Upgrade enhances learning, modernizes setting


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Biology major Oscar Castillo (left) listens to biology major Maria Rodriguez (right) explain a problem using the new whiteboard and equipment in PS-109 in the Physical Science Building on Monday.

By Dylan Collier, Assistant Scene Editor

The Center for Science Excellence in PS-109 was completely remodeled between the fall and spring semesters.

A grant from Hispanic Serving Institution Science Technology Engineering and Math (HSI STEM) paid for the room upgrade and all the equipment.

Before the room upgrade  it had old outdated green carpeting, but now the floor is made out of tile. They put in a new air conditioning system, heater, all new furniture with desks that can be separated, newly painted walls and a dry-erase board.

“They started taking down everything in the room around Dec. 15. It was 95 percent complete by the first week of classes in late January,” CSE Coordinator Seti Sidharta said.

Program assistant Abigail Serrano expressed her concern in regards to low enrollment so far this semester. Although the room has a newly-upgraded feel to it, Serrano said fewer students have shown up due to the lack of a printer, microwave, sink or any computers.

“There have been fewer students in the CSE, but more students are across the hall in PS-107. I think that’s largely in part because there are computers in that room and we don’t have any. As of now the plan is to keep all the computers on the other side of the hallway, in PS-107,” Serrano said.

“The highest percentage of students who come in here have most of their classes in the Physical Science and Biological Science buildings, so it’s convenient. I’m happy we got equipment that’s more comfortable and convenient, like the chairs and tables that can split apart. Now that we have couches, the students have said they appreciate that upgrade,” Serrano said.

Dr. Sidharta said they plan on decorating the room with student pictures and achievements to give it more character and make it feel more student-oriented, rather than just like office space.

With every new change come positives and negatives, with students voicing their own opinions about the transformation.

Biology student Oscar Castillo said he feels like the students are still adjusting to the new room.

Castillo said, “The white boards are more accessible and the layout is hit or miss. The tutoring layout on the right side of the room makes it easier to work in groups and it’s more student friendly, but you lose half the room to cubicles and desks.”

Castillo said his two favorite parts of the room before the upgrade were that the computers were against the wall and that students could print from the room. But now it’s troublesome that they don’t have those options.

What he likes about the room after the improvements is it has a more modernized ambiance, which makes more students to want to study there.