Engineer, educator, and parent Vicki Chen Ben-Yaacov has announced she will run for a seat on the Goleta Union School Board of Education on the November ballot.
Chen received her MS and PhD degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She spent more than 16 years in the tech industry in Goleta and Santa Barbara, including nearly 12 years at Sonos, a home audio corporation based in downtown Santa Barbara.
She is also the mother of two children at Isla Vista Elementary School in the Goleta Union School District and is very involved in their education. Through volunteering in their classes, she observed that many children do not have access to extra curriculum, role models, or even basic technologies needed for them to engage in modern education.
During her time at Sonos, Chen led a number of outreach programs aimed at inspiring a love of science and engineering in elementary school through college age students. She left Sonos in 2018 to pursue her passion of working with and helping K-12 students, and in 2019 she founded the nonprofit organization Youth Innovation Club.
“Elementary schools are where we lay down the foundation for children,” Chen stated. “While Youth Innovation Club mostly focuses on middle school students, I wanted to find other ways to improve education for younger children, and I believe being a board member with Goleta Union School District will give me an opportunity to do so.”
In addition to her passion for improving educational opportunities, Chen is an advocate for preserving our beautiful environment. She has worked with the Goleta Union School District and Santa Barbara County on a model compost program at Isla Vista School.
School districts are facing budgetary challenges due to the pandemic. While state revenues are projected to decrease, we still have a need for additional testing and cleaning supplies for safe social distancing in order for schools to safely reopen.
Chen noted, “It is critical that our students be safe and healthy and the district be fiscally sound as we face new and ongoing challenges, while ensuring that students’ education is not compromised. The pandemic we are currently experiencing is not only devastating to our health and our economy, but also the learning loss experienced by many youths in our community will have long term effects on our society,” Chen added. “We are all in this together. I believe we should all do our part to help where we can.”