that "coming from a UC, the class sizes are massive – 200 or 300 students. You don't get to know the professor, you get to know the teacher's assistant. At Cal Poly Pomona, the class sizes were a lot smaller – maybe 15 to 20 students. I had more of a cohort experience here and I felt more comfortable talking to my professors." While the program size was more personalized for Mr. Barraza, he still notes that filing for an IRB for the first time was a struggle but that his undergraduate research experience helped prepare him for the rigors of graduate research.

Now as the coordinator for the Achieve Scholars Program and the Engineering Scholars Program, Mr. Barraza is able to help students across disciplines engage in undergraduate research. Under the direction of Dr. Winny Dong, a person that motivates Mr. Barraza to "work harder and do whatever I can to make the college experience better for students," these two programs "aid students in the development in skills related to research as well as communication, peer mentoring, group work, and professional development. Programs like ASP and ESP also keep students informed of other opportunities on campus and off campus. The programs also have a presentation component so students get public speaking practice as well as items to build their resume or CV with for graduate school. With ASP and ESP specifically, there’s money involved so students gain all of these benefits plus get a stipend or a scholarship."

Mr. Barraza has one last word of advice for students out there: “Students should be sure to utilize the resources available to them here on campus. Go to the orientations, join a club, network with your fellow students and within your department, come to the Office of Undergraduate Research, and go to campus events like the career fair and the graduate school fair. Students need to make themselves visible. No student should be invisible and just pass through college. Even if they are shy, they should talk to faculty, go to their office hours, and let them know if you feel lost. There’s a lot of resources available at Cal Poly Pomona, so students should take advantage of them.”