- Isabel Barrios

Term : January, 2014
Department : Business and Management
Program : Project and Program Management

Isabel Barrios is accustomed to standing out in her field. As the only woman in her graduate electrical engineering program at the University of Guadalajara, she discovered her passion for technology at an early age. She left Mexico to pursue her career in the United States, where she worked for engineering firms for many years, coordinating the development of new products and collaborating with developers, designers, manufacturers and marketers. When her company was acquired by a larger corporation, she realized that she might have a future in project management. She turned to UCSC Extension’s Project and Program Management certificate program to expand her skillset.

"I’ve worked with engineering, purchasing, and customer support," she says. "Though I never had the title of project manager, I functioned as such. I felt that by completing a certificate, I’d have a much better chance of catching a company's attention and opening the doors to new opportunities."

Barrios appreciated the program’s practical approach to management and business communications. She especially valued the course in “Project Leadership and Communication” as well as “Project Integration and Risk Management.”  She liked how these skills were reinforced in her “Applied Project Management” course, where had to she work with a team to design an amusement park.

"The instructors were smart and highly educated,” she says. “They emphasized that management is about connecting with the people you’re trying to manage and coordinate, not just by the book, but to truly engage with them. The role of the project manager is not just to send emails and follow up with your team, but to motivate your people, and be a leader, not just a manager."

Barrios completed the Project and Program Management certificate in the summer of 2013. Her courses reinforced valuable management skills that she had developed during her tenure in engineering communications - skills she puts to work every day.

Visit our Project and Program Management page to learn more about UCSC Extension’s unique offerings. Browse upcoming Project and Program Management courses.

Read more UCSC Extension student stories.

Share your own Extension story.