A Lifelong Dream Fulfilled: How an Aspiring Children’s Book Writer Made Her Dream Come True

Pirate's Lullaby cover

Once upon a time, Marcie Wessels enrolled in her first UC San Diego Extension course, Writing for Children I, to pursue her lifelong dream of writing a children’s picture book.

Marcie’s “happily ever after” arrived last month with the release of her debut book published by Doubleday Books, Pirate’s Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime, a whimsical tale of the battle between parents and children over going to bed at night.

Join Marcie on Saturday, September 12 at 10:00 a.m. as she leads a free workshop on the Children’s Book Writing and Illustration program. She’ll share her path to publication as well as tips she gleaned from industry-experienced instructors while completing her UC San Diego Extension writing and illustrating coursework.

UCSDnEXT: Children’s Book Writing & Illustration Information Session:
a Student’s Perspective

Saturday, September 12 • 10:00–11:00 a.m.
University City Center, Room 313, 6256 Greenwich Dr., San Diego 92122

This is a free event, but please register to attend.

In her own words, Marcie describes her quest to fulfill her dream of becoming a published children’s book author.

(originally posted in August 2014)

By Marcie Wessels


Photo: Roxyanne Young

In the fall of 2011, I enrolled in Writing for Children I at UC San Diego Extension in order to purse my lifelong dream of writing a children’s picture book. The course was a wonderful introduction to the world of children’s publishing.

Marcie Wessels: “I wanted to learn everything I could.”

In class, we studied each of the different genres (from board books to young adults) and I learned about the business of being a writer—from how to ready a manuscript for submission to how to find an agent.

The workshop portion of the class was probably my favorite part. In fact, my current critique group actually developed out of the class.

After completing the Writing for Children I course, I wanted to learn everything I could about picture books, so I decided to take Illustrating Books for Children in Spring 2012.

As a writer, I was nervous about taking an illustration class, but anyone who wants to write a picture book needs to think about the pictures. After all, the magic of a picture book occurs in the interplay of the words with the pictures.

In class, I was asked to create nearly wordless stories—quite a feat for a writer. But learning to express myself in pictures improved my storytelling abilities.

I continued my immersion in picture books with Writing Children’s Picture Books, which was offered in Summer 2012. For the first assignment, I was asked to create a 16-page board book.

My pirate-themed bedtime story was well-received in class and my instructors encouraged me to expand and revise the story to fit the 32-page picture book format. I’m so glad that I listened to them.

In Fall 2012, I submitted my pirate bedtime story to an editor whom I had met at a Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) conference. A few months later, I received feedback.

Although the editor liked the concept, she had questions about other aspects of the story. She encouraged me to revise my manuscript with her suggestions in mind, and then resubmit.

Over the next few months, I revised my story using the tools and techniques I learned in Extension courses. At the beginning of 2013, after substantial revision, I resubmitted my manuscript to the editor.

By March, I had an offer.

My debut picture book, A Pirate’s Lullaby: Mutiny at Bedtime, illustrated by Tim Bowers, was published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers on August 25, 2015.

Thank you, UC San Diego Extension, for helping me to achieve my lifelong dream of publishing a children’s picture book!

Discover What’s Next for Your Career


By Jennifer Davies

When it comes to your career, the persistent question is: “What’s next?”

What’s next for the job market? What’s the next skill I’ll need to stay competitive? What’s my next career move?

To help answer those questions and more, UC San Diego Extension is holding its UCSDnEXT event Sept. 10-12. Filled with workshops, panels, information sessions and networking events, the free three-day event will give attendees an insider’s view on a wide-range of industries from health care to computer science to marketing to accounting. UCSDnEXT will also cover what’s happening in some of the region’s most cutting-edge and emerging careers in such fields as big data, cybersecurity, and health care information technology.

The event is part of UC San Diego Extension’s larger mission to ensure everyone is able to take the next step in their careers and in their lives, and UCSDnEXT is designed to provide attendees the best and latest information about the skills they will need for some of the most in-demand careers.

