50 Voices of the Future: Kirby Brady on analyzing regional economic trends

kirby_50voicesIn honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

Fantastic weather and world class beaches aren’t the only things that make San Diego attractive. The region is also a leading center for innovation and entrepreneurship and provides a range of economic opportunities for global business as well as a diverse makeup of residents who help offer a uniquely rich cultural experience. “It’s truly a world class city,” said Kirby Brady, director of research at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation (EDC). In this role, Brady analyzes regional economic trends to help shape her organization’s efforts to expand a wide variety of industry sectors while supporting the talent pool that drives their success.

1. Why is the work you do important?

As a native San Diegan, I take pride in educating people on the tremendous economic assets and opportunities unique to this region. It is my hope that in conducting quality research and getting it into the hands of leaders and decision makers, we can help to shape the future of the region in a sustainable way that enhances our global competitiveness and economic prosperity.

2. What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

I believe the most influential developments are population growth and our changing demographics. The San Diego region is projected to increase by about one million people by the year 2050. Most people are surprised to learn that the majority of this growth is natural or “homegrown,” meaning existing residents having children, and so on. Not only that, but we’re also in the midst of a major demographic shift due to the substantial aging population. This growth, coupled with the rapidly changing demographic dynamics, is ushering in a whole new set of challenges for regional decision makers. Where can we build new housing? How do we enhance our transportation system to meet the mobility needs of a growing and diverse population? How do we ensure we are able to retain the talent we are graduating each year from our educational institutions? How do we attract and retain firms to grow our economy?

3. What’s the next big thing?

Big Data. It’s already a big thing, but I believe every aspect of life as we know it will be influenced by Big Data in the future – from healthcare and medicine to transportation and decision-making in government and businesses. For example, the use of predictive analytics in the field of medicine will allow doctors to tailor medication and treatment plans to any person on the planet based on their unique DNA. In the transportation field, Big Data will allow for a better understanding of how people travel – whether it is by bus, train, bike or car – and allow us to better understand travel patterns and the demand for different routes to alleviate congestion on the roads. These types of technologies are widely prevalent and in use today, but it’s going to play an even larger role in the future.

4. How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

Every day we work with businesses to make sure they have the resources they need to thrive in the region. We’re actively promoting San Diego as a place to work, live and do business. At the end of the day, we’re focused on growing the regional economy and bringing good jobs here. So in a sense, our economy is like a garden; we’re planting the seeds and tending to it tirelessly to make sure it flourishes and remains healthy in the future. I believe the work we do, including telling San Diego’s story and conducting valuable research, is absolutely influential in shaping the region’s future, but our success and influence ultimately depend on working collaboratively with local government, community leaders and empowering citizens in the decision-making process.

5. Hop in to your time machine… what does the future look like for this field in 50 years? How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

The speed at which the world around us is changing is astonishing. At the very least, in 50 years we’re going to have a lot more people on this planet. These changes will undoubtedly bring challenges, but I also believe we have a tremendous opportunity to shape the future. The difference in whether or not we are successful as a society depends largely on how well we plan ahead. In San Diego, we’re still writing our story – and I would say the best way to prepare for the future is to embrace change. Get involved with the planning process in your community. Stay engaged, and let’s educate the next generation about the importance of public participation.

The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation’s mission is to maximize the region’s economic prosperity and global competitiveness. The often work with other non-profits like UC San Diego Extension to encourage and support the local workforce in pursuing their educational and professional goals.


City of San Diego teams up with UC San Diego Extension to improve customer service and increase productivity

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Thanks to a new connection between the University of California San Diego Extension and the City of San Diego, 911 wait times were reduced, street light maintenance was expedited and customer service for libraries and infrastructure projects were improved. These changes resulted from city staff members’ participation in process improvement training known as Lean Six Sigma at UC San Diego Extension.

Lean Six Sigma is a process improvement program that companies around the globe use to identify problems and deliver data-driven solutions. Almis Udrys, director of the city’s Performance and Analytics Department, said he saw the UC San Diego Extension’s Lean Six Sigma training as a way to help city staff begin to look at the problems facing the City of San Diego in new ways.

“I see this training as opening a door to a new culture at the city – a culture that embraces innovation, data-enabled decision making and a commitment to continuous improvement,” Udrys said. “It really is an extension of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s vision for a city government that is as innovative as the people it serves. Investing in this training is investing in the future by ensuring staff have the tools and insights to drive meaningful change. We’re looking forward to taking the lessons our team learned and deploying them citywide for the benefit of more San Diegans.”

