Student Stories

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Previn Brito
Finance Expert Builds Core Biotech Skills at UCSC...
Originally from the United Kingdom, Previn Brito came to the U.S. to work in bioscience. His academic background made him a good fit for analyzing the economics of biotech, but he soon realized that he wanted a better understanding of the science behind it all. His search for professional...
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Judith Bastiaanssen
Physicist Discovers Her Passion for Biotechnology
Judith Bastiaanssen is a woman of many talents. Originally from the Netherlands, she studied physics and worked in research and development for a large electronics company just as the medical device market was taking off in Europe. While her technical skills and experience made her stand out in...
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Archita Sharma
Research Associate Lands Job at CRO After Completing...
After completing her master’s in biotechnology, Archita Sharma worked as a research associate in a lab environment for two years before moving to California. When she arrived in California, she wanted to add to her background and pursue a career in clinical research and regulatory affairs....
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Miranda Calkins
Experienced Teacher Discovers Skills For Building Her...
Miranda Calkins is an experienced educator with a background in classroom teaching, outdoor education and private tutoring. She runs an independent business as an educational consultant and tutor, and over time noticed an increased need to provide her clients with more specialized educational...
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Kelly Smentek
Experienced Manager Discovers the Art of Project...
Kelly Smentek had recently relocated to Silicon Valley from Southern California and was looking to build job skills when she learned about UCSC Extension’s Project and Program Management certificate program. “A lot of the jobs were looking for someone who had completed a...
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Jake Lee
Software Architect Brings New Project Management...
Jake Lee is a chief software architect responsible for developing new operating systems for smart computing labs abroad. Lee completed a master’s degree in electrical engineering abroad before coming to the United States. He discovered UCSC Extension while on a lunchtime walk with some of...
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Ana Pazos
Translator Develops Key Communication Skills in...
When Ana Pazos, an experienced translator, moved from Venezuela to California, she was surprised at how often people would ask her to translate from English to Mexican Spanish. During her years at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, and later as a legal assistant at Apple, Pazos understood the...
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Abdo Babukr
Signal Processing Specialist Applies New Embedded...
Abdo Babukr is, among other things, a signal processing specialist, a software-defined radio enthusiast, the co-founder of a robotics startup, and a maker. He developed his theoretical background in electrical engineering during his undergraduate studies at UCSC and a master’s at San Jose...
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Mahesh Pokharel
Nepalese Procurement Specialist Discovers Project...
Before he moved to California, Mahesh Pokharel worked as a procurement specialist at a United Nations development program called Local Governance and Community Development Program for almost five years in his native Nepal. He worked for more than 10 years for The World Bank and Asian Development...
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Elisa Ordona
Arts Administrator Discovers Passion for Personal...
During her years as an arts administrator for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Elisa Ordona learned a thing or two about finance and development. Though she believed in the arts, Ordona discovered that her passion for finance was on the personal level; instead of supporting nonprofit...
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Olga Nieves
HR Professional Masters the Humanitarian Approach to...
Olga Nieves wanted to find a way to refresh her business skills while preserving her humanitarian approach to staff development and training. She enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Human Resource Management certificate program in fall 2012 with the intention of completing the entire...
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Bhavna Dixit
Molecular Biologist Discovers Pathway to Silicon...
Bhavna Dixit worked as a biotechnology research scholar in India before moving to California in 2015. Armed with a master’s degree in biotechnology and work experience abroad, she started researching programs that could prepare her to work in the Bay Area. She enrolled in UCSC Extension...
niki theil
Niki Theil
Financial Planner Expands Her Professional Network...
Niki Theil had worked in corporate finance for eight years before quitting to raise her children. While her children were young, Theil focused her mathematical talents on fine-tuning their household spending, an exercise that proved useful, not only for her family, but ultimately in helping her...
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Shyla Jain
Marketing Student Lands Silicon Valley Job After...
When Shyla Jain started looking for professional certification programs in the Bay Area, she had a big goal in mind: to gain the skills and experience she’d need to land her first job in Silicon Valley. Before she moved from India to the United States, she had worked in business and...
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Patrice McElligott
Educator Discovers Skill For Her Practice in...
As an educator with 20 years of experience as a teacher, tutor and coach, Patrice McElligott advocates for her students’ needs, regardless of the environment. After obtaining her Clear Multiple Subject and Special Education credentials, she completed a master’s in special education,...

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