Here’s what will happen:
“It takes away that fear factor. With our current students and recent grads, the career world may seem so foreign and daunting, but to get a look at a particular industry or just working life in general from a fellow Triton, they see someone thriving and know that it is possible for them, too.”
So says Paula Thomas ’87, who has led four instances of the Take a Triton to Work program since its inception in spring 2019, with more planned for later this year and spring 2022. This collaboration between UC San Diego’s Alumni office and Career Center has become a thriving career exploration program, connecting over a thousand students with alumni for a quick chat over coffee, a few hours on the job, or, in the times of pandemic, a short video chat about their careers.
“It’s a way alumni can give back in a very meaningful way,” says Thomas. “It’s a relatively low time commitment, but makes a profound impact on students who are just starting out in their professional lives.”
Prior to the pandemic, Roosevelt alumna Sarah Stawiski ’98 hosted two students at the Center for Creative Leadership, a global nonprofit where she is the director of insights and impact. Haleh Yazdi, a PhD student in experimental psychology, and Lauren Weiner, a PhD student in public health, both appreciated the personal connection. “Sometimes you can read a job description and not know how your skills are transferable,” Yazdi said. “But to see and experience a company, even just for a few hours, and learn about the different roles from someone who knows is really helpful to visualize yourself in a position.”
The experience was also gratifying for Stawiski, who was happy to provide the kind of perspective that she would have benefitted from in her college days. “When I was a student, I didn’t know what all the options were career-wise. The more you can get exposed to the possibilities, it kind of opens your mind to what’s out there, where you could fit in and what you might explore further. I was especially happy to share what led me to where I am now.”
For future instances of Take a Triton to Work, in person meetings may well resume as workplaces start populating their offices. But virtual meetings continue to be a viable means of connecting Tritons and helping our students learn about the workforce.
Take part in the next Take a Triton to Work: tritonmag.com/TTTW
Take a Triton to Class
Students were gaining so much out of joining alumni on the job, we thought alumni might get a kick out of returning to class as well. Take a Triton to Class is now hosted several times a year, often leading up to Alumni Signature Event weekends. It’s an opportunity for alumni to sit in on a lecture with a favorite professor or perhaps experience a subject of new or renewed interest—all without the study prep, reading list or final examination jitters.
Alumni 101 is another new program for students in which alumni speak on panels about experiences in their career, perspectives on UC San Diego and life after graduation. To learn more about being a speaker at these virtual events, visit: tritonmag.com/alumni101