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UC Merced's Interdisciplinary Nature Pays Off for Alumna

October 17, 2008

UC Merced's Interdisciplinary Nature Pays Off for Alumna

UC Merced prides itself in allowing students opportunities to explore all fields of interest. It’s not uncommon here to find
majorsworking in scientific laboratories. That borderless culture leads many students to explore educational and professional areas in ways that would not be possible on other campuses.

Annie Hsu is living proof of that fact. Although she was an
economicsmajor, an interest in computers led her to a part-time position on the UC Merced classroom support team in 2005.

In May, she graduated with a degree in economics and a passion for computers. Looking around at her options and reflecting on how much she had enjoyed her part-time role in tech support, Hsu decided to pursue the opportunity to make it a full-time position.

Career Servicesreviewed my resume for free,” Hsu said. And then she laughed, “My interview for this job was at 3 p.m., and I spent all morning there practicing my interview skills.”

Her efforts paid off; she got the job. Now she holds the honor of being the graduate with the longest history of working for her alma mater.

“I’d been doing a similar job with less responsibility since I was a student, but now I’m working in the real world,” she said, adding that it took a little time to get used to the difference between fitting a job into her class schedule and fitting her life around her job.

But she wasn’t the only one who needed to adjust. “Some faculty I had classes with would see me after graduation and say, “I thought I saw you walk what are you doing here?”

Hsu has enjoyed shifting into a position that identifies her as a staff member on campus, but it’s the continuing guidance and opportunities to develop life management skills that she’s really excited about.

“In our department, especially in our group, we get a lot of independence, make decisions on our own, but our supervisor is always there to work with if we need him,” she said.

She is pleased that the guidance she appreciated as a student is still available to her.

“It’s no longer academic guidance, now it’s about life,” she said, adding that her supervisor, Todd Van Zandt, manager of instructional and student services, serves as both a mentor and a boss.

“He researches seminars and workshops I can go to also,” she said. “I can see the efforts of the university to offer helpful opportunities for faculty and staff.”

Hsu has already taken part in investment and retirement workshops offered to employees, and is always on the lookout for guidance through the post-graduate world.

“I am still in the process of figuring out my future, but I think I am fine with where I am right now.”