By Rachel Ly, Feb. 2, 2021
Cal Poly Pomona is climbing charts as one of the best universities to attend for engineering, hospitality and overall social mobility in 2020, according to third-party rankings.
According to Educational Reform Now’s Social Mobility Elevators report, CPP takes the cake as one of the best schools for boosting students’ social mobility out of 1,900 four-year institutions in the United States.
Social mobility is the accessibility of higher education to economically disadvantaged students for more affordable tuition and helps them acquire good paying jobs after graduation. Education Reform Now uses the number of students receiving the Pell Grant in each university and compares them to the number of students graduating with the Pell Grant.
In a tie with the U.S. Coast Guard academy, CPP also placed No. 11 for “Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs” offering bachelor’s and master’s as their highest degrees, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Maisie D. Ferrer, a fifth year engineering student, is currently part of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers as the social events chair and works for the College of Engineering as an outreach student assistant—playing an active role in CPP students’ success.
Ferrer said, “Due to my economic standing, I get a lot of financial aid, but still take out loans. In comparison to other schools, our tuition is not as expensive; I’m getting my money’s worth. I am able to join clubs with hands-on experience and I’ll definitely land a job after graduation.”
Offering 11 different undergraduate engineering programs, companies recruit at CPP more than any other California State University, according to CPP’s College of Engineering. Engineering alumni have gone on to work at industry-leading firms like ExxonMobil and NASA.
Ferrer added, “When I first got here, I did not think there were a lot of women, but compared to other schools, there’s nearly no women there. Cal Poly has higher admittance for women in engineering and it makes me feel more comfortable.”
The Engineering Department prepares students for graduation with interactive learning— allowing student access to lab equipment and encouraging communication between their peers and professors.
Ferrer said, “Cal Poly is a great school for hands-on work. We showcased some of our work to students from other schools and it made me realize that we have access to lab equipment that other schools do not offer. I started having lab classes, working on robots, and coding in my first year.”
According to CEOWorld Magazine, The Collins College of Hospitality and Management ranks No. 12 in the world as one of the best schools to attend for hospitality and hotel management.
With four privately-financed buildings that are 55,000 square feet, The Collins College is the first and largest hospitality and management program in the state. The department has an active board with connections to leaders of the food and hotel industry.
Lea R. Dopson, dean and James A. Collins Distinguished Chair of The Collins College of Hospitality Management, said, “Our department helps students in various stages of their career, providing amazing academic advisors and faculty that work with our students. We are a family, that is how we interact with each other—it is our culture. That sense of connection and purpose helps with our students’ success.”
The college is known for receiving its high-placement rate and job offers for their students after graduation.
Dopson added, “Our industry is diverse, and recruiters love our students for a variety of reasons. Our students are smart, talented and hard working. Many of them are first-generation to go to college.”
The college’s mission and values embrace the dimensions that students, staff and faculty bring to the university.
Alumnus Christopher K. Tu, (’19, hospitality management) a first-generation graduate, said, “CPP helped me navigate through school. Shout out to all the counseling faculty and staff at CPP, especially James Yokoyama, for guiding countless hospitality students on the road to a timely graduation.”
Tu added, “From my experience on campus, nobody cared where you came from—moreover what you can do and where you’re going.”
Diversity at CPP strengthens the success of Collins College—preparing students for life after college. Hospitality and Management alumina receive job opportunities from big corporations like The Cheesecake Factory, Hilton hotels, and Disney.
Scott Kim is a chef instructor at the Collins College of Hospitality and Management and owns Skimmer’s Panini Grill in Mission Viejo, California. He has been involved in the industry since 1988, working for major companies like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Jim Beam Brands.
Kim said, “No matter where you’re working in the world, you never know who will walk into a hotel or restaurant. Being able to experience being around people of different backgrounds, even if it’s passive, helps prepare students for life after graduation.”
Not only do students experience having connections with faculty and staff during their time at CPP, but they also continue to be connected after.
Kim added, “Students are encouraged to reach out to me after graduation. I own my own restaurant, and I am willing to be a resource for them.”
Feature image coutesy of Giorgio Trovato
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