UCSDnEXT highlights hot career trends including:

Children’s Book Writing & Illustration: Want to write a children’s book? Find out how a former student successfully wrote and published her first children’s book on Saturday Sept. 12 from 10 to 11 a.m.

Data Analytics: Three leading experts from the San Diego Supercomputer Center will explain the size and scope of the ever-growing “big data” field on Thursday Sept. 10 from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Health Care: Come hear from some of San Diego’s top health care executives as they detail how the Affordable Care Act continues to reshape the industry and its workforce on Thursday Sept. 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Internet of Things: With everything from clothes to cameras to cars now connected to the Internet, there is a growing need for people who can help secure these new networks and devices. Find out more about these jobs of the future on Thursday Sept. 10 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Project Management: Key industry experts will discuss how changes in the workplace and workforce are creating are remaking the project management field on Friday Sept. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Sustainability: Join a breakfast presentation by Beth Brummitt, president of Brummitt Energy Associates, as she explains how the push for Zero Net Energy buildings, which are designed to produce as much energy as they consume, is creating new opportunities in the construction industry on Friday Sept. 11 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL): Get first-hand knowledge of the TEFL teaching market from a current instructor, a program graduate, and an ESL/EFL teacher employer on Thursday, Sept. 10. from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The majority of the programs will take place at UC San Diego Extension’s University City Center location, which is located at 6256 Greenwich Drive, San Diego, 92122. The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Open House will take place on the La Jolla campus, located at 9600 Torrey Pines Road, 92037.

For more information about each session and to register online, visit extension.ucsd.edu/next

Susan Davis Champions NIH Research Funds, 21st Century Cures, and Women in Congress

Bipartisan agreement is hard to come by on Capitol Hill. Yet, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) shares on this month’s The Pulse how Republicans and Democrats are coming together to propel advances in biomedical research and to bolster funding of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, Davis reports that the $32 billion in NIH research she is championing, as well as the $8.75 billion 21st Century Cures Act which was recently approved, could serve as job creators in San Diego.

Each year, scientists in laboratories throughout the San Diego region receive about $800 million in NIH funding. But in recent years, Davis says, “there’s been a significant drop in the number of grants” and budget cuts have slowed both the economy and medical advancements. Davis spearheaded the drive for the large infusion of funds into the NIH’s 2016 budget and believes a conference solution can be struck, since an even higher funding level is being proposed in the Senate.

Davis also touts the 21st Century Cures Act which passed the House with bipartisan support in July. The Act directs money towards high-risk, high-reward research, “focusing on illnesses and diseases we know we are not far from curing,” according to Davis. “As a nation, we have to do better,” making the investment in biomedical research and becoming the best trained and equipped biomedical workforce in the world, she says.

A social worker who migrated into politics after volunteering with the League of Women Voters, Davis finds that women need what she calls “rehearsal time” before they can take the risk and run for office. “They need opportunities to develop skills and confidence as well as a network of people who push them forward.” Furthermore, Davis says, “We need more women to run for office and inspire younger women to join us. After all, you can’t be what you cannot see.”

The one skill her office looks for when hiring? “Writing skills,” she says. “To respond to 1,500 constituent letters and emails each week, writing skills are critically important.”

29894Listen here: Susan Davis Champions NIH Research Funds, 21st Century Cures, and Women in Congress (The Pulse audio)

To listen to previous episodes of the Pulse, visit our archives page on UCTV’s Career Channel.

A Picture and a Thousand Words

By Jennifer Coburn

Even before she started kindergarten, Reneé Weissenburger was fascinated by how art and literature influence one another. She even went so far as to create her own illustrations that she felt were missing from her storybooks.


This passion for blending visual art and literature continued into Weissenburger’s teens, when she started photographing herself as literary characters such as Desdemona and Ophelia.

“I always tried to think about the psyche of the characters, and how I could use the body and composition to give a critique and an in-depth look at them,” said Weissenburger, an instructor in arts and humanities at the UC San Diego Extension. “Like most people, I’ve always looked for meaning and connections and I think that perhaps art and literature offer two paths to the same place.”

