Written by Brandy A. Hyatt, CSU STEM*VISTA
Chris Martin became the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Pandora March 18, 2014. At Pandora he manages engineers, developers and customer service representatives. In total he manages 250 people and roughly 140 of them are engineers. Martin has not always been what we know him to be, an incredible engineer with an eye for innovation. He at one point was a college student trying to figure out his career path. Martin came back to his Alma Mater, UC Berkeley (CAL), for a question and answer session for Engineer’s week. This event was put on by CAL's Engineering Student Council (ESC).
Martin grew up in Berkeley, where he attended Berkeley High School. He then pursued his undergraduate degree at UC Santa Cruz. He soon realized that UC Santa Cruz was not a good fit and transferred to CAL to get his Bachelor of Sciences in Mathematics. Soon after, he joined a tech start up running errands and answering phone calls in customer service. He always took full advantage of every position to sharpen his skills. "I would try to take the every technical phone calls," Martin stated. During his time at the start up, he was able to learn and develop skills outside of his job position. This made him a well rounded worker.
"...its not always about working on a long term goal, its about setting short term goals."
Chris Martin on goals
Before joining Pandora, Martin would spend three year spans at each job he did. Martin's positions were mostly variations of QA Analysts. In 2004, his then supervisor and current mentor was leaving and asked Martin to join him. Later that year he started at then Savage Beast (now Pandora) to become their Director of Software. He said having a mentor, or as he called it a "champion" was important in his path. If it was not for his mentor pushing him and giving him guidance, he may not be where he is today at Pandora. He said that mentors can come from anywhere. It could be your supervisor, a person you meet in class or at a conference. One has to be willing to reach out to someone and take initiative, the worse thing they can say is no.
Martin worked as the Director of Software for five years before being promoted to Vice President of Engineering. Martin felt that he was finally in a place he enjoyed and saw that there was room for movement. Pandora was the first company he stayed longer than three years. In the spring of 2014, Pandora, then CTO and mentor, Tom Conrad stepped down and Martin became his successor.
"The thing she regretted was that she didn't have something outside of work to identify with, "
Chris Martin on an engineering friend.
Martin left aspiring engineers with these words of advice:
Written by Matthew Granados, PfC Student Leader
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, I served as a student ambassador for the STEM Career Expo and it was a great opportunity. At the expo, the high school students had an opportunity to speak with STEM-focused employers and on-campus departments. As an ambassador, I had an experience that was both fun and rewarding. I had to guide the visiting students from table to table as they received information from STEM organizations and employers.
At the very beginning, I began to converse with my assigned group to ease their comfort level before entering the Expo. I started by introducing myself and they followed with questions about campus life at CSUEB. Being a resident of the Campus for 2 years I was able to answer their questions to satisfaction and they were ever more excited to enter the Expo. This was great test of my interpersonal skills, as I needed to make sure my group felt comfortable with me and their environment. During the event, I was glad to see my group engage the STEM organizations with a plethora of questions ranging from everyday job experience, personal opinions, and prospective analysis of professions in the future.
There were times I had to facilitate the attention of my group and make sure they were paying attention to the STEM representatives. When my group’s attention seemed diverted, I simply told them to pay attention in a collective manner and ask any questions that may stir their interest. They cooperated easily and again became more interested and excited of STEM Careers. Overall, the event went smoothly and my group and I had an enjoyable time. The students within my group engaged themselves to network and were able to gain a different perspective on what they may want to do in the future. My group happily befriended me from start and by the end of the event gave me praise for being their leader.
The Institute for STEM Education is fortunate enough to have four wonderful students working in the Institute this year.The Pioneer for Change (PfC) Student Leaders are working with the Institute to promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) on and off campus. PfC Student Leaders projects include: STEM outreach, teaching hands on science for an after school program in Emeryville, working STEM focused events on and off campus, and creating marketing tools for the Institute. Here is a bit about the PfC STEM Track Student Leaders.
Biological Science (Option Forensics)
Hobbies: Watching movies, playing different sports, watching my favorite teams, putting on make up, dancing, working out, baking, decorating, crafting, playing card games, listening to music, and volunteering.
There is no place like home. This school has the major that I want, which is biological science with an option of forensics. I ended up at CSUEB because I didn't want to leave the Bay Area. This is my favorite place to be because I know where everything is, I love drinking the best water, and I love this bipolar weather. It is not too close or too far from home.
Right now, I am in the Pioneers for Change: STEM track. Honestly, I was not sure if this is what I wanted to do. Then I went to the workshop to see what it was about and I fell in love with it. It sounded like a great opportunity and I went for it because I really like to teach and inspire middle school students that science is interesting and fun. I love every little minute of it and I knew that I would.
As for my future, I am not really sure what I want to do. I want to see where my path is going to take me. The main goal is to get my bachelors. Possibly, get a masters, maybe becoming a police officer, then start working on what I really want to do.
I want to do something related to crime scene investigation or criminalist work. I know that with all this comes with hard work, training, and more hard work, but I cannot wait.
Having grown up in the Bay Area, I have always loved being a part of the culture and the vibrancy of the local communities that compose it. I knew that I wanted to study along with those who have grown up in the area, but I also wanted a fresh perspective, and to meet new people from other parts of the country and even the world. I have found all of those things at Cal State East Bay, and over the past year have become a part of CSUEB’s community through the Pioneers for Change program in a way I previously thought not possible.
As a Biology major, choosing to become a part of the STEM track seemed to me an easy decision, and once I came to know my coworkers and the nature of the work we would be doing, I was extremely happy with my decision. Learning that I would be co-teaching science at an after school program under the supervision of many who teach professionally, I feel very blessed. As a teacher in the local community who is working to spread the love of science I have to children who are in the position I was in not long ago, I feel as though I am not only gaining work experience, but the confidence to pursue a career in education and academia. It is the STEM program which has been the inspirational catalyst for me to actively pursue a teaching credential, which I plan to take underway in the coming spring. Under the tutelage of those in the STEM department, I am now actively working toward a career which I am already excited in being a part of.
Communications (Media Production)
Hobbies: Poetry, Audio Production, Cinema-Film
I have always wanted to move out of East Los Angeles and start a new life in the Bay Area, so California State University, East Bay was a great choice for me. I became a PfC Student Leader for the Institute for STEM Education because I believe it is essential for the minds of all people to be interested in the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We experience these concepts every waking hour and to understand them in depth gives us a better understanding of ourselves and the universe. Following graduation, I plan to pursue entrepreneurial venture by encompassing my major and hobbies.
Hobbies: Swimming, dancing, traveling
I chose to attend CSUEB because I’m from Southern California and wanted to go away for college but not too far away from home. When I started looking into attending colleges in Northern California, CSUEB is one of the schools I applied to. After applying, I started attending community events where CSUEB staff and students were present. I decided to attend CSUEB because the people were friendly and the campus was diverse. I wanted to become a pioneer for change STEM track leader because it would give me an opportunity to mentor and teach youth STEM. As psychology major, this opportunity would allow me to develop skills such as communication and interacting with people from various ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds. My goal is to become either a marriage and family therapist or a school psychologist/therapist. I have a bucket list of things I want to accomplish that include traveling the world.
If you are interested in the Pioneers for Change Program, hiring for Fall 2015 will be starting soon. For more information, please visit: Center for Community Engagement Website