The City of San Diego sent seven people through the 16-week program. The projects resulted in a variety of improvements, including:

Reduced emergency call times: By revising the information input screen and automating a portion of the call process, a working group from the Fire-Rescue Department was able to reduce the length of 90 percent of calls received by 16 seconds in the first few months – a 16 percent improvement compared to the same time period a year ago. The city calculated that the reduced call times had the potential to save an estimated additional 22 lives annually.

Improved library material delivery: To reduce the wait times for library patrons to receive requested books and other materials, one team analyzed how to improve the material sorting process. By identifying and cutting out a step in the sorting process that consumed a significant amount of time and motion, the team was able to come up with a simplified process to increase their productivity by 42 percent, which was valued at an estimated $121,953 of annual cost avoidance in terms of staff time.

Faster street light maintenance: A team from the Transportation and Storm Water Department created a new workflow system that reduced the lead time for street light maintenance by about three days and resulted in an estimated $15,000 in savings. In follow-on phases, further efficiencies will be gained via the elimination of paper work order forms.

Improved operations at the Public Works Customer Service Center: By eliminating paper forms, transitioning to newer technologies and eliminating unnecessary steps in the process, a team from the Transportation and Storm Water Department was able to shorten the time it takes to handle customer complaints. The changes also resulted in an estimated cost avoidance of around $113,000 per year and improved communication with customers.

“The results of this program really add up, which is why Mayor Faulconer and the City Council have been so supportive of our efforts,” Udrys said. “Every productivity gain, no matter how small, means a better experience for each resident, in line with the city’s mission to effectively serve and support our San Diego community.”

Hugo Villar, director of business, science and technology at UC San Diego Extension, said the partnership with the City of San Diego is part of Extension’s larger mission to ensure organizations and individuals have the skills they need to bolster the region’s economy and quality of life.

“In this rapidly changing world, we know employees need to constantly add new skills to advance their careers and to benefit the organizations where they work,” Villar said. “Our Lean Six Sigma courses enable people to identify problems and come up with innovative solutions. It was a pleasure to work with the City of San Diego to deliver this education and training to its employees.”

UC San Diego Extension and San Diego Supercomputer Center launch Modern Data Science Academy


Big data is now big business with companies of every size and sector. They are using it to improve performance and boost their bottom line. Because of that, there is a huge demand for those who can collect, crunch and curate the mountains of data available. In response, the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and UC San Diego Extension have teamed up to create the Modern Data Science Academy to provide cutting-edge, hands-on training in data mining and data analytics.

The partnership is designed to leverage the technical skills of SDSC’s staff and couple them with UC San Diego Extension’s expertise in developing practical training and education programs. The classes will be held at SDSC and will offer credit toward Extension’s Data Mining Advanced Analysis certificate.

“We like to say that the Modern Data Science Academy is where education meets application,” said Karen Flammer, director of education, outreach and training at SDSC. “The goal is for participants to be able to make an instant impact on their companies and organizations by leveraging data to make better business decisions.”

An experienced team of researchers and leading practitioners from SDSC will teach workshops on a variety of topics to help individuals and companies acquire the skills needed to make better data-driven decisions. The first two workshops are scheduled for this October and will cover the essentials of data mining and database systems.

The two-day intensive workshops are designed to provide information quickly and effectively so participants can put their newly acquired skills to use immediately.

Hugo Villar, director of science and technology at UC San Diego Extension, said the Modern Data Science Academy is part of his organization’s mission to ensure that people have the advanced skills they need to fuel our region’s economy. For instance, Accenture, a consulting firm, found that 90 percent of its clients planned to hire people with data science skills, but 41 percent of those companies said that lack of talent was a challenge in implementing big data initiatives.

“We work very closely with companies throughout the region and they keep telling us that they need more people who can collect, store and analyze data,” he said. “This initiative will train the talent our companies need to be competitive in the global marketplace.”

The first workshop is Data Mining Essentials 1 and is scheduled for Oct. 12-13 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The second workshop is NoSQL Databases and is scheduled for Oct. 25-26 from 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. For more information, visit extension.ucsd.edu/moderndata.

