Metas program celebrates 30 years of science mentoring

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) tutoring program honors community commitment


Denis Perez / The Advocate

METAS tutor Tomas Chavez holds a student’s hand after plucking a thorn out of it during a break outside of the Liberal Arts Building during the bi-weekly METAS tutoring program on Saturday.

By Gabriel Quiroz, Advocate Staff

The Metas program is having its 30-year anniversary Gala today from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m. at the Berkeley Country Club in El Cerrito. The event will feature a cocktail hour, dinner, live music as well as a silent and live auction.

Metas or “goals” in Spanish is a free program at Contra Costa College that provides the development of leadership skills in numerous ways, one of the main being exposure to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields through seminars and workshops by minority professionals.

The program offers tutoring and mentors from kindergarten through senior year.

The Gala serves as a celebration of the 30 years of success Metas is still having by helping students to achieve their goals within the STEM fields.

It also empowers them in their abilities in school as well as give them a sense of community and a place they can feel cared for.

The event is also a way for the program to be able to showcase the work they have done over those 30 years.

The Gala will be a platform to provide current and potential donors with knowledge of what their donations have already done for the students in the program and how it will continue.

With their help and funding for important Metas events like STEM day or Peace day in spring along with their holiday party that’s coming up this December.

Marisol Contreras, who was part of the Metas program at CCC since she was in eighth grade, is a first-generation college student at UC Davis.

Contreras expressed how much she enjoyed being in an environment where she could ask questions and felt cared for by her mentors, tutors and plans to return to work in those roles.

She said, “STEM day made me fall in love with science, seeing Dr. Dang’s experiments and the younger kids bring in their work.”

She also spoke of her worries about transferring because she had never gone through the process before and neither had her family. She said mentors in the program helped to empower her and prepared her for the culture of not seeing as many Latinas on campus at UC Davis.

STEM day is one of the larger annual events for Metas.

It gives students a chance to get hands-on experience in labs and see professionals from the STEM fields talk about and showcase what they do in their respective fields.

This helps students see that there are people that have come from where they are now and have had success in pursuing careers in what they are currently studying.

The programs annual events and the connections students Metas students beyond their days in the program. The feeling of community brings a lot of the students that were in Metas when they were in elementary, middle and high school back to mentoring and tutoring.

Some do it while they are away in college and some come back to teach and work at CCC.

Mayra Padilla is The Metas Program Director at CCC.

Within and outside of the Metas program, she has provided a tremendous amount of support through coordinating events and mentoring.

Marisol expressed how Padilla offered her multiple chances to speak at CCC board meetings about sanctuary spaces within the community during a time that she was unsure about what was going on in politics and needed a platform for discussion.

“Metas is a grassroots program with a lot of funding coming from the community, families and events they hold like the Gala,” Padilla said.

Padilla, Metas Program Instructional Assistant Walter Orellana, HSI STEM Program Coordinator Kelly Ramos and many others worked together to coordinate the 30-year anniversary Gala.

The event will be attended by Metas founders, current and potential donors, alumni, Students and their families.