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Rising to the Top: The journey is often the reward.

William Yang keeps adding layers to his life because he’s not one to just sit and be satisfied with “what is.” Students and visitors to the UCR Extension Center know William as the efficient enrollment advisor with the exceptional customer service skills and friendly smile in the Student Services Department. But, William is MUCH more layered than that. He also holds multiple degrees, is a classically trained pianist and flutist, an accomplished researcher, and recently participated in his first successful TedX-UCR event that explored the human influences on the sciences.

William began his journey studying the sciences at UCR. He earned a B.S. in Biological and Biomedical Sciences, and a Master’s in Bioengineering, but hadn’t discovered his perfect job fit in the medical field. William was looking for a position that would allow him to combine his love of research with his innovative and creative side. So, he kept working at UCR Extension, and while doing so, found a new opportunity.

While enrolling a student in one of UCR Extension’s courses in Project Management, he took a closer look at the program, and as he learned more about what it takes to be a successful project manager, he decided to try a few of the classes. William saw how project management could definitely intersect with the medical field, so he pressed on and earned his certificate. “Project Management is crucial across all levels of management and department, and the tools and skills work for all industries. It’s the driving force to generate ideas and turn them into strategic processes,” William said.

After completing the certificate, William took advantage of a new partnership between University of Wisconsin and UCR Extension that allows certificate holders to transition to an advanced degree via the Master’s Pathways Programs. The Master’s in Project Management is an online program that applies units earned from the UCR Extension Certificate Program. It was the perfect next layer that William was looking for.

“The UW program is an online program, but it doesn’t feel like an online program. I’ve learned so much from the instructors and students, and I am honored to be part of it,” said William. He has done so well in the UW program that he was a scholarship recipient of the National Science Foundation’s STEM Scholar Master’s Program.

William inspires everyone around him with his dedication to excellence, and continued drive to find “the perfect fit” in life. What is the most important thing William has learned on his journey thus far? “Don’t try to do something that you’re not passionate about. If you follow your passion, and are willing to take chances on a different or maybe less traditional path to your goals, you will be happy and unlimited, and you will succeed.”

Contributing Writer: Ashley McFadden, The Pioneer Connection, UW Platteville

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