Writing Instructor Judy Reeves: “I Love Putting Words Together to Make Sentences and Paragraphs”

Judy Reeves: "I write because I love the language."

Judy Reeves: “I write because I love the language.” Photo: Erik Jepsen, UC San Diego

Editor’s note: Judy Reeves, a published author and UC San Diego Extension instructor since 1999, values the dual crafts of writing and teaching as  her life’s essentials. Her daily routine is not only what she does, but who she is.

Through the years, Reeves has been an Extension instructor for a total of 62 writing courses – and counting, though she’s taking this quarter off. While the subjects she teaches vary, she holds true to one overriding tenet: “You can teach the basics of the craft,” she says. “But the passion has to come from deep inside.”

Here are some of her reflections:

On writing:

I don’t know if anyone can really give a reasonable explanation for why they write. I write because I love the language. I like the way words fall against one another to create images. And from that, feelings arise, along with memories and dreams and possibilities.

“I love putting words together to make sentences and paragraphs. Luckily, I found out early on (in 3rd grade) that I loved writing sentences and playing with language. I’ve been doing it ever since.”

On teaching:

“I’ve heard many stories of kids who used to play school when they were young, and they were always the teacher. As a little girl, I never played school and I never thought of being a teacher – because I always knew I’d be a writer.

“Somewhere in my late 30s and early 40s, I found myself standing in front of groups of people, telling them how to do things based on what I’d learned and experienced myself.

“The more I did these presentations, the more I loved it. And the more I loved it, the more I connected with people and their stories. It’s this connection that makes teaching so rewarding for me. I love the spontaneity of working live in the classroom or with groups. It’s always about what we create together.”

On writing as a discipline:

“As writers, like other artists and creative people, we are easily seduced by our work. The creative process really can cast a spell. We forget to eat, forget to sleep, forget to move our bodies; we become isolated and self-centered – because the work becomes everything.

“I think we forget we’re merely human – physical beings in a physical world, fragile and susceptible to all manner of ills, of the body as well as the spirit.

On the gift of creativity:

“Our creativity is a gift, whether it’s writing, visual art, dance, music, cooking a delicious meal, crafting a beautiful vase, building a cabinet, decorating a lovely room – and these creative gifts are meant to be shared.”

On the importance of writing every day:

“If we don’t write every day – or at least five days a wee k – we lose touch with our writing muscles. Our imagination goes brittle, our words hide out. As a result, we feel bad about ourselves, maybe a little guilty, embarrassed or ashamed.  So my advice is simple: Write every day, even if only for 10 or 15 minutes. Then give it half an hour. Who knows what can happen?”

Her First Healthcare Byline: “This Seems Like Something I Should Know More About”

Tracy Hume: "All the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

Tracy Hume: “All the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

When free-lance writer Tracy Hume first learned about health information technology, she hadn’t written anything about the field before.

But the term “HIT” kept coming up in labor-market studies she perused while writing such projects as higher-education grant proposals.

“I thought, I should look into that,” she said. “This seems like something I should know more about.”

After checking out several on-line programs, she decided to enroll in UC San Diego Extension’s Specialized Certificate program in Health Information Technology.

Upon completion of the eight-course program in 2013, Hume now considers herself reasonably knowledgeable in the field. As proof, she points to her recent first byline in Healthcare IT News, an on-line publication devoted to HIT. The article, themed on “meaningful use,” is her first in the healthcare information technology field.

In healthcare IT, meaningful use is defined as a set of criteria for the use of Electronic Health Records (EHR) to improve patient care by healthcare providers.

“HIT is all about hospitals and physicians finally replacing their paper files with electronic files, a huge undertaking,” said Hume, who earned a psychology degree from the University of Colorado Boulder and resides in Greeley, Colorado. “It seems like healthcare is the last big industry to adopt technology.”

A free-lance writer since 2006, Hume has special praise for Extension healthcare instructors Noam Arzt and Leslie Bruce.

“Both had deep knowledge of the subject matter and ran their classes in a way that maximized learning,” she said. “I was pleased because all the classes had a high degree of academic rigor.”

