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Caltech Y Food Truck Open House Showcases Student Programs



Pasadena, CA – The Pasadena and Caltech communities joined together on November 9 to learn how the Caltech Y’s student programs are supporting the next generation of responsible, globally-minded citizens. The open house held at the Caltech Y offices on Wilson Street featured international food from Rice Balls of Fire Truck and Tropic Truck, a wine and beer bar, and a student poster session.


Athena Castro, executive director for the Caltech Y, said that the 80 attendees left the open house with a better understanding of the wide-ranging programs and activities her group offers.


“Caltech is a world leader in educating innovative leaders, scientists, and engineers,” Castro said. “At the Caltech Y, we complement this work by encouraging students to use their talents so they can be powerful agents of social, economic, and environmental change.”



The event featured 6 presentations from undergraduate and graduate students sharing their experiences in Caltech Y programs and activities, from hiking in Yosemite to working with underserved teenagers in the Youth of Promise program to meeting with science policymakers in Washington D.C. Student leaders from the Caltech Y’s newest initiative, Lab Equipment Access Program, also delivered a poster presentation. They shared how collecting used Caltech laboratory equipment and donating them to public schools will help promote equity and diversity in science and engineering.


Chemistry graduate student Manni He attended the open house to represent the Caltech Y’s Student Activism Speaker Series. She appreciated how the event offered opportunities to connect in a relaxed atmosphere in this new style of event for the Caltech Y. “The food was delicious, and I enjoyed the insightful and fun conversations!”



Thanks to the generosity of Caltech alumni, faculty, staff, and donors, the Caltech Y also provides financial awards to students eager to explore outside of campus. Seniors Hope Arnett and Gabriella Twombly, for instance, received assistance from the Hastrup Adventure Award to understand their family ancestry in Scotland and Ireland. Junior Luke Zhou used funds from the Patrick Hummel and Harry Gray Award to attend his first American Chemical Society conference in San Francisco.


“Through these [ACS] presentations, I was able to expose myself to research fields that I had not previously known about at all,” said Zhou who made a poster presentation.



Cindy Bengston has been active in the Pasadena community for over 40 years through Leadership Pasadena, Los Altos Auxiliary for Hathaway Sycamores, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles. She currently serves as the Caltech Y’s board president.


“I’m thrilled the open house drew so many new faces to the Caltech Y house,” Bengston said. “The more people learn about the Caltech Y and its outsized impact on Pasadena, the more they’ll want to be involved and support our mission.”


Established in 1916, the Caltech Y is affiliated with Caltech but remains an independent nonprofit. Through a variety of initiatives, the Caltech Y empowers students to broaden their perspectives, become leaders and nurture responsible citizens of the world. 








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