DMA Saints Graduate Profile
Precious Listana ’11
College: University of California, Berkeley
Major: Cognitive Science
Precious will graduate this spring and plans to enter education as an educator, or a practitioner developing STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities. In her time at Berkeley, Precious co-founded the Invention Corps of Berkeley, a student-led organization that teaches and applies human-centered design.
Tell us a bit about your college experience and career path, and what you find most fulfilling about your work with Invention Corps.
My college experience can easily be summed up in the word, exploration. I switched majors two times and have lived in four different types of housing communities: the dorms, Greek housing, the Berkeley Co-op system and now in my own room in a 5-bedroom house. I also took college as an opportunity to get involved in diverse communities. Through my exploration, my proudest collegiate accomplishment is co-founding the Invention Corps of Berkeley.
The Invention Corps of Berkeley is one of the most multidisciplinary student-led organizations on campus that teaches and applies human-centered design. We work with companies, nonprofits, startups and academics that have existing solutions around poverty, health, environment and society. Through our collaboration, we ideate and iterate on user feedback, market research, app development and so much more to scale our impact. I’m proud to say that we have grown from a team of 4 to 33 inventors that are committed to learning and making a tangible impact with their skills and diverse teams.
I believe that bridging theory and practice is essential in developing innovative solutions to tough problems. And, with equal importance, it’s essential to build teams from all types of backgrounds (both lived and practical experiences) while providing them the opportunity to grow their skills that invigorate their passions. And, with the Invention Corps, we’re committed in both developing our community and our impact.
Can you share how your time at De Marillac shaped you as a person and shaped your career.
De Marillac shaped my curiosity and passion for service. I remember how engaging and inquisitive my math class with Mr. Orozco, and how it greatly influenced me to major in applied math. His learning style also gave me a head-start in high school math, and I started my freshman year with trigonometry (typically a junior class). There were also numerous friendly competitions that excited me to learn and apply my learnings. Being a part of the Academic Decathlon team also developed my curiosity. Every year, I learned numerous topics and pushed myself to do my best in every competition.
Above all, De Marillac did a terrific job in fostering my passion for service. We participated in the Gubbio Project with Saint Anthony’s Foundation and made sandwiches for those in need. We also organized countless drives from basic hygiene supplies to canned food. There was always an opportunity for reflection in our “Family Time”, a time for us to work with various grades to discuss how we can be better leaders in our community. I’m proud to have graduated from a place that is so invested in how we create impact.
You graduate from UC Berkeley this spring, what’s next?
I’m looking forward to working in education either as an educator, or a practitioner developing STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities. My work with the Kapor Center, an Oakland-based organization that is leveling the playing field for underrepresented communities in education and entrepreneurship, has inspired me to see the challenges and opportunities in the education field. If I become an educator, I’d love to teach computer science to high school students from low-income communities. If I become a practitioner, I’d like to improve and advocate for STEM-exposure opportunities. Whatever I do, I’d like to make an impact in creating inclusive and accessible STEM opportunities for underrepresented communities.
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