Weissenburger has the opportunity to travel both those paths as she teaches two courses: Beyond Image: Using Photography with Other Media and D.H. Lawrence: The Trilogy. Despite the fact that one is a photography class and the other is a literature course, Weissenburger sees plenty of room for crossover. She has seen firsthand how the influence of one art form can transform the other, and can change the life of an artist.

While teaching a photography class at UC San Diego Extension, Weissenburger shared with her students key passages from Seymour Glass’s diary in J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. “I wanted to talk about poetic images and how art and literature can help us see beneath the surface,” she began. She deconstructed the passages she read to her students and indicated that the character was “revealing his invisible scars.”

The Franny and Zooey lesson had a profound effect on a young woman in Weissenburger’s class. Until that point, the student was photographing portraits of her friends and family, sunsets, and flowers. “Nice, but not uniquely belonging to one person,” said the instructor. The student’s work began to evolve, delving deeper into her personal life. “She was a military nurse who had just returned from deployment, and she began to show us bits of her experience though her work, and it was heartbreaking,” said Weissenburger.

She characterized this student’s ten-piece project as “fearless and brave.” The student double- and triple-exposed nude photographs of herself and layered them with pictures of her uniform, letters she wrote, and sketches. She also incorporated poetry. “She shed her skin for us, and let us look at her experience inside, in all of its layers,” said Weissenburger. “She also discovered that she is an amazing poet and is now applying for an MFA in poetry.”

Weissenburger loves to discuss her favorite photographers. One is Francesca Woodman, whose work she traveled to San Francisco to see. Weissenburger stayed so long at the gallery that she was still there at closing time. “They had to kick us out,” she said with a laugh. “What appeals to me most about her work is the meaningful references to myths and stories,” she said, recalling a series of photos that incorporated yellow wallpaper, a nod to Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s classic feminist short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper.” Equally compelling to Weissenburger is how Woodman “crawls into these uncomfortable spaces of identity and concealment.”

The same might be said of Weissenburger’s work, though she doesn’t tout herself or her own accomplishments. In fact, it is only because a friend submitted Weissenburger’s photography-based pieces to D Gallery in Lake Arrowhead, California, that her work is exhibited there. Her favorite of her collection is the Victorian Surgical Box, part of a series she did on Victorian asylums. A haunting look at the mistreatment of women diagnosed with mental illness, “the assemblage is made of photographs, hand-painted with green gouache, broken glass, scalpels, medical tweezers, and specimen frames,” Weissenburger explained. “The arrangement is set inside a display case to emphasize the study and dissection of these women.”

Weissenburger isn’t the only one in her family to discover a passion for photography and literature during childhood. Her nine-year-old son Elijah has taken a keen interest in photography. He recently graduated from photographing bugs and plants, and would like to start shooting darkened shapes of wild animals. His inspiration? A photograph of a wolf he came across while reading National Geographic. “I told him he could train by photographing tree silhouettes to avoid being eaten,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Julia Dunlap: One of San Diego County’s Top Attorneys

For attorney Julia Dunlap, her love of legal education happened almost by accident.


Dunlap, director of Legal Education for UC San Diego Extension, first began teaching law at the request of a colleague. While she was reluctant at first, the experience in the classroom quickly changed Dunlap’s mind.

“I learned more about the law by teaching than I ever learned in law school,” Dunlap says.

It is Dunlap’s love and knowledge of the law that contributed to the San Diego Daily Transcript naming her one of San Diego County’s Top Attorneys for 2015. Dunlap was the only one of the ten finalists honored in the Academic category who did not work at a law school. The Transcript made its selection from more than 1,200 applicants.

Dunlap credits the honor with her approach to teaching the law, which moves beyond theory and analysis into the practical, real-world applications of the law.

“In law school, the professors were always talking theories and ideas. While I understand the emphasis on teaching people how to think and analyze, there’s more to the law than theory,” Dunlap says. “I tell my students that I’ll never hide the ball from them. I’ll show them how the law actually works.”

Dunlap put that mindset to work and helped create Extension’s nationally recognized ABA-approved Paralegal certificate as well as certificates in Intellectual Property and Litigation Technology Management. For more than 20 years, she has played an active role in the education of law students, paralegals, and legal support staff.

