Core Competencies

What is a core competency? 

A core competency is a defining capability that sets you apart from the rest. Core competencies are important for personal development since they push you to constantly better yourself. In regards to professional development, core competencies are important since they can push your forward in a very competitive job market.


Critical Thinking Narrative:

Critical thinking involves an investigative approach to correctly evaluate and interpret information before arriving at a personal opinion. Important personal learning experiences that have helped me advance my critical thinking skills are as follows: through class assignments, community service, etc. Class assignments that I have worked on through out my college career have all involved some type of critical thinking, especially my policy analysis! Working with other students on group project involves critical thinking because it requires you to think outside the box and be open to other’s opinions, before deciding on your own standpoint. By being more open-minded, you are capable of learning more from others and improving your own way of thinking. Working in the community has strengthened my critical thinking abilities because it has also taught me to be more open-minded. Our local community is very diverse, composed of many different people that come from very different backgrounds. In order for us to work together as a team on community service projects it is highly important that we are capable of recognizing our differences, but still be able to find common ground. I think this involves critical thinking because it requires you to be analytical and (again) open-minded.

While working on my policy analysis paper, I was able to strengthen my critical thinking skills specifically through my research. While conducting research, I had to make sure the data I was acquiring was sound. In previous semesters, I always trusted data coming from what I considered to be “reliable sources”: such as government agencies, universities, or trustworthy nonprofit organizations. During this project, I made sure to evaluate each source thoroughly and only use those who provided valid evidence.

Through working on my capstone project, I have been able to strengthen my critical thinking skills by viewing both sides of plastic pollution equally. I have been able to not only address the issue of marine plastic pollution but also the importance of plastic products in our every day lives.


Written Communication Narrative:

Written communication is the development and voicing of ideas through writing. Important personal learning experiences that have helped me advance my written communication skills were class assignments and internships. Through out my undergraduate studies at CSU Monterey Bay, there have been several writing assignments that have contributed to my written communication skills. However, out of all of the writing assignments I have encountered only three truly stand out. In BIO 240 (An ecology and evolution course), I spent the first half of the semester working on an annotated bibliography about cuttlefish. This strengthened my ability to provide information for my reader regarding a specific species and expanded my scientific writing vocabulary. The second half of the semester was spent on a dune lab, which required studying the Fort Ord Dune’s natural and invasive species and searching through past data for comparisons. This lab strengthened my written communication skills because I was able to get more practice writing in a more scientific form (rather than journalistic).

Lastly, my policy analysis paper has been a great experience to strengthen my written communication skills. This is because I spent a large amount of time learning how to display information for my reader without including my own bias. At first this was a struggle for me, but over time I realized the importance of being able to relay information without bias.

Two summers ago I had an internship with a company from Virginia. During my internship, I had the opportunity to work on scientifically written progress reports that were turned into our sponsors at the end of every month. This experience strengthened my written communication skills because it taught me how to communicate with my coworkers and correctly relay vital information to our sponsors.

While working on my capstone project, I had to create a script for my powerpoint presentation. Through this experience, I was able to learn how to effectively deliver scientific information to younger audiences; therefore I feel I have been able to further strengthen my written communication skills.


Oral Communication Narrative:

Oral communication is the prepared, deliberative presentation of knowledge and understanding in order to bolster change in an audience’s beliefs, values, attitudes, or behaviors. In class presentations and community outreach opportunities with Surfrider Foundation are both important personal learning experiences that have helped me advance my oral communication skills. Public speaking is often difficult for many students; therefore I am thankful that my classes at CSU Monterey Bay have given me several opportunities to strengthen my oral speaking skills. This semester I had to give a final presentation on hydraulic fracturing in my water law and allocation class (ENSTU 387). This presentation strengthened my oral communication skills because it covered a topic that I am not too familiar with. In order to feel confident about my presentation, I had to take the time to truly research my topic and educate myself about fracking.

While working at public outreach events with Surfrider Foundation, I have been able to strengthen my public speaking abilities through communicating with the public. By speaking with the public and forming relationships with members of my community, I feel that I have truly strengthened my oral communication skills. I think it is very important to educate the public about environmental issues in our area and in order to do so I must be knowledgeable on the topic. I have spent many hours researching the adverse effects on marine plastic pollution that way I can provide members of the community with information that can help bolster change in our community. I hope my oral communication skills have inspired community members to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle and protect the environment.

When delivering my presentation for my capstone project I had the opportunity to practice my oral speaking skills several times. Through seven different presentations, I was able to strengthen my oral speaking skills and decrease my overall fear of public speaking.


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