Engineering a Successful Future for Bay Area Youth

By: Laura Freeze 

At the recent United Way On Track Career Expo in San Francisco, we caught up with Ravi Desphande, a field applications engineer with Texas Instruments (TI) in Sunnyvale, California. Ravi is a friendly, familiar face not only to United Way because of his work in the community, but also to TI customers and United Way’s Mayor’s Youth Jobs+ participants.

As a local graduate of San Jose State University, Ravi has worked with TI for nearly five years. He relishes the daily challenge of communicating with customers about a wide array of issues– essentially “being a front-facing TI to them,”– while serving as a technical resource.

Ravi is also an invaluable resource for youth in the community who are preparing for college or a career. Many of the young people he interacts with are driven and ambitious, but may need some extra guidance or support in realizing their goals.

 

Why are you involved in programs like Mayor’s Youth Jobs+?

 

I want to be a catalyst to help them [youth] see that STEM programs, especially engineering, are not out of reach. They are very attainable. Getting involved was really the key for me that motivated me to come out and help.

 

Were you doing some coaching or mentoring?

 

I was being an education coach, talking about their high school experiences, where they can go to college, and helping them determine what is beyond college with the opportunities that lie ahead for them.

 

Do you feel like the high school students took to heart what you had to say?

 

Absolutely. I had a very good conversation with a student, Catherine, who was interested in becoming an electrical engineer. She was seeking a path on what steps to take, from high school to college, and then college forward. I was happy that I was able to affect one student in a positive direction.

 

Do you want to keep being involved in this events in the future?

 

Absolutely. Being involved with the youth and being able to influence them in the right direction, helping them out with their career paths, is something I definitely want to continue.

 

Maybe in the future there will events in the South Bay?

 

I think there is a lot of potential for a platform like this [connecting youth to career opportunities] to be implemented across the Bay. I think there are very many people who can benefit from the fact that there are so many companies and corporations in this area. There are so many different career possibilities and avenues here.

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