Safety net: Extension’s Safety Specialist Certificate gives a vet a new lease on life

View More: http://kevinmsutton.pass.us/john-craryJohn Crary found out about the importance of safety early in his military career.

As a new Navy recruit, Crary was part of the Seabee Battalion, which is tasked with construction projects all over the world. One of his first assignments was working on a five-story building in Spain. Unfortunately, Crary didn’t know how to secure the safety harness properly, and he decided to wing it. It almost cost him his life—he nearly fell off the building.

“Luck just had it that I didn’t go over,” Crary said.

He certainly learned his lesson, and as he went all over the world—from Japan to Thailand to Africa to Afghanistan—building structures both large and small, Crary took a special interest in safety, even receiving an award for his efforts.

But after 11 years of service, Crary left the Navy, though not of his choice.

“I didn’t want to get out, but I was downsized,” he said. “It’s unfortunate but that’s life, I guess.”

Crary, who grew up in Dexter, New York, a small town near the border of Canada, found that his years of experience in construction and safety didn’t necessarily impress potential employers in the civilian world.

“I can’t tell you how many rejection letters I got,” he said. “It was disheartening. It was sickening.”

Crary knew he wanted to be a safety specialist, but he also knew he needed another way to convince employers he was qualified to do the job. That’s when he decided to pursue UC San Diego Extension’s Safety Specialist certificate, which is part of its Occupational Safety and Health Department.

The three-month program offers in-class education with hands-on skills practice and is designed to provide the training and certification for graduates to work as field safety supervisors, safety specialists, and occupational and safety specialists. It also includes an unpaid internship to give participants real-world connections and real-life practice.

Crary said the program was key in helping him on his way to a successful career in safety.

“It gives the credentials that employers are looking for,” Crary said. “It gives you status. I hate to say a piece of paper can do something, but it can.”

In addition, the program’s internship led to a full-time job as a safety manager for Helix Electrical, a construction and engineering firm with seven offices throughout the country.

David Watts, vice president and director of safety at Helix, said Crary has both the experience and the work ethic to succeed, which he attributes to Crary’s military background.

“John and I share a common background with both of us serving in the Navy,” Watts said. “That definitely earned credibility points with me. It was a big plus.”

Watts also has insight into how hard it can be for veterans to make the transition from the military to civilian life.

View More: http://kevinmsutton.pass.us/john-crary“I know I struggled with it,” Watts recalled. “I worked as a laborer and spent another five years paying my dues. It’s a cultural shock, and you have to adapt.”

Crary, who now works as a safety officer for Cyber Professional Solutions Corp., said he loves his job because it allows him to help others and feel the camaraderie he had in the Navy.

“It grows from my desire to take care of people,” he said. “As a safety professional, you are that first line of defense. If they don’t know what to look for, they don’t know how to keep themselves safe. Vice versa, the people I work with teach me something new every day.”

Crary, who was one of the first graduates of the new Safety Specialist certificate, said he would recommend the program to other veterans because it provides the knowledge and credentials today’s employers want. He said it has been instrumental in helping him create a life after the military.

“There are two things that have gotten me where I am today,” he said. “UC San Diego Extension is one and my fiancée is the other. Without those two things, I don’t know where I’d be.”

For more information about our Safety Specialist certificate, visit osha.ucsd.edu.

Food safety program to provide much-needed training in wake of new food safety rules

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Each year one in six Americans become sick from consuming contaminated foods or beverages. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which also reports that annually 48 million people in the United States get sick from a foodborne illness. Of those, 128,000 people are hospitalized and 3,000 die. To prevent these outbreaks, new regulations have been put in place to reduce foodborne illness through preventative measures.

While the regulations went into effect in 2015, many in the food industry are unprepared to comply with the new rules, which require detailed food safety plans, said Michael and Charlie Kalish, twin brothers who have a consulting business that assists in developing food safety plans. To help address the need for training, the brothers will be leading a food safety workshop in partnership with UC San Diego Extension.

Cheese-makers by trade, the brothers gained valuable knowledge about food safety principles and new ways of approaching manufacturing and holding food while working on farms, manufacturing facilities and warehouses in Europe and the United States. Working as consultants to local creameries, they realized there was a need for more food safety training.

“When we started consulting, the opportunities that were popping up were food safety related,” said Michael. “Businesses really needed help developing food safety plans. What has made us successful is our ability to identify an opportunity. We gave it a shot and it has just exploded.”

