Name: Ignacia ChuJacoby
College & Majors/Minors: University of California, Merced: Literature and Cultures
Current Location: Menlo Park, CA
Current Form of Employment: Volunteer Coordinator at Year Up
Where do you work and what is your current position?
I am very fortunate to be working at a national nonprofit called Year up. This nonprofit allows me to do what I am most passionate about which is to help others and connect young people with resources that will allow them to better their lives. I am very fortunate to see these students grow as they are given the tools to pursue employment at major corporations such as Google, LinkedIn and Paypal. These students when they graduate earn on average of up to $20 an hour and hold positions that are usually given to those with a college degree.
My role there is Volunteer Coordinator, which is dual role. My primary focus is recruitment of volunteers, and helping coordinate events. Year Up gets volunteers from all over to act as mentors, tutors, guest judges and consultants. I am in charge of the building up the volunteer pipeline in the Silicon Valley as Year Up has two offices in the Bay Area. They are in San Francisco and in San Jose. I primarily work in the San Jose office and help out bridge the volunteer opportunities across the bay area. This involves me recruiting, coordinating and giving presentations on Year Up. Besides recruitment, I mentor four to five students per class cycle and guide them through the program from beginning to end. It is a rewarding experience that keeps me going every day.
Tell us about how you found your first job, and how you found your current job (if different).
My first real job was on my college campus. I was fortunate to have a friend send me the application and it fit with with what I was looking for in a job. I worked for a student's service program called Degree Attainment for Returning and Transfer Students (DARTS). I was one of the founding employees to set the foundation for the program. At DARTS, I had a similar job title as the one that I hold currently with Year Up. I was their PR Coordinator and Professional Development team member. Working at DARTS was a rewarding experience as it taught me how to work in a startup nonprofit work environment.
When I graduated from college, I was fortunate to move to the Bay Area where I started working in the Silicon Valley. I started off working with Americorps VISTA which partnered up with Google. I was a Technology Specialist. There, I was in charge of setting up Computer Science classes for kids 3-6th grade. After some time working with Americorps VISTA, I found myself wanting something more so I applied for other jobs on LinkedIn and found Year Up. Thanks to LinkedIn I was able to go through the interview process and land my current position there.
What was another writing-related job that was important in your career?
While I was attending UC Merced, I was interning with UC Merced’s Undergraduate Research Journal. I started with them as their PR Laison/Editor and was promoted to Senior Editor. It was an overall great experience as I got to work with many different students and learn about different types of research that were being conducted on my campus. I also met one of my favorite professors there that has been a great role model to me since I was there and still today.
What did you do in college to prepare for your postgrad life?
To prepare for postgrad life I got involved with my college campus by joining things that related to my major and field of interest. That allowed me to build skills for my resume and to network with alums that I am still connected with today. I also did spend time outside of school learning new web applications (ex. Google Apps) and basic computer hardware. I used that to launch my personal consulting firm for editing and professional development and to start my own entrepreneurship platform. I also mentored students who were fellow English majors. Doing all of that in college allowed me to work with diverse people and to take up skills that I can use in a personal and professional setting.
What is your advice for students and graduates with an English degree?
My major piece of advice for students and graduates is to have perseverance and to teach yourself skills outside of the English major discipline. We are in the digital age, so technology is the way the world is being ran and as English majors we have to be up to date. It takes time to learn and to continuously be up to date on technology and it is something that I have seen enhance my skills that I have developed when I was in undergrad. Being an English major, it taught me how to critically think and learn different writing methods used in corporate America and in the nonprofit sector. Combined with self-taught skills in publishing and web applications, it has gotten me to where I am at now. If I can do it anyone can! Be fierce and strive to learn!