Student Stories

dernie-hashemzadeh
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...
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Sharon Pan, ECE Supervision and Administration Alumna
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:...
vidhya-natarajan
Vidhya Natarajan
IT Professional Discovers Passion for Early Childhood...
Vidhya Natarajan worked in IT before having her son. After he was born, she became fascinated with the way young children learn. One of her friends recommended that she take a class at UCSC Extension, where she enrolled in an Early Childhood Education child development course—a decision...
sejal-mehta
Sejal Mehta
Training Specialist Expands Her Instructional Design...
Sejal Mehta’s journey to instructional design reflects the evolution of this expanding field. Originally from India, Mehta moved to the United States in the 1990s to study business management, though it wasn’t long before she shifted gears into school counseling, eventually earning...
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April Raj
Regulatory Affairs Professional Expands Skillset at...
After completing her undergraduate degree in biology, April Raj worked in a lab before transitioning into a regulatory affairs role. Soon after starting her new position, she discovered UCSC Extension’s Regulatory Affairs program to expand her understanding of the industry and her place in...
shashank-kolhe
Shashank Kolhe
Business Analyst Discovers Passion for Personal...
A senior business analyst and experienced IT professional, Shashank Kolhe was interested in expanding his understanding of personal financial planning and its association with a family’s or individual’s well-being. He discovered UCSC Extension’s Personal Financial Planning...
john-irving
John Irving
Molecular Biologist Brings Key Bioinformatics Skills...
John Irving can’t get enough of UCSC Extension’s Bioinformatics courses. Irving, a bioinformatician with a Ph.D. in molecular biology, completed the Bioinformatics certificate in 2012, and keeps coming back for more. “I work at a nonprofit now, where we do a lot of...
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John Hubbard
Software Programmer Discovers the Power of Hardware at...
When John Hubbard completed his electrical engineering degree in 1987, the Silicon Valley tech explosion was just beginning. After graduating from college, he became an unrestricted line officer in the U.S. Navy, serving on submarines for eight years before transitioning into a career in system...
victoria-millward
Victoria Millward
Clinical Trials Professional Pursues Two Certificates...
Victoria Millward had been working as lab bench scientist and quality control supervisor for a few years when she decided to shift gears and pursue a certificate in Clinical Trials and Management at UCSC Extension in early 2010. “I knew that it was going to be a career path...
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Suresh Pillai, Information Technology Alumnus
Software Architect Explores the World of IT at UCSC...
Suresh Pillai was working in software and network architecture at Applied Materials for a few years when he first noticed UCSC Extension’s catalogs. An accomplished engineer with a bachelor’s in electrical engineering and a master’s in computer science already underneath his...

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