In 2015, the Food and Drug Administration published the final rule for the Food Safety Modernization Act, requiring facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for consumption in the United States, be required to have a Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). The new rules are considered the most sweeping reform of food safety laws in more than 70 years.

“The paradigm shift is not only going toward inspecting on good manufacturing practices but also looking for a documented food safety plan,” Michael said. “Now we are seeing not just inspection, but an audit. That’s one of the biggest changes.”

The FDA estimates that the new regulations will affect more than 83,000 food facilities requiring them to institute a number of new safety requirements as well as keep detailed records of their compliance.

The brothers recognized the growing need for highly knowledgeable professionals who could develop food safety plans for businesses of all sizes.

“Food safety regulation can be extremely convoluted, which is why there is a real need for professionals who specialize in food safety – someone who takes the time to read the fine print and gives these businesses what they need to make informed decisions,” said Michael.

Michael and Charlie Kalish became two of the country’s first and youngest Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance (FSPCA) lead Instructors and are now educating businesses around the country on how to comply with new federal regulations. They are partnering with UC San Diego Extension to put on a two-and-half day workshop from September 28 to September 30, 2016. This training, which the Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance developed, is the only standardized curriculum that the FDA recognizes for the new Preventive Controls for Human Food rule. Attendees who successfully complete the course will meet the requirements to be considered a preventive controls qualified individual, also known as a PCQI.

The workshop will benefit employees from a wide diversity of food businesses of all sizes across the supply chain, including manufacturers, warehouses, distributors and retailers/restaurants. Since 2007, national job postings for food safety experts increased more than 300 percent.

Because of that, the Kalish twins said there are not just more job opportunities but also there’s good money to be made. As it stands now, demand is outstripping supply when it comes to food facilities being able to find well-trained quality assurance professionals who can implement the Food Safety Modernization Act’s new rules.

“I think the industry, as far as food safety experts are concerned, could really use a lot more competent people who are eager to learn,” said Charlie. “Training is critical and learning how to apply food safety principles is the first thing you need to do.”

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s food-safety workshop, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/foodsafety.

Enhancing patient care by breaking through language barriers

latinahealthcareUC San Diego Extension launches new certificate program to meet growing demands of Spanish-speaking population

Language has always been a part of Graciela Gomez Vittori’s life. As a young girl growing up in Argentina, aside from her native Spanish language, she also studied English and French at the insistence of her father. Vittori resisted in the beginning, but little did she know that being multilingual would help pave her future career.

“My father always thought that learning languages was important,” said Gomez Vittori, who has spent the last 20 years as an interpreter. “I was always complaining about why I needed to know English. I didn’t like it. My father said, ‘One day you will thank me.’”


Vittori has grown to love languages and knows that multilingualism has become a social phenomenon fueled by globalization and cultural openness. As a current administrative assistant for UC San Diego Maternal Fetal Care and Genetics, she also serves as a Spanish interpreter for the facility’s medical staff.

In an effort to teach Spanish language and culture to other medical professionals around San Diego County, Vittori is also the lead instructor for a new foreign language certificate program at UC San Diego Extension called Spanish for Healthcare Professionals. The targeted certificate program was designed to feed the growing demand for Spanish-speaking medical professionals in San Diego. The certificate includes three courses: Spanish for Healthcare Professionals I, Spanish for Healthcare Professionals II, and Spanish for Healthcare Professionals III.

The specialized certificate is designed for individuals with little or no formal training in Spanish. The goal of the program is to build student’s effectiveness in communicating with Spanish-speaking clients in various health care settings. Throughout the courses, students learn both general Spanish and Spanish medical terminology in order to understand their Spanish-speaking patients and increase their cultural competence, which will help them connect and build rapport with patients as well as give them more insight into patient-interpreter conversations.

It’s a much-needed skill – especially in San Diego.

According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, San Diego County is home to about 732,023 Spanish speakers, or 24.6 percent of the region’s population. Meanwhile, California is home to nearly 7 million people who are categorized as limited English proficient (LEP). Those numbers coupled with the fact that more people are accessing health care systems because of the Affordable Care Act and it is easy to see why there is a need for health care professionals to be able to communicate with Spanish speakers. On a global and national level, experts predict that by the year 2050, there will be 530 million Spanish speakers, with about 100 million of those living in the United States.