Dunlap, who has an undergraduate English degree from Berkeley and her law degree from University of San Diego, says she takes great pride in the legal professionals her programs have helped produce. Recently, she received a letter from an attorney extolling the legal skills of a paralegal she hired who had graduated from UC San Diego Extension’s program.

“She was able to do more than a first-year associate,” Dunlap recalled the letter saying.

Dunlap also has enlisted many active and prominent attorneys of the San Diego legal community as instructors for the UC San Diego Extension certificate programs so students can learn from the very best the profession has to offer.

“When I started teaching, I thought it could be done differently,” Dunlap said. “It’s not my intention to get rid of the bottom 30 percent like in some law schools. My goal is for everyone to succeed.”

Jan Kleissl Researches Weather and Engineering to Drive Sustainable Business Practices

By Leah Singer

From a very early age, Jan Kleissl dreamed of a more sustainable planet.


Growing up in Germany where few buildings had central heating, it meant the winter months were especially challenging, Kleissl recalls. Yet those experiences instilled in him the desire to leave a smaller carbon footprint on the world. He eventually gave away his vehicle in order to live a greener life.

But Kleissl’s contributions to sustainability go far beyond forgoing California’s car culture. As an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego, he leads research efforts to assess how best to forecast the need and use of solar power – a critical component in efforts to increase the use of alternative energy and reduce greenhouse gasses. Kleissl’s work is especially important at a time when more federal and state governments are mandating sustainable business practices as part of building code requirements.

Kleissl, who began studying solar energy when there were still few researchers in the field, says he is pleased that there is now a widespread effort for companies to become more sustainable and incorporate “greener” business practices.

While this increased interest is good for the environment, it is not without its challenges.

As green building booms, there simply aren’t enough engineers and architects to design and construct buildings that produce their own power to reduce heat transfer and energy consumption.

This is a key reason Kleissl serves as an advisor to the Sustainable Business Practices Certificate program through UC San Diego Extension. The program provides an overview of environmental sustainability concepts and how to apply them in a business context. It also teaches strategies for monitoring sustainable practices.

“The certificate program helps the candidates who want to do this work make a stronger case for themselves and their credentials in the field,” said Kleissl.

Kleissl’s Pioneering Work in Solar Energy and Weather Forecasting

Kleissl, who also serves as the co-director of the California Solar Energy Collaborative, has been at the forefront of solar resource assessment and forecasting since he joined UC San Diego in 2006. One of his key projects is running the Kleissl Solar Resource Assessment and Forecasting Lab, a collaboration between Kleissl and the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL). The California Energy Commission and California Solar Initiative use Kleissl’s work to forecast solar power usage. It is a critical component to understanding how large amounts of solar power fit within the electric grid.

The work within the lab is centered on measuring how much solar radiation can be expected and forecasted. This is done through the installation and monitoring of panels on solar trees on the UC San Diego campus. The panels are essentially imaging systems that take a digital picture of the sky every thirty seconds. Those photos are fed into a computer that analyzes where the clouds appear in the sky, and then predicts where the clouds will travel. The process connects the cloud field with time, thus predicting weather patterns for up to seventy-two hours.

Kleissl also runs the Kleissl Urban Energy Efficiency Lab, which focuses on energy efficiency, independence and sustainability. According to Kleissl, buildings consume 40 percent of the total amount of primary energy being used in the United States, and 72 percent of its electricity. A large portion of that is used for heating, ventilation and air conditioning. Understanding this is crucial, as engineers must take into account heat transfer between buildings in order to create green buildings and reduce energy usage.

He enjoys the fact that his field of research has grown considerably over the years, and how so many more students share his passion for making a difference with respect to sustainable living. “When I joined the faculty eight years ago, there were only fifty students in this major; today there are 300 students,” said Kleissl. “It’s an exciting time for the future.”

Empathy by Design: Creating Hospital Billing that Understands

By Marg Stark

For Eric Krepfle, the software he designs is not merely about creating an efficient system – it’s about developing an empathetic one as well.


