Networking Made Easy
Take a Triton to Work connects UC San Diego students and alumni.
With more than 240,000 alumni worldwide, the Triton community is vast, with varied experiences and skills. No matter where they live, alumni are eager to share their knowledge to support the next generation of Tritons. And twice a year, undergraduates are offered a special opportunity to easily tap into the alumni network through Take a Triton to Work hosted by UC San Diego Alumni and the Career Center.
Since its inception four years ago, Take a Triton to Work has been a program favorite for both current students and alumni. By utilizing Tritons Connect (an online platform that connects members of the university community including students, alumni, faculty and staff), undergraduate students and alumni sign up and are paired based on the compatibility of their profiles. Following Match Day, a mentoring relationship unfolds among the paired participants. Whether it's a chat over coffee, a day of job shadowing at an office or a meeting over Zoom, Take a Triton to Work facilitates this meetup.
Alumna Danielle Abraham ’16 volunteered to meet with students to bring more awareness to her career as a speech pathologist. Abraham met via Zoom with current student and cognitive science major Kate Seely ’24. Abraham gave her insight into the realm of speech pathology and helped Seely see that her interest in becoming a speech pathologist was worth pursuing. Abraham made it a point to highlight the demand for speech therapists and hopes that she can eventually help guide Seely into the field. When asked about the likelihood of maintaining sustained contact with her mentee, Abraham was confident that they would remain in touch.
For those with previous work experience, program participants still find the program invaluable. Before attending UC San Diego, political science major Ed Vea ’25 worked as a management analyst for the City of Imperial Beach. Vea decided to participate in Take a Triton to Work to speak with alumni who could offer perspective about his return to education, helping him to answer questions like, “Am I learning the right things?” and “Do I have the right mindset?” And after spirited conversations with his mentor, Vea knows he’s on the right track. As for the next steps, when Vea is ready, his mentor will be there to help direct him toward companies best suited to his interests, walk him through the application process and prepare for interviews. “I feel like I have a mentor for life,” he says.
Sometimes the occupation of a mentor and the interests of a mentee do not initially align, yet connection is still impactful. When current student and aspiring data analyst Katelyn Villamin ’25 was paired with alumnus Matt Newsome ’91, senior vice president for Cubic Transportation, a technology company that improves and enhances transit systems, she wondered how the transportation industry matched with her interests. Newsome was not deterred and showed her how data is integrated into the transportation field and where it occurs in the workspace. He gave her a tour of the San Diego office with the equipment used in data analysis, transportation gates and machines used in various parts of the world. Villamin was surprised by the fact that her interests were so prominent in this seemingly unrelated field. “It was fun and insightful, especially because [Newsome] catered the experience to something I am most interested in,” says Villamin.
And it was also a learning experience for Newsome, who served on the Alumni Board of Directors from 2008 to 2021, including two years as president, from 2012 to 2014. “I’m still always learning,” he says. “The more my mentees can teach me, the more I can offer my next student.”
Take a Triton to Work is an invaluable experience — for both students and alumni — that demonstrates that being a Triton is a lifetime commitment. “Take a Triton to Work has something for everyone,” says Paula Thomas ’87, program manager. “It emphasizes that we are part of a vibrant community and that it’s never too early, or too late, to start networking.”
Alumni are a prized resource, and when they connect with students, the strings that connect our tightly woven network are abundant and timeless. Your expanding network is one click away.
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