Career Talk: A Conversation with Alex Guazzelli, instructor, “Predictive Analytics with PMML”



A monthly series of conversations with interesting UC San Diego Extension instructors and leaders

What’s predictive analytics and what does it mean for our every-day lives?

In this 20-minute interview, you will learn the latest developments from Alex Guazzelli, an expert in brain neurology who’s responsible for developing the core predictive technology for Zementis, a San Diego-based technology firm.

A UC San Diego Extension instructor in PMML (Predictive Model Markup Language), Guazzelli manages all scientific aspects and advanced analytics for Zementis. View his video presentation.

Guazzelli has more than 15 years of experience in the fields of neural networks and machine learning. A native of Brazil, he holds a Ph.D. in computer science from USC and a master’s and bachelor’s from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Selected “Career Talk” quotes from Guazzelli:

  • “I’ve always been fascinated by how the brain works and how we process information. That’s why I love what I do. It’s the science of creating a mathematical representation for every-day life, to learn and predict behavior in much the same way the brain does.”
  • “Our job is really to allow companies and organizations to use their data in a very efficient way through predictive analytics. We facilitate that by offering a scoring engine – which is basically a prediction engine. Then we apply the knowledge that is embedded within that model.”
  • “Surprisingly, the biggest challenge of computers is to solve mundane tasks. Like making coffee in the morning – a robot doesn’t do that. We all know that iPhone’s Suri  recognizes a lot of words and phrases, but with my [Brazilian] accent, she has a hard time understanding me.”

This Career Talk Radio podcast is part of Career Channel. You can subscribe to Career Talk Radio via iTunes.


Upcoming: Jacole Kitchen, Instructor, “Acting II: Intermediate

Topic: “Overcoming Stage Fright: What’s So Scary about Acting Class?”

Jacole Kitchen

Jacole Kitchen

As casting director and artistic associate at the San Diego Repertory Theatre, Kitchen works with ever-changing casts of professionally trained actors who have devoted a lifetime to their craft.

With her theatre-arts students at UCSD Extension, as well as non-actors who desire to gain confidence as public speakers, she seeks to cultivate a different sort of devotion.

“No matter what kind of actor you are,” said Kitchen, “once you start digging, you’ll find the honesty of your character and the truth of the script.”

“Wired” Profiles New Program Co-Developed By Extension Instructor: “A Good Way to Learn Skills”

LearnToMod, a new computer programming tool co-developed by UC San Diego Extension instructor Sarah Esper, is profiled in print and video in the current edition of Wired magazine.

Based on Minecraft, a computer-code learning game popular with players aged 8 to 15, LearnToMod is the brainchild of Esper along with co-creators Lindsey Handley and Stephen Foster. All three are graduate students at UC San Diego.

Esper and Foster are Ph.D. students in computer science, while Handley is a biochemistry Ph.D. student.

Inside the world of Mindcraft

Inside the world of Minecraft

LearnToMod teaches students the basics of programming while creating tricks and tools that can be used while using Minecraft. With public launch set for October, the program will retail at $30.

Together, the trio founded ThoughtStem, a learning program for young people that’s now part of Extension’s K-12 curriculum offered by San Diego County middle and high schools.

“Kids are already spending ridiculous amounts of hours on Minecraft,” Foster tells Wired. “So we thought this would be a good way to help them learn skills.”

Wired describes Minecraft as “incredibly open-ended….it’s entirely up you whether you as a player whether spend your time building elaborate castles, or fighting monsters.”

Sums up Wired: “Of course, building Minecraft mods won’t turn them into Mark Zuckerberg overnight. The skills they develop will transfer to other types of programming, such as mobile app development, but that will require quite a bit of additional work.

“But it’s the first step towards realizing that programming is something that’s within their grasp.”


Through a Child’s Eyes: Celebrating Children’s Literature


  • “The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration”
  • Sept 7-Nov. 23
  • Cannon Art Gallery, Carlsbad City Library
  • Free admission

Two UC San Diego Extension instructors in Children’s Literature – Andrea Zimmerman (writing) and Susie Ghahremani (illustrating) will have their artwork featured in an upcoming exhibit at Cannon Art Gallery in the Carlsbad City Library.