That’s because the work Krepfle does developing hospital billing systems touches people at their most vulnerable when the stresses of health and finances intersect. “There are two things a patient is concerned about. Am I going to be okay, and can I afford my care?” he explains.

Working for Nashville-based Emdeon, Krepfle says one of his company’s goals is “to assuage patients’ fears, namely, how they are going to cover their financial responsibility for their treatment.” He puts that goal into action by designing software and services that hospitals use for revenue and payment management to deliver a streamlined experience for the patient and the health care provider.

The North Park resident’s own experiences inform his approach to life and his work. Five years ago, Krepfle experienced uncertainty when, in a single year, he says, “I lost my Dad, I lost my dog, and I lost my job.”

The layoff from a data management company was a stinging and unexpected blow.

“Never in my life did I think this could happen to me,” Krepfle says. “So I decided I had to find an industry with more longevity, more stability.”

The career he chose was one in the booming field of health care information technology. Krepfle completed his certificate in Healthcare Information Technology (HIT) at UC San Diego Extension in 2013, and now Krepfle is a product manager, overseeing the design of patient access products for client hospitals.

“We enhance and complement our clients. Because of the scale of our products and services, we help coordinate relationships between all parties. In this way, we promote the health and viability of hospitals.” He and his team develop software products that capture patient information, determine insurance eligibility, estimate patient liability, collect funds, provide financial counseling, and promote a healthy relationship between the patient, the provider and the payer.

But for Krepfle, it’s not enough to “talk the talk” of using technology to enrich a patient’s relationship with a health care provider. For more than two years, he served as a volunteer at Scripps Mercy Hospital where he experienced firsthand the difficulties of obtaining information from patients and families in the throes of both urgent and routine health care visits.

Without this firsthand experience, Krepfle continues, “It’s impossible to appreciate the speed with which patient access has to work because you’re explaining financial liability to people who are in distress.” Serving in one of the city’s busiest hospitals, Krepfle saw how “natural the encounter must be – how clear, concise and description-free hospitals need the software to be – because the engagement time with the patient is so limited.”

Krepfle is passionate about helping hospitals move past the long-held discomfort of asking patients for money and embracing sensitive and transparent ways of discussing financial assistance and explaining payment options from the outset. Indeed, he talks animatedly about the health care environment of the future, in which patients choose and sustain relationships with providers who make financial transactions as healthy and smooth as medical outcomes.

Most hospitals have a standard practice of using a sticker on the door of some patient rooms, or in medical records, to alert clinicians that the occupants are at risk for falling, Krepfle shares. “We need to be able to identify patients who are at risk, too, of not being able to pay their bills. When that happens, a patient’s credit could possibly be hurt and, with it, the hospital’s relationship with a patient. You can’t build loyalty to your hospital by turning folks over to collections.” Krepfle knows there are better ways to ensure both patient care and hospital payment are fulfilled.

Krepfle started on his journey in 2011 when he joined Avadyne Health, a San Diego-based revenue cycle management company. Shortly thereafter, on the recommendation of a friend, he started the HIT certificate program at UC San Diego Extension.  Serving as project lead for the HIT capstone project, Krepfle directed a team of twenty-two students through a complex project to a four-hour presentation. He likens that experience to the work he did at Avadyne, bringing together disparate systems and teams during a company merger. “The challenge is encountering teams with different terminologies, with a wide variety of legacy systems, different procedures and processes, and sometimes fragmented visions, and bringing them into harmony, creating new paradigms for patient communication.”

Krepfle’s completion of the HIT program was key to his 2013 acceptance for volunteer work at Scripps Mercy, which prefers pre-med students. Listed on his LinkedIn profile, the HIT certification and the volunteer experience recently caught the eye of an executive recruiter for Emdeon, the nation’s largest health care revenue cycle management company. Krepfle was offered an incredible opportunity: a significant promotion and the flexibility to stay in San Diego but commute part-time to the company’s headquarters in Nashville.

Dealing with change is something Krepfle has become quite adept at, personally and professionally. What are the tools he calls upon most in his work?  Tenacity and patience. “Consistent and gentle pressure makes most anything want to change, including me,” Krepfle says.

