Dominic Stephen, '15, (at left, pictured with teacher Glenn Mangold on graduation night) attends Sierra College in Rocklin, where he majors in mechanical engineering.

FRESHMAN FOCUS: Dominic Stephen likes small classes, quality engineering program at Sierra College

(Photo used by permission of Stephen)
Dominic Stephen, ’15, (at left, pictured with teacher Glenn Mangold on graduation night) attends Sierra College in Rocklin, where he majors in mechanical engineering.

Find out what the members of the class of 2015 are up to in their first year of college. A college freshman is featured in the Freshman Focus every week.

Dominic Stephen, ‘15, attends Sierra College in Rocklin. He is majoring in mechanical engineering.

Q: Why did you decide to go to Sierra College?

A: I originally planned to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, but made a last-minute decision to attend Sierra because of financial constraints. Financially, it’s a good option like any community college. It hasn’t cost me anything this year so far.

Also the transferring from a community college to a UC is set up really well. It’s almost like you have priority over people going in from a high school.

Q: What makes Sierra College special?

A: It’s well known for its engineering program. My engineering professor was a professional engineer and worked in the industry for a long time. So it has a strong STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program.

It being a community college, you can take classes at any community college simultaneously. Since Sierra is small compared to (Sacramento City College or American River College), if you have trouble getting into classes at Sierra, you can look for them at ARC and Sac City.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Calculus II, an engineering course called Technical Drawing, physics and English.

Q: What are your favorite and least favorite classes?

A: My favorite class would be my engineering class, because it’s all technical drawing by hand and on the computer. It’s a fun combination of drawing and math.

My least favorite class would be calculus because it’s crazy difficult.

Q: Do you live on campus?

A: No, I live at home.

Q: How is the food?

A: It’s okay. I would equate it to a high-school cafeteria.

Q: How are you adjusting to the campus? Have you gotten lost or had problems navigating the campus?

A: It’s a pretty small campus, but during the first semester it took me a while to find the classes. I’m pretty well adjusted to the layout now.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing freshman mistake you’ve made so far?

A: This isn’t really a mistake, but I took a women’s history class during the fall semester, and I was one of only two guys in the class. It was a little weird because I felt judged if I said anything.

Q: Why did you decide to take women’s history?

A: I registered pretty late and it was available, so I took it. It surprisingly turned out to be a pretty good class.

Q: What has surprised you about Sierra College?

A: A lot has surprised me. It being a community college, I had this idea that it was going to be easy. I think that is what most people would expect, but it is pretty difficult, especially this semester because I am taking engineering, physics and math.

What also surprised me was the quality of the education. The class sizes are small with about 20 or so people per class.

There are also no TA’s.

Q: Do you have any advice for the class of 2016?

A: Take it easy. It was a stressful time for me to figure out where I was going to go because it was a last-minute decision to go to Sierra, but just remember it will all work out. Don’t take it too seriously.

—By Allison Zhang

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