Artwork of Susie Ghahremani

Artwork of Susie Ghahremani

The exhibit, titled “The Original Art: Celebrating the Fine Art of Children’s Book Illustration,” opens Sept. 7 and continues through Nov. 23. The library is located at 1775 Dove Lane, Carlsbad, CA 92011.

The artwork of widely-acclaimed children’s book illustrators, including several from Southern California, will be on display.

The show represents the best entries from the 2013 Juried Original Art Exhibition held by the Museum of American Illustration in New York City.

The traveling exhibit includes original paintings, drawings, prints and collages of 40 artists whose works are rarely made available for viewing outside the studio or publisher’s offices.

The show’s other featured artists who have Extension connections include Children’s  Book Writing & Illustration advisory board member Brian Selznick, who’s a Caldecott Award winner (“The Invention of Hugo Cabret”); plus Extension program representative Annika Nelson, who coordinates the Children’s Book Illustration program.

“This exhibit is a wonderful opportunity for our illustration students,” said Nelson. “The chance to see a range of work and styles from such accomplished illustrators up-close and in-person will be very inspirational.”

In addition, Extension instructor Joy Chu has organized a special tour of the show for her current and former children’s book illustration students. She was especially pleased about this “extraordinary field trip opportunity,” she said. “Viewing the show first-hand will really boost their development as future illustrators.”

Why Every Marketer Needs to Know Web Analytics

By John E. Lincoln, President of Ignite Visibility & UC San Diego Instructor

Metrics- charts I’ve been doing Internet marketing for 10 years. I’ve worked with some of the biggest brands online to expand their digital marketing reach. My colleagues, their employees and I have found that one of the most important skills needed is an intimate knowledge of web analytics. Briefly, web analytics is the “measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of web data for purposes of understanding and optimizing web usage. Web analytics is not just a tool for measuring web traffic, but can be used as a tool for business and market research, and to assess and improve the effectiveness of a web site.” – Wikipedia

Although I am known for work in SEO, social media, CRO and SEM, web analytics ties it all together. Without this skill set, it is impossible to be a quality marketing professional in any digital sector.

The following is a few core reasons why, if you are going to be the real deal in marketing, you need to have your web analytics skills dialed in.

Understand Seasonal Trends in a Business
Customer trends change dramatically for certain businesses based on seasonality. For example, if you are an ecards site you know that you are going to get spikes in traffic around each holiday. Another example would be an ecommerce website that sells clothing. You can expect to get higher traffic numbers around certain seasons (the holidays) and sales. With knowledge of web analytics, you will be able to see what types of marketing drove the most sales during those periods and if you beat last year’s numbers. One of the most powerful tools in a web analytics program, such as Google Analytics, is the power to look at year-over-year trends, account for seasonal traffic changes, and execute effective marketing plans that align with the numbers.

Accurately Gauge Success of KPIs
KPIs stands for Key Performance Indicators, and they are critical for marketing. In all types of marketing it is important to have ways to measure performance. In the case of KPIs, we select the measurement metrics that will allow us to determine if our program is successful. Now, one of the major issues with KPIs is that you need to be able to measure them. The best analytics programs give you access to a world of KPI possibilities that can be accurately measured and reported on. Not only is this powerful, if you create KPIs, measure them and then outperform, if can be very impressive to a boss, investors or a client.

iStock_000007422541MediumReport on Success of Marketing Channels
One of my favorite parts of analytics is the ability to look at your success by marketing channel. At its most basic level, Google Analytics allows you to break down reports by types of acquisition, which could include organic search traffic, paid traffic, email traffic, direct traffic, social media traffic and referring site traffic. In addition, you can set up goals and ecommerce tracking to see exactly how much you are making from each of these marketing channels. Once you align this with the dollars you are spending to market in each area, it allows you to create an excellent picture of what is profitable and what is not. It should be noted, that these are the most basic of digital marketing channels. Google Analytics, and many of web analytics programs, allows you to slice and dice data in many powerful ways.