Corporate Training Certificate Program Propels Career Forward

By Eilene Zimmerman


Diana Saldivar, Social Media Coordinator, San Diego Metro Region Career Centers

For years, Diana Saldivar worked in academic advising at colleges in San Diego, helping students to either navigate university studies or meet their matriculation needs. But in 2010, when the California State University (CSU) system implemented broad budget cuts, Saldivar lost her job. She spent the next two years working part-time, trying to keep her foot in college and career advising, until she was hired in 2012 to be an employment training advisor for the San Diego Metro Region Career Center (SDMRCC). SDMRCC is a workforce development center that offers job and skills training, as well as career transition help, to job seekers.

Within a few months Saldivar began the UC San Diego Extension’s Career Advising Specialized Certificate Program, offered on-site at SDMRCC through Extension’s Custom Training department. The program is designed to bring WIB/Workforce Partnership Career Advisors the latest information on current economic trends, coaching techniques, career-building strategies and interpersonal communications. “As new career agents, many of us came from different professional backgrounds, so each of us needed to have the same understanding of the scope of career advising,” said Saldivar. Some career advisors had come from academia and nonprofits; others had been case managers for veterans and other populations in need of career services. Advisors like Saldivar worked with individuals in all stages of work or life, including those transitioning into new fields, students looking for a first job, veterans re-entering the job market and employees facing retirement.

The Career Advising Certificate Program included three courses: one that taught foundational principles for career advisors, a skills development course and another that honed in on specialty populations within career advising. Saldivar said she was impressed by the rigor of the curriculum and the topics covered, especially in the first course, which gave an overview of the history of workforce development. “The goal was for us to learn how our career center worked within the bigger system and the entire field,” she said. The final course, which focused on areas of specialization, was designed like a seminar and featured a capstone project to apply the newly developed certificate skills to a specific local challenge.

Three months after she finished the Certificate, Saldivar was promoted to social media coordinator. She has been in that position for about a year, applying what she learned in the program. Specifically, Saldivar is equipped with the knowledge to identify communication barriers with groups like veterans, enabling her to reach out to them more effectively. “I’m better able to understand how to reach the populations we target and I can tailor our marketing campaigns and branding to those audiences.”

As the job hunt process has rapidly and dramatically changed with the growth of social networking tools such as LinkedIn, Saldivar also applies what she learned in the program in her social media workshops. “I teach clients how to use social media as a career tool,” she said. “I use much of what I learned in the program related to how professionals should represent themselves online and showcase their skills.”

UC San Diego Extension’s Corporate Training department offers customized professional training and employee development for organizations of all sizes. Each program is tailored to fit an organization’s needs, from curriculum options to delivery format. One of the many benefits of corporate training is the outcome of high-performing teams. Training employees together cements new skills, develops a common language, builds confidence and increases employee engagement.  For Saldivar, this was one of the best parts of the program. “I was fairly new to the profession when I started the program and it was great to be able to talk to other colleagues about their experiences and about their best practices,” she said. “I learned so much from the interaction in class with both other students and teachers.”

Hottest Careers for College Grads in 2015

hotcareers_webbanner-2015Turning a college education into a career is easier said than done.

To help newly minted graduates identify their best bets for rewarding employment, the University of California, San Diego Extension today released its “2015 Hot Careers Report.”  Using a unique algorithm, UC San Diego Extension’s Center for Research on the Regional Economy identified those careers that offer a combination of strong employment growth, competitive salaries and high-quality work environments.   According to its analysis, the top 10 hottest careers for college graduates in 2015, in rank order, are:

  1. Software Developers, Applications
  2. Software Developers, Systems Software
  3. Accountants and Auditors
  4. Market Research Analysts and Marketing Specialists
  5. Cost Estimators
  6. Computer Network Architects
  7. Management Analysts
  8. Personal Financial Advisors
  9. Elementary School Teachers, except for Special Education
  10. Financial Analysts

Mary Walshok, associate vice chancellor of public programs and dean of UC San Diego Extension, said the hot careers for 2015 reflect the evolution of the U.S. economy and its increased focus on globalization and technology.