Vittori said the quality of care rises significantly when healthcare professionals can communicate directly with their Spanish-speaking patients. She said breaking the language barrier leads to fewer errors, less misdiagnoses, and better compliance with treatment plans. This, in turn, results in cost savings for the provider and less morbidity and mortality throughout the Spanish-speaking community.

“Cultural competence is very important to see how that patient is going to interact. In the UC San Diego Extension classes, I teach my students about the importance of body posture when they are talking to Spanish-speaking patients,” Vittori said.

In order to provide her students with a real-world approach to working with Spanish-speaking patients, Vittori has them perform a lot of role playing in class as well as watch interactive videos. The certificate program began as a pilot last year, which included a variety of health care professionals, such as dentists, medical students, cardiac nurses and respiratory nurses. It also included transportation nurses, who frequently traveled to and from other states with large Spanish-speaking populations, such as Arizona, to pick up and care for babies in incubators and young seriously ill children.

The Spanish for Healthcare Professionals is a critical program for a region like San Diego, Vittori said, because the need for health care professionals to communicate with Spanish-speaking patients is so great.

“It improves the employment and skills of the health care professional and gives them a cultural view of the Spanish-speaking world,” she said. “Knowing Spanish also improves the care for patients 100 percent.”

New rules for a successful job search

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Looking for a job is stressful enough without everyone giving you unsolicited – and often – contradictory advice.

The fact is times change and so has the modern-day job search.

“A lot of the old rules simply don’t apply,” said Trevor Blair, director of executive search and workforce development at Manpower in San Diego.

Still, he said, too many people cling to these outdated customs as if they were career-defining gospel.

“It’s just old school thinking,” Blair added.

Unclear what’s expected and what’s not? Here is an up-to-date tutorial on job seeking 101.

Résumé Relics

The idea that you need a one-page résumé is about as outdated as the manual typewriter. For most recruiters, more is almost always more, Blair said. A clear chronological resume allows companies to quickly and easily scan your work history, making it easier to identify gaps and better understand your career trajectory.

“Even if you’ve only worked for a few years, it’s nearly impossible to keep your job duties, accomplishments and skills to one page or even two,” he said. “The only people that still want one-page résumé are Baby Boomers who are still living in a paper-based world.”

One thing that need not apply to your résumé, however, is an objective statement. With today’s technology, recruiters know what job you are applying so there’s no reason to add it to your résumé.

Bury the Cover Letter

Same goes for the much maligned, and often dreaded, cover letter. Since most people electronically submit their applications via email a cover letter is often times duplicative and unnecessary.

“Your email is your cover letter,” Blair said. “Attaching a cover letter in addition to your email just doesn’t make sense.”

There is one caveat, however. If you are applying through an online portal, your email might get lost in the electronic shuffle or the system might specifically request a cover letter. If that is the case, it is better to be safe than sorry, which means you must craft that eye-catching cover letter after all.

Thank You Noted

Somethings never get old and that’s certainly the case with the handwritten thank-you note.

“If you want to set yourself apart, send a thank-you note. That’s because 99 percent of job seekers don’t do that anymore,” Blair said.

But remember the snail mail form of gratitude is in addition to, and not in lieu of, a prompt email directly after your interview.

“You need to do both,” Blair said. “But there’s nothing like a handwritten note to make a personal connection.”


50 Voices of the Future: Kurt Gering knows talent when he sees it


In honor of UC San Diego Extension’s first 50 years, 50 Voices of the Future asks thought leaders about the trends, breakthroughs and social advances they foresee over the next 50 years.

There was a time when the average American worker figured he would stay at the same company for his entire career. But over time, there’s been a dramatic shift in how people envision their career trajectories. Today, workers are much more flexible – and much more likely to hop from job to job and from one company to another. Kurt Gering, who teaches a course about strategic talent acquisition at UC San Diego Extension, sees a big shift in the role of a company’s human resources department. Gering – director of Talent, Culture and Capability at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority – sees a future in which HR takes a much more hands-on role in shaping a company’s culture. As the workforce becomes more flexible, so, too, must the people in charge of doing the hiring. The best HR departments of the future, Gering says, will be the ones that “see talent as an asset and something you really need to invest in and nurture and grow.”

(1) Why is the work you do important?

