Tatiana Torres, a resident of the Bernal Heights neighborhood, was an intern with the spring 2012 cycle of the UCSF EXCEL program. After completing her joint four-month internship with the Office of Diversity and Outreach and the University Community Partnerships office, Tatiana was extended in a temporary assignment through January 2013. By partnering with JVS, UCSF's EXCEL program provides San Francisco residents an opportunity to participate in an innovative clerical skills training and internship experience in order to prepare them for today's competitive job market. Since 2010, 53 San Francisco residents have graduated from the program and gone on to enter UCSF's Interim Staffing program or obtained career positions with UCSF and the UCSF Medical Center.
What were you doing before you got involved with the EXCEL program and how did you hear about it?
I'd been laid off after working in various roles for a non-profit for seven years. I'd been doing odd jobs but had no promising leads for a career opportunity and was beginning to feel defeated when a family member heard about the EXCEL program and forwarded me the application. It seemed like a great opportunity, although I was unsure of my chances to be selected for the program. Needless to say, I made it into the EXCEL program and the rest is history.
How would you describe your experience working with the Office of Diversity and Outreach and the University Community Partnerships office?
The work was hectic at times, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I feel extremely blessed and thankful for the opportunity to work with the staff of both programs and the assistance and advice they provided throughout my time here.
What are your career goals now that you've completed the EXCEL program?
I'm continuing to focus on career opportunities at UCSF, but I'm keeping my eyes open for any opportunity that will allow me to best utilize the skills and experience that I've gained over the past eight months. I'm excited about what the future holds and now I'll be able to take on any challenges that come my way.
What advice would you give to someone that is interested in entering the EXCEL program?
Be prepared to listen and utilize the constructive feedback you receive throughout the course of the program and beyond. The staff at UCSF and JVS are all there to help you reach your goals. Be open to all of the challenges that you encounter. You never know what you will learn from them or give as advice to someone else!
For more information about the EXCEL program, please contact Damon Lew, assistant director, UCSF Community Relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.