Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Featured Alumni: Linda De Leon
My name is Linda De Leon and I completed the Bridge to Biotechnology program in 2010
My academic career at CCSF began with a Nursing (Registered) major back in the year......well, anyway it was a while ago. While taking classes at City toward this major, I worked as a Nursing Assistant at UCSF. I loved my job and all the [healthcare-related] science learning that I was receiving at the same time. Fast forward...ahem...years, 1 marriage and 1 child later and I find myself a Mom to a preschooler, totally yearning to get back to school and possibly the workforce. It was at this time I went back to City to continue toward the RN major and enrolled that very semester in CHEM 32. It was also at this time, in this particular class, that I realized my math and science skills had apparently had time to get a bit rusty. I realized about halfway in, when classes like these generally begin to "thin out" that I had to drop too, as difficult as that was for me. It was that very day, as I was leaving the campus, when I made up my mind to drop the class that I saw the Bridge Flyer....seriously.
The flyer had targeted my very situation -Students with a interest in the sciences who may need a little tune-up in the math and science-related classes. I attended the orientation at the Mission Campus and was very surprised to meet so many people from various backgrounds right off the bat who were there to have the exact same curiosity peaked. The orientation was very engaging and I knew I had found something that was right up my alley. Boy, was I right.....
From the moment I started the Bridge program, I was immersed in an all-encompassing program where the Language skills I learned were completely in sync with the Math skills which were completely in sync with the Science skills. Everything was taught with a practical, real-world approach with a heavy emphasis on the science that matters today - Energy, Environment, Health, Genetics and even Criminal Investigation! I felt incredibly privileged to learn not only from truly excellent professors and instructors, who came with a plethora of industry experience to share, but from my peers too! Like I said, we all came into this program with different backgrounds and different directions, so there was always something new to learn among each other.
My Internship at the USDA in Albany that followed was an awesome and amazing continuation of everything the Bridge had prepared me for. I went into that laboratory with the skills I learned in 14A & BTEC 10 under my belt only to be further refined by my internship experience. I had the privilege to work under the supervision of Dr. Grace Chen, who was an invaluable mentor and taught me so much.
The following semester, after successfully completing my Bridge courses, I went back to City, enrolled in CHEM 32 again and nailed it!! What a great feeling!
I was still itching to get back into the workforce so I began putting my resume out there at that time in hopes to find something part time. Another semester at City had passed when I received a call one day from SRI International in Menlo Park, CA for an interview. I was nervous at first about putting all my new found skills and confidence out there in the real world, but I am happy and proud to say that I got the job as a Laboratory Technician in their Clinical Analysis Laboratory!
I have been here at SRI for just a little under a year now and I am loving it!!! I am in an environment where I am constantly learning, which I love. I am inspired every single day by the people around me and the research that they do. I am proud to be part of a company that, in so many ways, is making a big difference in our world. After a few months of getting settled into the new job, I am now back at City toward my AS in Biotechnology - only 1 class away!
The Bridge to Biotech program, for me, has opened my mind and has opened doors that I may not have opened for myself before. It changed my educational and vocational journey and I am forever grateful!