Over the last 50 years, we’ve evolved from a production economy to one built around intellectual capital. In the past, up to 80 percent of an organization’s value was most likely dependent on tangible assets. That paradigm is gone. Today that model is reversed for most organizations; 80 percent of the value is intellectual capital and only 20 percent is tangible assets. And so the focus has to be on the human component. That is the value creator and differentiator of truly successful organizations in the future. How will human resources create value in this new paradigm? It’s really on the strategic side. It’s about assuring the organization has the right people, in the right seats, at the right time, with the right skills, for the right price, and making sure that they are engaged and really giving their maximum capacity every day.

(2) What are the influential/exciting developments happening in your field now and why?

In the freelance and gig economies, work is no longer constrained by a physical organization. I can work when I want, and I control the terms of my employment by doing that. And I can sell my intellectual capital or my product virtually. And so you’re starting to see incredible flexibility in the work arrangements. You really are seeing that ability to freelance and have relationship networks that drive value creation instead of traditional organizations. And to me, that’s where we’ll see the biggest change. There’s also much more mobility of labor. People can work virtually. And so, people can work for companies in different parts of the world or different parts of the nation in a way that never would have been possible before. And so, your ability to identify and tap into really incredibly diverse talent is huge.

(3) What’s the next big thing?

The next big thing truly is an empowered workforce. Our definition of leadership is changing and new workers can come in with technology at their fingertips and the ability to access learning and information from anywhere. The notion that somehow the work is confined to a relationship within the organization is just eroding so rapidly. And so, how we think about leadership in that context and how we develop leaders who can manage in that context, I think, is really the biggest challenge that we face both in our organization and, I think, in most organizations, because it really does require a different type of leader, a different skill set and capability that, oftentimes, is at odds with the traditional leadership model that we’ve had for many years.

(4) How big an impact will your field play in shaping the future of the San Diego region and beyond?

I think it’s actually really an exciting time to get into human resources, because what’s happening is, you’re kind of seeing a shift from the transactional to the strategic. In the past, we would have been manually processing and doing all the transactional stuff – the benefits administration, the compensation, the employee relations – and a lot of that can all be done online, electronically now. And so, I think our contribution is going to be, really, helping organizations, both locally andSt globally, see talent as an asset and something you really need to invest in and nurture and grow. And part of the process is defining the strategic capabilities needed for your particular organization. And I think, ideally, HR can help organizations think that through, identify it, and recruit it. Once engaged and onboard, those types of folks will really help drive long-term value creation.

(5) Hop into your time machine…what does the future look like for this field in 50 years?  How can individuals/companies get prepared for what’s next?

Five decades from now, I would imagine that our profession is much more relationship-based and collaboration-based than it is transactionally based. I would imagine that we are integrated and seen as a core function that supports flexible talent deployment across an organization. I think the HR role is going to be to help people optimize their potential and growth. This will allow them to help the organization meet their needs from a talent perspective and really stay agile in responding to a rapidly evolving market place.


Kurt Gering, director of Talent, Culture and Capability at the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, teaches Strategic Talent Acquisition at UC San Diego Extension, which is a part of the following certificate programs Business Management, Human Resource Management and Talent Acquisition.

East-West Connections: UC San Diego Extension helps forge new alliances across the Pacific

DSC_2318Bridging academics with industry is one of UC San Diego Extension’s hallmarks and its recent BioBeach Summer program was no exception. Through the unique program, 40 students from Zhejiang University of Technology were able to study at a world-renowned research institution while getting a firsthand look at San Diego’s ever-growing biomedical and pharmaceutical industry.

To develop the program, UC San Diego Extension partnered with Sino-American Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SABPA) and Davidia Healthtech, a San Diego-based biomedical technology company. Both SABPA and Davidia worked with Extension because they knew Extension had the expertise to design a program that met Zhejiang University of Technology’s stringent scientific requirements as well as provide connections to a myriad of biomedical and pharmaceutical companies.

The visiting Zhejiang University of Technology students participated in a highly tailored program that offered classes in such disciplines as medicinal chemistry and drug development, taught by UC San Diego professors including Dr. Dionicio Siegel, associate professor, UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. In addition, UC San Diego Extension instructors and experts from the pharmaceutical industry lectured students on trending topics and scientific breakthroughs. To reinforce the classroom learning, the Zhejiang University students visited biotech and pharmaceutical companies including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Dart NeuroScience.