Understand How Consumers Interact with your Website
The audience reports and behavior reports in Google Analytics allow you to see how people interact with your website. It can address questions such as:

  • How long do they stay on a page?
  • How do they navigate through the site?
  • What are your best performing pages?
  • What are your worst performing pages?
  • How long does it take a user to make a purchase?

These are very powerful pieces of data to know. With this information, you learn more about your customer. Furthermore, you can improve areas of your website that need help, and as a result, make more sales and create a better online experience for the consumer.

Utilize Analytics to Improve Website Usability
Google Analytics is not the only analytics program out there, but it is one of the best. When it comes to improving usability, there is a report called the behavior flow. It allows you to see how users move through your website. You can also set up something called funnels in Google Analytics. This allows you to see where a user abandons a goal in a checkout process. There is also an amazing report called the in-page analytics report. This report shows you the most clicked-on items on a website page, so you know what users find appealing and what can be removed! There are so many ways to use Google Analytics to improve functionality. That being said, there are other programs that can also help improve usability. Some of the other big ones are Crazy Egg and Optimizely. Using all off these tools together can help take your website to the next level.

Technology in the handsUnderstand Where your Customers Are and How They Use Technology
Customers are different all around the world. Some like to purchase on their phone, others a tablet or a desktop. Two very popular and powerful reports are the location and technology reports. Do you want to know where your best performing customers are from? Or do you want to know where your worst are from? The locations report can tell you this. On the technology report side, you can see which devices users are taking advantage of to make the most and least purchases on the website. In some cases, you can learn a great deal from the technology reports. For example, if you have no sales on mobile phones this can help you make a strong argument to upper management that it is time for a mobile website! As a side note, I recommend all websites move to responsive design or at least have a mobile version. It will be critical for online consumers as we move into 2015.

Knowledge of Web Analytics is Power
Bottom line, knowledge of web analytics is power! At Ignite Visibility Internet Marketing, one of the first things we do is make sure our employees have a Google Analytics (GAIQ) certification. This allows them to understand the breadth of the digital marketing world and better service our clients.

If you are interested in learning more about web analytics, I hope to see you in the UC San Diego Extension “Web Analytics: Techniques, Tools & Tricks” course. I take great pride in teaching an exciting and challenging course that is interactive and enjoys a variety of guest speakers. The next offering is in Fall 2014 and starts on October 6th.


John E. Lincoln, President of Ignite Visibility & UC San Diego Instructor

About John E. Lincoln
John E. Lincoln has been a guest speaking and teaching at UC San Diego Extension for four years. Currently teaching Web Analytics, Lincoln has also taught courses on SEO, social media and pay per click. Outside of UC San Diego Extension, Lincoln is President of Ignite Visibility, a full service digital agency. Lincoln is also a frequent writer for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and Search Engine Journal. During his career, Lincoln has worked with over 200 online businesses and has enjoyed working on national clients such as FOX, Coupons.com, Jacuzzi, Tacori, 1800Dentist and more.

Work Cited

Empowering Mentors and Protegees On-the-Go

Pilot Online Course Facilitates Immediate Access to Resources in Real Time

Morgan Appel, Director, Education Department

Technology’s aggressive march forward has served as a compelling catalyst for the ways in which we communicate with one another and continues to chip away at teaching and learning. Not so much with a chisel, but with the force of a battering ram. Without question, this proves a bit daunting for those of us who carried mobile telephones more akin to WWII field radios than to silicon wafers—the same generation who believed mastery of Missile Command prepared us to defend the future and who scoff at the idea that 140 characters can capture anything of great import.

Taking things one step further, in offering coursework and certification almost entirely online, there is a unique set of pressures put upon the Education Department to not only make the most use of existing learning management systems, but to embrace those that lie on the cutting edge of accessibility and end-user utility. I suppose that is where status as a semi-neo-Luddite comes in handy—our student populations are diverse insofar as their attitudes and skills where new technologies are concerned. Thus, as one of the lowest common denominators in the group, I am easily able to identify those elements of a platform that will delight early adopters and frighten laggards. Resistance may not be futile, but it is powerful if anxieties are not dealt with appropriately.



