Student Stories

priyanka-khanduri
Priyanka Khanduri
Scientist Rediscovers career path in Biotechnology at...
Before coming to the United States, Priyanka Khanduri was enrolled in a Ph.D. program in India, doing a research project on effect of climate change on biodiversity of high altitude Himalayan flora. This avid student of chemistry and life sciences had to take a break from her career and passion...
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Jayakumar Gunasekaran
Programmer Lands Software Engineering Job at San...
Jayakumar Gunasekaran had worked as a solutions quality analyst in India for five years when he realized it was time for a change. He’d been following trends in Web application development and wanted to gain work experience in the United States, so when his friend suggested he explore the...
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Susan Edwards
Environmental Engineer Lands EHS Job After Completing...
An environmental engineer with fifteen years of experience under her belt, Susan Edwards enrolled in UCSC Extension’s Environmental Health and Safety program in early 2014 in order to update her skills after a 14-year hiatus. Her areas of expertise included hazardous waste site...
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Mason Fan
Taiwanese Software Engineer Gains Practical Experience...
Chen-Wei (Mason) Fan was so excited about the future of computer software that when he moved to the United States from Taiwan, he couldn’t wait to update his programming skills. “It used to be that we’d try to squeeze all performance out of a computer,” he says. “...
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Beibhinn McDermott
Educational Therapist Expands Professional Network at...
Beibhinn McDermott’s career as an educator has taken her from Ireland to California, where she completed an M.A. in special education at San Francisco State University before enrolling in UCSC Extension’s Educational Therapy certificate program. A former classroom teacher and resource...
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Denise Andersen
Chemist Gains Practical Skills in Regulatory Affairs...
Back in 2012, Denise Andersen, a professional chemist, noticed a demand for skilled professionals in regulatory affairs. An experienced Ph.D. in chemistry, she turned to UCSC Extension’s Regulatory Affairs program to expand her understanding of biologics, pharmaceuticals and devices. She...
prajakta-badhe
Prajakta Badhe
Experienced QA Engineer Lands Job at Tech Career Fair
Prajakta Badhe started taking Software Engineering and Quality courses at UCSC Extension in fall 2013—and within a year, had landed a job at a Silicon Valley startup. How’d she do it? What brought you to UCSC Extension? I worked in India for 9 or 10 years in software quality and...
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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, Computer Programming Alumna
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, Marketing Management Alumna
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, Bioinformatics Alumna
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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