“Global markets, the rise of big data and the continued reach and influence of the digital world, all helped propel jobs for software developers, computer network architects and marketing analysts to the top of the list,” Walshok said.

Shifting demographics are also fueling growth in such careers as personal financial advisors and elementary school teachers.

“Aging Baby Boomers and the decline in pensions are increasing the need for professionals who can help people properly prepare for retirement,” Walshok added. “On the other hand, more elementary school teachers are reaching retirement age and creating a real demand for new teachers to fill that void.”

The annual list is part of UCSD Extension’s larger research efforts to not only assist job seekers but also shape educational offerings to ensure companies have the talent they need to thrive. Researchers compiled the “Hot Career” list by analyzing four general categories: current employment in the field, projected growth between 2012 and 2022, the median salary, and workplace environment.

“We see UC San Diego Extension as a vital component of the workforce training and development system, and we want to provide authoritative and actionable data to help spur economic development efforts not only in this region but also across the country,” Walshok said.

For a free copy of the report, click here.

New Partnership with Sycuan and Viejas Designed to Create College-going Culture

University of California, San Diego Extension has entered into a unique partnership with both the Sycuan Education Department and the Viejas Tribal Education Center to provide college preparatory programs as part of a larger effort to boost college enrollment among young adults in underrepresented communities. The partnership is designed to enhance the programs that the tribal education centers already offer by providing middle and high school students the opportunity to explore the UC San Diego campus as well as attend UCSD Extension’s innovative college-prep summer courses in Arizona, New Mexico, Hawaii and Washington D.C.

BiosphereKidsinJungleCouncilman Gabriel T. TeSam of the Viejas Tribe said both tribes are working on a strategic plan to help Native American students enter college and graduate school, and this partnership will go a long way to further its goals of increasing college enrollment in his tribe.

“We are trying to create a college-going culture. This new partnership will help our students not only see the opportunities that college affords but also help them seize those opportunities,” said TeSam. “UC San Diego Extension worked closely with us to ensure the programs matched the needs of our students and our community.”

Nubia Ford, director of the Sycuan Education Department, said a college education will help prepare the students she works with for leadership opportunities now and in the future.

“We are developing the next generation of leaders, and a college degree is an important component of creating students not only of our culture but of the world,” Ford said. “This program will help us preserve our traditions while allowing us to better serve our community and the community around us.”

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean for community engagement and director of pre-collegiate and career preparations for UC San Diego Extension, said working with the Sycuan and Viejas tribes is part of UC San Diego’s larger goal to reach out to communities throughout the region to ensure the campus is a true reflection of what makes San Diego unique.

“UCSD Extension has a clear mission: We are here to connect the campus to the community,” Abeyta said. “All of the K-12 programs we offer are part of the broader effort to engage every community in the region to help strengthen our university and San Diego.”

As part of the program, high school students in both the Viejas and Sycuan tribes will attend summer courses within the UC San Diego Extension’s Global  Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Program, which includes week-long courses at Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Ariz. as well as in Los Alamos, N.M., Hilo and Kona, Hawaii, and Washington, D.C. Students will also participate in Academic Connections, a three-week residential program on the UC San Diego campus, which is designed to prepare students for college success.

On June 21, Viejas and Sycuan will send eight students to Arizona to take part in the Biosphere 2 program, which teaches about the effects of climate change through hands-on learning and experiments. Going forward, all the high school students will have the opportunity to attend one of the summer programs depending on their grade level. UC San Diego Extension will also offer prep classes for college entrance exams such as the SAT and ACT.

“We are partnering with UC San Diego to build a pathway to college,” said TeSam. “These summer courses will offer a wealth of experiences and opportunities, and it will also provide our students with a fantastic resume as they apply to college.”

“This partnership is a perfect fit. We have a real need and UC San Diego Extension had the programs to fill that need,” Ford said.

Currently, the Viejas Tribal Education Center serves 130 students from Kindergarten to 12th grade and the Sycuan Tribal Education Center serves 75 students in those same grades.


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