In the past months, the Education Department has been privileged to work collaboratively with an innovative learning management system in the form of EmpoweredU. Understanding the need within education for real-time exchange of information; influx of multimedia; want of immediate feedback and heightened levels of meaningful interactivity among faculty and peers, Empowered U has developed a unique learning platform for use with tablets and other mobile devices. The platform is intuitive and user friendly, providing an opportunity for teaching and learning to lead the way over complex technologies. Quite a boon for a person such as yours truly who is on a never-ending search for the ‘clicker’ and still believes in the mysterious and omnipotent power of rabbit ears. Very true on both sides of the virtual desk, and it appears as though below a rather elegant and straightforward façade there is quite a bit of power at one’s disposal. Technologies are transparent and content is paramount.

The Education Department will be piloting an advanced mentorship course using the EmpoweredU platform beginning on September 2, 2014. This proof of concept course, EDUC 31352: Mentorship Clinic for Professional Educators, draws hand-selected mentors from across Education Department programs at UC San Diego—those who have demonstrated an exuberance for working with novice teachers and have earned their stripes academically and in the field. We hypothesize that certain synergies will emerge from immediate access to the course and its multimedia potential. Rather than the instructor providing exemplars and offering students opportunities to respond, students will be required to document their experiences using video captures and audio commentary. In this manner, students learn from one another in the trenches and are able to share stories as they occur, versus waiting to post until a compatible device is available. Finally, we believe that the modular design of the course and the flexibility of the platform open up the experience to those in other disciplines and professions who might benefit from more sophisticated training in mentorship.

EDUC 31352 will undergo rigorous formative and summative evaluations in an attempt to make sense of its comparative benefits to traditional face-to-face learning and other learning management systems. We will share findings from these assessments as they emerge.

For more information about the EmpoweredU platform, please visit https://www.empoweredu.com/. For more information about EDUC 31352 or the pilot project more generally, please contact Morgan Appel, Director, Education Department at mappel@ucsd.edu.

Welcome to World of Apps: “It’s Easier Than Ever to Create and Sell Apps”

EVENT INFO: Xcode 6 & iOS 8 Live: What’s New for App Developers

As mobile app sales continue their rapid growth worldwide, developers everywhere want to get involved.

LEARNING PROCESS: Digital Arts Center (DAC) students

LEARNING PROCESS: Digital Arts Center (DAC) students

According to market researchers, the mobile app industry generated about $25 billion in 2013, up from $18 billion in 2012.

“Thanks to advances in programming languages and technology, it’s easier than ever to create and sell apps,” said Jake Wilke, program representative for UC San Diego Extension’s Digital Arts Center (DAC) program.

“There are plenty of opportunities to sell your app on established marketplaces like iTunes or the Android store, for old and new developers alike.”

Mobile applications are a type of software designed for hand-held electronic devices such as tablets and smartphones.

On Monday, August 25, Extension’s Digital Arts Center will sponsor a special event on developments in the industry, notably Apple’s upcoming iOS 8 operating system and the new Swift programming language.

Partners include the Information Technology and Software Engineering (ITSE) department and the San Diego iOS App Development Group (SDiOS), a non-profit coalition of web developers.

Free and open to the public, the event will be held from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at Extension’s UCC campus. More than 100 attendees are expected. Those interested in attending this event are urged to join the San Diego iOS Meetup Group and RSVP.

The workshop’s featured speaker, Norman McEntire, an ITSE department instructor and mobile app programming expert, will present “Xcode6 and iOS 8Live: What’s New for App Developers.”

He will also discuss Extension’s self-paced Professional Certificate in Mobile Device Programming, along with DAC’s accelerated one-year Professional Certificate in Mobile App Development.

Apple’s recently-introduced iOS 8 operating system “is the most significant, feature-packed software we’ve ever seen,” said McEntire. “Whether you are a total beginner, or an experienced iOS developer, you will leave this live demonstration filled with new skills and knowledge that you can immediately put to use.”

