Student Stories

motoko-tanaka
Motoko Tanaka
Japanese Security Engineer Gains Silicon Valley Skills...
Motoko Tanaka says that it is common for engineers in Japan to work for one company for their entire career. After twelve years at Fujitsu, one of the country’s largest companies, Tanaka was ready to transition to a new career. In fall 2012, she contacted the International program staff...
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Sharon Ryou
Seasoned Teacher Gains Vital Experience in the ESL...
Jeongmin (Sharon) Ryou taught math in Korea for 12 years before moving to the United States with her family. An active community volunteer, Ryou was looking for more ways to apply her teaching skills in Silicon Valley when a friend recommended UCSC Extension’s TESOL certificate program....
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Sheela Sampath
Software Engineer Finds OPT Opportunities Through...
When Sheela Sampath left India, she was already an experienced software engineer. Her husband had accepted a job in the United States and she arrived as a dependent on his visa, but before long she realized she wanted to enter the workforce herself. In order to do that, she had to learn the...
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Hongkai (Kyle) Shin
Computer Programming Student Launches First...
Hongkai (Kyle) Shin studied kickboxing and mixed martial arts in the Bay Area for years before leaving the sport to go to college, earn a degree in applied mathematics, and eventually work in supply chain management. In 2013, after eight years on the job, Shin realized that what he really wanted...
priyanka-soni
Priyanka Soni
Experienced Marketer Gets Social Media Savvy at UCSC...
In summer 2014, while interning for Silicon Valley startup AdviseHub, Priyanka Soni arranged for the growing company’s CEO to be interviewed on a prominent Bay Area radio show. This resulted in a noticeable increase in awareness about the startup and its user engagement. The experience...
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Mary Kent
Corporate Trainer Finds New Career Path in...
Mary Kent has always been an educator. She started her career by pursuing an elementary school teaching credential. From there she transitioned into leadership training, eventually working her way up the corporate ladder as a professional trainer and supervisor of her company’s training...
navneet kaur
Navneet Kaur
Plant Biologist Discovers Passion for Bioinformatics...
Bioinformatics student Vasumathi Kode likes to sink her teeth into a good scientific puzzle. When she worked as a staff scientist in Hawaii, Kode worked for a private company that focused on the use of microalgae as a potential source of biofuel. Over time, she found her interest shifting from...
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Purnima Krishnamurthy
Instructional Designer Uses Extension Expertise to...
Purnima Krishnamurthy was considering a shift in careers in the mid-2000s when she came across a UCSC Extension brochure at her local library. Her professional background was in accounting and IT, and though she had experience in instructional design, Krishnamurthy wanted to find a program where...
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Michael P. Ramirez, ASP
Retired U.S. Navy Seabee, Applies New EH&S Skills...
Among Michael Ramirez’s professional accomplishments: he has managed the safety program for construction projects in southern Afghanistan, served as the platoon commander, safety officer and reserve coordinator for the battalion and regiment in southern California, and completed 20 years of...
nadine-kabbara
Nadine Kabbara
International Learning and Development Professional...
Nadine Kabbara is a professional in learning and development with more than fifteen years of international experience. She worked abroad with Deloitte Consulting and led client projects in human capital. As a people development consultant, she designed, developed, and delivered numerous corporate...
gina-bello
Gina Bello
Colombian English Teacher Discovers Online Learning at...
Gina Bello got to know a different side of Silicon Valley’s biggest corporations during the summer she spent volunteering as an ESL teaching assistant. Bello had relocated to Northern California from her native Colombia to earn a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other...
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Sunaina Yelwal Prabhakar
Test Automation Engineer Transitions into the World of...
As an intern at a local startup, Sunaina Yelwal Prabhakar is designing a JavaScript software development kit for a mobile backend-as-a-service (MBaaS) platform. In other words: she’s gaining the quintessential Silicon Valley experience for programmers and developers. She discovered this...
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Kahori Nakagawa
Japanese Financial Analyst Gains Graduate-Level...
Kahori Nakagawa was working as an investment consultant at a think tank in Tokyo when she decided to take her career in an entirely different direction. Though she had already gone back to school to get a master’s in architecture, there simply weren’t any jobs in her field of interest...
mark-burriss
Mark Burriss
EH&S Professional Expands Professional Community...
When Mark Burriss was working on his master’s in environmental studies at San Jose State University, he discovered a passion for industrial hygiene. He shared his interest in the field with his professor, who introduced him to UCSC Extension’s then-new Hazardous Materials Management...
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Fernando Barbosa de Azevedo
Brazilian Software Developer Explores Passion for Web...
After working for a software company in his native Brazil, Fernando Barbosa de Azevedo had his eyes on Silicon Valley. He had studied software independently online and wanted the opportunity to learn real-world applications in California, and hopefully transition that experience into a software...

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