BioBeach Summer Program 071Hua Deng, Ph.D., president of Davidia Healthtech and a former UC San Diego Extension student, said the program was able to link knowledge with practice in a unique way.

“UC San Diego Extension is able to connect an academic background with industry experience because the instructors are leading scientists and researchers themselves,” she said.

Dr. Yahu A. Liu, president of SABPA and an investigator at Genomics institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, said BioBeach also provided a window into one the most successful biotech clusters in the world.

“The students got to know the biotech industry, which is very famous here in San Diego. It expands the student’s vision and understanding of the industry,” he said.

Emphasis was not only placed on academics, the group also took a number of cultural fieldtrips to some of San Diego’s most famous attractions. They also spent an afternoon doing community service at SABPA’s annual picnic where they had the occasion to practice their conversational English.

Despite all the cultural and academic opportunities, the students agreed that the real highlight was San Diego’s preeminent attraction – the beach.

BioBeach Summer Program 277Because the BioBeach program was such a success – both for students and for the program partners – there are plans to continue and expand the program to offer more Zhejiang University of Technology students the opportunity to study the growing biotech sector with a San Diego perspective.

Reflecting on her first abroad experience, Yiwen Wu, one of the Zhejiang students, said the BioBeach program changed both the way she viewed learning and her educational goals.

“This experience impressed me a lot,” she said. “It taught me that I can go on to get a master’s and a doctor’s degree. What impressed me most was people’s attitude about studying here.”

For more information about UC San Diego Extension’s drug development and medicinal chemistry programs, please visit extension.ucsd.edu/sciences.

UC San Diego Extension announces “The Next Fifty” scholarship recipients

50thLogoCMYKUniversity of California San Diego Extension has announced the 10 recipients for “The Next Fifty” scholarships, which is part of its yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The scholarship program is UC San Diego Extension’s way to give back to the community by helping people prepare for what’s next. Awardees can use the $5,000 scholarship toward Extension’s courses and certificates.

Extension selected the 10 recipients out of close to 500 applications and the recipients represent a wide variety of interests and backgrounds. The recipients and their areas of study are:

  1. David Beatty for Business Analysis Tools and Strategies
  2. Lala Forrest for Art and the Creative Process
  3. Rami Husseini for Datamining
  4. Norma Lopez for Teaching Adult Learners
  5. Patrick Mazza III for Occupational Health and Safety
  6. Alexandra Southard for Business Intelligence Analysis
  7. Kathleen Stadler for Fundraising and Development
  8. Abigail Wattierrez for Sustainable Business Practices
  9. Ryan Williams for Community Research and Program Evaluation
  10. Jordan Woolsey for Translation and Interpretation (Spanish/English)

The scholarships were open to those with at least a high school degree or equivalent and who saw UC San Diego Extension as a way to advance their career or pursue their passions. The applicants were required to write a 500-word essay on how Extension can help them prepare for the future, which will be shared on Extension’s blog in the coming weeks.

Ed Abeyta, assistant dean of community outreach and director of pre-college programs for UC San Diego Extension, said “The Next Fifty” scholarships deliver on Extension’s mission to offer the education and training needed to ensure the region is prepared for changes occurring in everything from the arts to technology to science.

“UC San Diego Extension wants to be a positive force for change. For more than 50 years, Extension has been evolving its programs and educational offerings to meet the needs of San Diego,” Abeyta said. “These scholarships will help individuals stay ahead of the curve and get ready for what’s next and underscore our commitment to lifelong learning.”

In addition to the scholarship program, Extension has been publishing a weekly blog feature called “Voices of the Future,” which showcases thought leaders including UC San Diego faculty, industry and civic leaders as well as Extension instructors on the technological and social advances envisioned in the next 50 years. These stories are designed to cover a wide variety of topics and highlight the life-changing advances happening on campus, in the San Diego region, and in the education sector itself.

UC San Diego Extension has also offered a variety of public lectures and programs to deliver on Extension’s anniversary celebration’s core mission and message, which is to prepare individuals and institutions for change. Upcoming events include a panel on the Election 2016 that Steve Clemons, Washington editor at large for The Atlantic, will moderate and that will feature, Thad Kousser, chair and professor of political science at UC San Diego; Scott Lewis, editor of the Voice of San Diego; and Laura Fink, professional political consultant.

To find out more about UC San Diego Extension’s anniversary scholarships, blog features and events, visit http://extension.ucsd.edu/.