Take a Triton to Work Day

Students take a break from vacation to meet with alumni

While other students were spring breaking with friends and family, more than 120 undergraduate and graduate students participated in Take a Triton to Work, a new program from UC San Diego’s Career Center and Alumni offices.

Dr. Erin Parks ’12 met current student Lesley Guarena ’19 at the UC San Diego Eating Disorder for Treatment & Research.

The program gives students the opportunity to connect one-on-one with alumni from their hometown, exploring a broad array of fields ranging from education and technology to business and healthcare. Alumni employers varied from small, independent businesses or boutique agencies to big companies like Apple, Disney, Morgan Stanley and more.

 “Take a Triton to Work is really about giving students the skill set and confidence to proactively reach out to any of our over 200,000 alumni around the world,” says Kris Hergert, executive director of UC San Diego’s Career Center.

Physician Behzad Baniadam ’90 took UC San Diego student Rayan Zarei ’22 for a tour of Mission Urgent Care in San Diego.

For the pilot launch of the program, 270 alumni volunteered to host a student for quick meeting, phone call or even a full or half day of job shadowing in San Diego, Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with more cities expected in the future. Each meeting was a personal connection and tailored to the goal of fostering student success.  

“I enjoyed talking to my mentee about what my career trajectory has been like—and mine’s been all over the place—so it was fun to share that experience,” says mentor Jennifer Brown ’81, director of clinical research quality at the office of research for Stanford University’s School of Medicine. 

UC San Diego student Alejandro Dauguet ’20 (right) joined Director of Clinical Research Quality Jennifer Brown ’81 on the job at the Stanford Neuroscience Health Center.

 “I especially enjoyed talking to someone who grew up in the same area as I did, and as my kids did, who’s gone “away” to UC San Diego and now was “back home” in the Bay Area,” added Brown.

Third-year student Savannah Muñoz, an aspiring journalist and community college professor, selected Natalie Lakosil ’09, a San Diego-based literary agent. “I wanted to see what it’s like to be a UC San Diego graduate in the professional world,” says Muñoz. “Opportunities like this are invaluable. I got to see where someone who studied something creative ended up after graduation.”

Take a Triton to Work was a highly successful experience that furthered UCSD’s goal of inspiring the next generation of Tritons. It facilitated the development of professional relationships, not only connecting Tritons to each other, but to the world at large as well.

“Events like this are important for students to learn more about the world and industries that they are headed into,” says Hana Vaid ’21. “Alumni have invaluable experience and advice to give to current students.”

After a successful pilot program, Take a Triton to work will be back next year for alumni mentors and student participants. Email alumni@ucsd.edu to learn more.