A look into the lives of recent UC Berkeley alumni

Graduation 2012
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For four years, undergraduates tire through classes and contour their resumes, participating in activities from archery to MCAT workshops to amass the knowledge and experience necessary to pursue their future endeavors. When it comes time to walk the stage at commencement, most seniors are enthusiastic yet rueful that their time at Cal is over. Students attending graduate school may find graduation bittersweet, while students taking a gap year deem graduation refreshing. To students transitioning into the professional workforce, graduation can be daunting. Regardless of their future plans, UC Berkeley graduates successfully forge new lives and proudly represent their alma mater wherever they go. This week, the Clog caught up with recent alumni to bring you an account of their postgrad plans.

1. Girish Motwani

1Grad- Girish Motwani

A molecular environmental biology major, Motwani is excited to attend Yale School of Public Health in the fall. He’ll be undertaking an interdisciplinary course of study that grants him the opportunity to take classes at Yale’s many professional schools, such as Yale Law School and Yale School of Management. Motwani’s specific concentrations of study will likely be environmental health sciences and global health, and he plans to fulfill the university’s requirement of a summer-long internship by traveling to India between his first and second year because he’s sure that the future of his career lies there. Motwani decided to attend Yale’s School of Public Health instead of Columbia’s or Johns Hopkins’s because of its smaller class sizes, extensive alumni network and easy access to interdisciplinary areas of study. Motwani says he’s had second thoughts about immediately transitioning to a rigorous master’s program, but he’s still in “student mode,” and he’s excited to get a new start, study in a new environment and develop educationally and professionally as a global health entrepreneur.

2. Chelsea Tu

2Grad

Chelsea Tu plans to work for Children’s Corps, which partners with New York City child welfare agencies to find permanent solutions for youth in foster care. Tu will be a foster care case planner in the Bronx. Four weeks of intensive training helped her become more confident in her role as a social worker, but she anticipates that the job will be challenging at times. Fortunately, her prior experiences working with youth and mental health in Berkeley and support from her colleagues and friends will help her transition smoothly into the new job. Tu will likely work with the nonprofit organization for two years and then decide if she wants to pursue a master’s degree.

3. Jacqueline Lee

3Grad

Recent graduate Jacqueline Lee began working full-time in June for a San Francisco tech startup called Humble Bundle, which allows consumers to buy bundles of digital games, books or movies and, uniquely, lets them choose whether to allocate profits to the game developers or various charities, including the American Red Cross foundation, Child’s Play charity, etc. Lee interned for Humble Bundle for five months last fall and began to work part-time for the startup in January. Her job includes contacting game developers for art assets, videos and other promotional items and coordinating teams to ensure that tasks are accomplished for each promotion. She initially found the internship from a post on a Facebook jobs and internships page. Lee took on her first college job in the spring semester of her freshman year, and she’s previously worked for ResComp, so she says she’s not uncomfortable with working long hours in a professional environment. She looks forward to seeing Humble Bundle grow from the small, experimental startup company it was in 2010.

4. Minhaj Khan

4Grad

In the fall, alumnus Minhaj Khan will be working for Twitter’s activation and messaging team as a software engineer. His job includes building the storage systems and framework that lets Twitter grow while working alongside Twitter’s project managers and interaction designers. Khan believes that moving to the crowded, bustling hub of San Francisco will be a big change, but he’s ready to start a new chapter of his life and venture into the real world. He says that UC Berkeley has helped him prepare for this postgraduate transition by allowing him to grow educationally and contrive social relationships through student groups such as the Alpha Epsilon Zeta professional fraternity. According to Khan, it’s refreshing to transition to the real world because “everything is an open field and there are plenty of avenues one can take,” unlike college, which has “set guidelines and a degree plan that one must subscribe to.”

5. Katie Martinez

5Grad

With a bachelor’s degree in political science, Katie Martinez started working for a pre-IPO software startup called Medallia in July, immediately after her graduation. As a recruiting coordinator, she schedules interviews, sources candidates, screens resumes and helps ensure that candidates have the best possible interview experience at Medallia. She found the job through a UC Berkeley career fair in spring — she researched the company prior to attending and was pleasantly surprised to connect right away with the recruiting team when she arrived at its onsite booth. The only downside to the job, she says, is having to commute to Palo Alto from her San Francisco apartment by CalTrain. In regard to the transition from student to professional life, Martinez says, “At this point in my life, I am vacillating between feeling very young and very old, and I am just trying to embrace the feelings of uncertainty that come with this.”

6.  Reshmee Patel

6Grad

Reshmee Patel plans to take a postgraduation “gap year” and move to Los Angeles before she begins pharmacy school. She’ll be using the extra year to complete pharmacy school applications and look into graduate programs while enjoying the excitement of settling down into a new city. To ease the transition of moving, she intends to meet up with friends she made at UC Berkeley who are local to her area. Patel hopes the gap year will give her sufficient time to take a break from school before she heads back to school for another four years.

7. Melody Alemansour

7Grad

A political science major and Persian minor, Melody Alemansour is currently pursuing a summer fellowship with the Women’s Campaign Fund, a nonpartisan organization that provides women with resources for winning political offices, in Washington, D.C. Though Alemansour is still in the process of applying to jobs pertaining to her field of study (media, politics and research), she hopes to work in a few different environments and travel before she finally applies to law school. By working before she goes back to school, Alemansour says she obtains a necessary reminder that she’s not better than any job or position. “Cal students are told that they’re capable of anything. I will always be grateful for the undying sense of encouragement from the school and faculty, but I want to make sure that I never develop an ego in which I think that certain jobs or positions are below me. As unconventional as it sounds, I’d like to feel at the bottom of the ladder or food chain in order to be grounded before returning to school,” Alemansour said.

Image Sources: Shefali Netke, Chelsea Tu, Jacqueline Lee,  Minhaj Khan, Katie Martinez, Reshmee Patel, Melody Alemansour

Contact Vasudha Doijode at [email protected].