Cal Poly Pomona students got a dose of inspiration from deans, professionals and mentors at the Asian and Pacific Islander Leadership Conference on Friday.
The event at the University Library got students to sharpen their job-interview skills and soak up some words of wisdom from three of the school’s Asian-American deans.
Andrew Phan, 23, a second-year student studying landscape architecture, said he wanted the conference to teach him how to be a mentor to others.
“I wanted to see the deans of different backgrounds and find out how they got involved and what struggles they went through,” Phan said.
Les Young, the dean of the College of Agriculture, was among the administrators who offered some words to live by.
“They say if you work really hard, people will recognize that, but that’s not really true,” Young said. “You really have to make opportunities for yourself. Don’t think somebody is going to advance you in life.”
Young also gave students a tip on how to be someone that others can count on.
“Always underpromise and overdeliver,” he said.
Organizers of the event say that although students of Asian and Pacific Islander descent are well represented at the university level, they are not well represented in leadership positions.
Audrey Yamagata-Noji, the vice president for student services at Mt. San Antonio College and a facilitator of a deans’ panel for the event, said that althoughabout 35 percent of the Cal Poly Pomona student body is Asian and Pacific Islander, less than 1 percent of the nation’s university presidents and chancellors are of Asian descent.
“We are represented as students and maybe as faculty, but we’re not represented at the highest levels,” Yamagata-Noji said.