Student Stories

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Stella Su
Software Engineer Finds Unique Job After Completing...
Stella Su had been working as a technical account manager at Google for a few years when she decided it was time for a shift. “When I quit, I wanted to take a long break and figure out what I wanted to do for a career,” Su says. She had a lot of customer service experience, but she...
rebecca-pereira
Rebecca Pereira
EH&S Student Lands Dream Job
Rebecca Pereira’s lifelong passion is keeping people safe. As a child, she dreamed of becoming a firefighter. After studying at Extension, she recently landed what she says is her real dream job: Health and Safety Manager, Americas, at a top technology company.  Twenty years ago,...
emily-norman
Emily Norman
Experienced IT EHR Manager Develops Key Skills for...
Emily Norman discovered UCSC Extension’s Human Resource Management and Information Technology courses during the height of the Great Recession—a point in her life where she had to evaluate her own professional interests and needs. As a seasoned professional with more than 30 years of...
nikhila-yadunath
Nikhila Yadunath
IT Professional Discovers New Opportunities After...
Before she moved to the United States, Nikhila Yadunath worked on a software development and research project for Boeing in India. She relocated to California to join her husband, and after a few years was eager to update her skillset for the American market. When she discovered that UCSC...
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Divya Hariharan
Print Designer Transitions into Role as UX/UI Designer...
Divya Hariharan started her career in print graphic design in India before moving to California with her husband in 2012. While searching for new opportunities in Silicon Valley, she realized that if she wanted to get ahead in her field, she’d have to learn to design for the interactive Web...
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Afag Shukurova
Azerbaijani Businesswoman Plans New Business in...
Before she left Azerbaijan, Afag Shukurova ran her own event planning business. Armed with two bachelor’s degrees and a master’s degree, she successfully led her own team before leaving for California to join her sister and brother. When she arrived in Silicon Valley, she realized...
maani-salimi
Maani Salimi
Iranian Filmmaker Develops Startup in the Heart of...
Maani Salimi is a filmmaker, marketer and entrepreneur extraordinaire. He moved to the United States from Iran in 2015, with the initial thought of attending film school in Chicago and later launching a startup. He soon learned that the most effective path to launching a business in the United...
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Utku Sahiner
Turkish Marketer Discovers New Career Opportunities in...
Utku Sahiner arrived in San Francisco in 2010 after working as a marketing coordinator for an education company in his native Turkey and launching a small marketplace startup. When he arrived in the Bay Area, he wanted to find a program that would offer the practical experience and industry...
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Dernie Hashemzadeh
Business Analyst Uses Technical Writing Skills to...
Dernie Hashemzadeh started her career as a coder at Accenture, where she eventually transitioned into user training and documentation, skills she later applied as a consultant for a small Bay Area firm. When her supervisor recommended she take a marketing course, she enrolled at UCSC Extension,...
renata-carico
Renata Carico
Experienced Engineer Transitions into Career As...
Renata Carico’s pathway to her career in financial planning carries special personal significance. For 20 years she worked as an engineer and operations manager in Silicon Valley, specializing in process development and manufacturing. She met her husband at her first job and had four...
hariharan-ganapathy
Hariharan Ganapathy
Design Engineer’s New Career Path Inspired by Embedded...
Hariharan Ganapathy’s path to a new job all started with one course. He was working in audio signal processing at Dolby Technologies when he started taking courses recreationally at Extension. He already had undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering as well as a few years...
stephanie-ortiz
Stephanie Ortiz
EHS Professional Discovers Practical Resources at UCSC...
When Stephanie Ortiz accepted a position in environmental health and safety at her company, she was new to the field. Her manager approached her with a UCSC Extension catalog in hand and suggested that she enroll in the dual certificate in Environmental Health and Safety. Within a few courses,...
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James Craft
Aerospace Engineer Discovers Passion for Teaching...
James Craft is not your typical TESOL student. A 30-year veteran of the aerospace industry, Craft rekindled his interest in teaching in the summer of 2012 when, after a series of company layoffs, he received NOVA funding to pursue a certificate at UCSC Extension. After reviewing his options he...
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Vicki Vozza
ESL Teacher Puts TESOL Practices to Good Use in the...
Vicki Vozza has a picture of Senator Leland Yee standing with her and two of her students at San Mateo Union High School's Adult School. The politician, who represents San Francisco and San Mateo counties, came to her classroom because her students wrote to him, asking him to voice his...
sharon-pan
Sharon Pan
Preschool Teacher Starts After-School Program After...
Sharon Pan is good with kids. She worked as the head teacher at a Palo Alto Montessori preschool for eight years. In 2007, she heard that the school was thinking of expanding—and that they might need a site director. She enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Early Childhood Education:...

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