July 27, 2017

Scholar Voices: My Summer with the TGR Learning Lab

Earl Woods Scholar and University of California, Irvine rising sophomore, Ruben Triscareno spent the summer interning with the Tiger Woods Foundation. Based at the TGR Learning Lab in Anaheim these past few months, Ruben joined the academic support staff, assisting in all aspects of our STEM and college access summer programs. Read on to learn some high points from his summer, including what he gained from his experience helping out during our High School Summer Academy.

As an Earl Woods Scholar, I never really noticed what went on behind the scenes at the TGR Learning Lab (TGRLL). I never fully appreciated the amount of labor and time it takes to get the programs running. However, after spending a partial amount of my summer interning with the TGR Learning Lab, I got a glimpse of all the activities and endeavors that the staff endure every day to keep the TGRLL running smoothly. I gained a new sense of appreciation for the staff, for the tremendous amount of work they do and how well they excel at their job. They are without a doubt some of the greatest people I have interacted with. I chose to intern at the TGRLL because I wanted to give back and help those who have helped me throughout the college application process and through my journey in college.

My role at the learning lab was to provide student academic support which consisted of a plethora of tasks from facilitating parking enforcement to aiding instructors in their classes. In addition to performing these tasks I was also preparing for the High School Summer Academy where 50 students from the Los Angeles region come to the TGR Learning Lab for a week and take part in workshops and activities offering them insight toward college myths, facts and what they can expect after high school. The students, who all had the opportunity to dorm at UCI for the full week, were phenomenal and after hearing their possible career choices it just astonished me how passionate these students were toward their career path.

I was able to contribute some of my knowledge regarding college to the students in hopes that it might answer some of their questions or concerns. I also had the opportunity, alongside my fellow academic support colleague Monserrat Orozco, to construct an activity for the High School Summer Academy program that was similar to a relay race but unique in its own way, which the students really enjoyed.

Coming into the TGR Learning Lab, I only knew the Earl Woods Scholar team and some faculty workers. However, over the summer I had the opportunity to meet and work alongside many new faces including programs manager Ms. Kimberly O’Toole and the academic support staff, whom I worked closely with during High School Summer Academy. I really bonded with everyone, but I felt a strong bond with Andres Cuamani, who was also part of the academic support team. Since we were both taking care of ten students each, we would help each other out and look out for one another. I learned about his background and I admired his dedication to stay strong despite the challenges he has endured throughout his life.

All of the students were amazing and outstanding. I will not forget the Elevator Speech activity where some of the students had the opportunity to present themselves in front of their peers and talk about themselves. The one student that left his impression on me was Racine Camara. What stood out to me was his determination to aid his family and be a positive role model to his younger brother. I admired his mindset and realized that Racine and I are not so different.

My summer interning with the Tiger Woods Foundation is one I will not forget. I gained so much and truly had a wonderful experience during the High School Summer Academy Program, interacting with a group of amazing students, who I know will go far.

Redefining what it means to be a champion.