BRDG's mission is to create a bridge to success by enhancing first-in-family college students' opportunities in the technology field. We aim to level the playing field for first generation college students who enter the workforce through our wraparound mentorship program. We are always open for more mentors, coaches, advisors, and organizational partners to join our team. Don't hesitate to reach out to us if you are interested!
Let's make a difference. Together.
The Technology Maybe: Gains and Losses in Learning
By David Friedman
President, OC TechCoastAngels
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Born into a hard-working, blue-collar family well before home computers and at a time when reading was essential to learning, I read a lot, including out loud to my immigrant grandmother as she did not know the language. Looking back, education followed a “hands-on” approach, with plenty of opportunities to dig through the trial-and-error process.
Today, technology has made finding an answer to nearly any problem easier and faster. But does our world of FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google) and GFGI (using Google to find answers) create better educated youth? As a self-admitted technologist, I believe the answer is “maybe.”
What does the balance sheet of technology look like in terms of its net-influence on learning and education? Let’s explore.
By Terrell D. Lemons, a BRDG Ambassador
This morning my outfit was laid out for easy dressing: casual and friendly. Imagine; I had been waiting all year for my first in-person encounter with my (BRDG) mentors and peers due to COVID restrictions: this would be my “Personality / Communication Style Workshop” adventure. I would mingle with the Bridge-to-Connect (BRDG) Executive Staff for the first time.
I pulled into the parking lot before 8:00 A.M., nervous… a bit anxious. My feelings that morning were mostly curious...if that can be said to be a feeling (about which I would learn a good deal more at this workshop).
This very weekend became a Life-Affirming event for me. I came away with a profound sense of “who I was” … learning a bit more about myself, as well as a matter of new personality skills I can continue to sharpen for use in my own familiar dilemmas over the years to come. I’m still working on that! Awestruck by the skillful facilitation I witnessed that weekend, I felt unworthy to presume that I might gain such skills.
This workshop has opened my life in ways I cannot really explain. Quite frankly, this weekend I have spent with mentors has given me more than I could possibly have offered them. I am amazed by the personal appreciation of our colorful papers (mine was GOLD - Responsible) at the close of a session. In spite of everything, it seems that the human soul is incredibly resilient. Who’d known that knowing who you are opens the possibility that you can shape your personality around others. I will be forever grateful for this experience.
They Say to be a Better Speaker, a Better Listener
It is harder to deliver a message to someone else without knowing the context in which they will receive it. That is the essence of the ARCH Communication Styles training sponsored by BRDG bridge-to-connect and LTS Training Services. For those new to the ARCH classification system, this stands for Analytical, Responsible, Courageous, and Harmonious, some fundamental personality traits common to all people. Of course, it is normal for people to have some measure of all four traits. However, is it also natural that people have more of one and less of another. These differences between how people absorb the world around them affects communication, and understanding the traits of a person you are talking to can help improve the effectiveness of the communication.
This is the motivation for BRDG to offer this training to our student ambassadors as well as to our volunteers. The quality of communications is not frequently something taught in universities, and yet we feel it is an essential aspect of future success even in science-based careers. A future engineer may have a great idea, however if they can’t explain why their work is important to others, such ideas will wither on the vine unnecessarily.
ARCH training begins with every attendee being presented with a collection of characteristics and being asked to rank them. A simplified example would compare “active”, “traditional”, “versatile”, and “harmonious”. After a series of these rankings, a scoring system yields a value in each of the ARCH categories, which somewhat directly indicates how that person will process information. If someone you are communicating with has a very strong analytical tendency, approaching them with an appeal to emotion may be less effective than sharing statistics.
Role play activities ensue. The talented LTS instructors act out exaggerated caricatures of each ARCH type, then engage the attendees in role play communicating with people with the same traits, and also people with different traits. Group review helps cement the concept of adjusting messaging to someone else’s style, and suggestions come from all on how to improve in the future.
BRDG sponsors ARCH training annually for our volunteers and students. Assessment from the students has been a resounding approval of the skills gained in these sessions. They can apply these skills in their Toastmasters meetings, for example, and ultimately apply them in their job interviews and finally, in their engineering careers. BRDG considers effective communications an essential aspect of a successful career, and ARCH training as a wonderful way to enhance it.