Dean Emily Allen's Message - December 2020

Emily Alen, Dean College of ECST
Dr. Emily Allen, Dean, College of ECST

Dear ECST Alumni and Friends,

We’re another 90 days into our remote pandemic operations, but who’s counting?

I hope you were able to enjoy a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday. I just passed my seven-year mark here at ECST, and every day I count my blessings. I am so thankful for our incredibly committed College faculty and staff, who always put students at the center of their activities. I am thankful for our students, who are remarkable human beings, resilient and loving. Many of them have suffered losses during this time, yet they remain committed to each other and to a future they know will be shaped by their education. I am also deeply grateful to you, our alumni and friends, who continue to support the College, our activities, our faculty, and our students. It says a lot about an educational institution when its alumni give back and want to stay engaged. It tells the story about what a difference we made in your lives.

Later this week the College will hold a Silver Lining Town Hall. The idea is to bring all our faculty and staff together along with a handful of students for a discussion about the positive aspects of our College operations and the delivery of our educational mission during this time of remote learning and teaching. What have we learned about each other? What have we actually improved with these changes? What should we bring with us when we are able to return to campus? What should we leave behind? In other words, we’ll be looking for the silver lining in this terrible pandemic. Education is all about the future, and we plan to shape our “new normal” by looking for solutions among some of the changes we’ve experienced during this time.

On that note, I thought you might enjoy watching this campus video, “When This is Over.” The video was produced for Campus Convocation in September; back then, we didn’t know how long the pandemic would last. We still don’t. And we certainly didn’t know we’d be facing a surge in the pandemic at this point in time. The video highlights Cal State LA’s response and resilience.

During this time when we can’t be together physically, I stay in touch with our students through monthly “Coffee Chats” online. The chats are an open forum where any student can bring their concerns or ideas about the College directly to me. I like to think this helps them. It helps keep me at least a little tuned in to the lives and needs of our students.

As we send you the current issue of our newsletter, wildfires are still burning in California and 2020 now ranks as the worse fire season in the state in recorded history. The timing seems appropriate to highlight the College’s Fire Protection Administration and Technology program. First, we profile just some of the many Cal State LA alums who have risen to leadership positions in the fire service. Some of them teach in our program or in the community colleges that feed into it. Second, we invite you to read two articles written by the University about several of our students who worked on the front lines of the fires this year.

Other articles in this issue of the newsletter include information about recent faculty research grants and our Capstone corporate supporters; faculty innovations with new pedagogy; and some recent virtual events we hosted.

As we approach the end of the calendar year, we are heartened by the increasing interest and engagement of our alumni and friends. We offer several ways for you to stay engaged in the college through the opportunities below.

Contribute to ECST
Want to help us provide the best education possible to current students? Please donate to:

  • the Acceleration Initiative (strengthens our academic support through peer mentoring and engagement with students)
  • the ECST Student Success Fund (professional readiness programs, including student travel)
  • the Dean’s Fund for Innovation (supplies our remote lab kits or other priorities)
  • the Makerspace Fund (ensures our students get plenty of hands-on opportunities to design, build, and test)

For more information about making an impactful gift, please contact me directly at ( or Kevin Doody (, or give online at

Connect with Fellow ECST Alums
Want to connect with fellow ECST alums? Join me, along with ECST Alumni Network Chairs Maida Lopez ’03, and Ricson Chude ’08, for our second alumni virtual social hour during E-Week in February 2021 (dates and details TBA). Hear ECST updates, meet other alumni, and learn about the ECST Alumni Network and its mission to support you! For more information on the network, to register for the upcoming social, and to sign up for the Alumni Network mailing list, please visit the ECST Alumni Network website:

Join the ECST Speakers Bureau
Looking for a way to give back to students? How about joining our Speakers Bureau? This is a new ECST initiative that will help us create a repository of potential speakers for the College. We’ll be able to share your interest in speaking with the appropriate departments, student organizations, alumni network, and faculty. We’ll ask you fill out an online form with the background information, and then we’ll get in touch when the right opportunity arises. This might be a presentation by video conference or in person when we’re back on campus. Thanks for signing up!