McEntire, who founded San Diego-based Servin Corporation in 1995 to provide computer training, consulting, and software development, is currently instructor for the following Extension courses:

According to McEntire, the reason iOS 8 has generated so much excitement among new developers is because of its many new features, including the Swift Programming Language, HealthKit, HomeKit, CloudKit, and more.

Search for Optimization: “Drive Traffic, Sales and Leads to Our Clients’ Websites”

Instructor Profile: John E Lincoln, "Web Analytics, Techniques, Tools & Tricks"

Instructor Profile:
John E Lincoln, “Web Analytics, Techniques, Tools & Tricks”

The way John E Lincoln views business, everything is about ROI – especially at his own company.

“Clients hire us to drive traffic, sales and leads to their websites,” said Lincoln, co-owner/president of Ignite Visibility, a San Diego-based digital marketing agency that has grown to 12 employees and 30 clients in just 18 months. “While that’s our main goal, we also pride ourselves on honesty, responsiveness and relationships.”

Lincoln attributes the company’s success to his strong team. “Our employees are all experts in their fields,” he said. “Also, my business partner, Krish Coughran, deserves a lot of credit.”

He started his professional career in 2006 at “bizSanDiego,” a start-up business magazine. As his roles evolved, he was promoted to senior editor and director of online communications.

Lincoln later moved to FreedomVoice as a marketing manager and SEO Inc., as director of SEO and social media.

Looking back, he’s grateful for the opportunity to become an expert about increasing ROI via online marketing, which he calls “the business mission that drives me every day.”

A prolific writer and blogger, as well as corporate trainer, Lincoln has also been a frequent guest on local TV shows such as KUSI’s “Good Morning San Diego.”

After growing up in San Diego, he earned an undergraduate degree in literature at UC Santa Cruz and later an MBA from Alliant International University in San Diego.

Lincoln has worked closely with several hundred online businesses, including numerous Fortune 500 companies. He’s been a UC San Diego Extension instructor since 2009, with his current eight-session course, “Web Analytics: Techniques, Tools, and Tricks,” set to be offered Oct. 6 through Nov. 24.

“It’s an introductory course where students get to see all different aspects on online marketing and how that works with web analytics,” said Lincoln. “Our approach is easy-to-understand and not overly technical.”

Crafting a New Career from Seven Seas to Suds: “It’s Really an Awesome Program”

Beer is in Greg Hoover’s bloodlines.

Long ago, his great grandfather emigrated from Germany to start what eventually became the largest brewery in Washington, DC.

Student Profile: Greg Hoover, Professional Certificate in Brewing

Student Profile:
Greg Hoover, Professional Certificate in Brewing

That was some 60 years ago.

Now, Hoover finds himself following those footsteps with his role as packaging supervisor at San Diego’s Mike Hess Brewing Company.

After serving 20 years in the U.S. Navy, he deserves a few sips, especially since he’s currently enrolled in UC San Diego Extension’s initial cohort of the Professional Certificate in Brewing.

“It’s been a perfect transition,” he said. “I joined the program right after I left the Navy. I was more than ready to start my next career.”

Not only does he enjoy his job, he raves about the Brewing program.

Graduation ceremonies are set for December.

“You meet so many people with so many interesting stories,” he said. “You’re learning from the people who are actually growing the industry, day by day. It’s really an awesome program.”

In the Navy, Hoover served as nuclear-trained machinist mate, first aboard a submarine and then an aircraft carrier. He retired as a chief petty officer.

“Being on a sub and then a carrier, it’s like two completely different worlds,” said Hoover. “But your shipmates are always like family. I have ‘family’ friends all over the world now.”

The Florida native set his sights on another rewarding career, this time in craft beer. His favorite beer is Hess’ Anno Quatro, which he describes as a “nice, big West Coast-style double IPA.”

“When I joined the company,” said Hoover, “I told Mr. Hess that I was going to help him build this brewery into the biggest and best on the West Coast. And I intend to see that through.”


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