It’s How Well You Navigate Life’s Twists and Turns That Set You Apart

In 2016, Jen Carriere came to UCR University Extension to add a Supplementary Authorization to her teaching credential. She had been a stay-at-home Mom for 10 years, and was ready to get back into the classroom. She completed her program and spent the next five years teaching in a great math department, working with exceptional students, and finding joy and fulfillment in her job.

Here’s what we talked about five years ago, just after she graduated.

Q: What brought you to UCR University Extension? Tell us about your path leading up to today.

A: After teaching first grade for many years, then being a stay-at-home mom for a decade, I decided to return to teaching at the high school level. UCR University Extension was one of the few programs I found online that offered a specific pathway to achieve my goal in both a timely fashion and at a reasonable price.

Q: What difference did your experience at UCR Extension make to your life path and career goals?

A: My goal was to be hired as a high school math teacher and, fortunately, that opportunity came up within weeks of receiving my supplementary authorization. The skills I acquired through the UCR University Extension program have greatly enhanced my professional life, and given me many opportunities I would not have otherwise had. I have wonderful, supportive colleagues and it is great to go to work each day! I am grateful to UCR Extension for giving me the tools necessary to take my career to the next level.

Q: In your life today, what makes you really happy?

A: It is great to see my own children making their way into adulthood (my oldest is a junior at UC Davis, my twins are seniors in high school). Professionally, I am teaching because I want to, not because I have to. I love interacting with high school students.

At UCR University Extension, we love checking in with our alums. COVID-19 has affected the lives and careers of many educators, so we reached out to Jen to catch up and see how everything was going in her life today. Fast-forward to 2021. Here’s what she told us!

Q: How are you doing, Jen, and what has changed in your life?

A: Since receiving my Supplementary Authorization in Mathematics from UCR University Extension five years ago, I have had the opportunity to work in one of the friendliest high school math departments I can imagine. My colleagues have been wonderful, supportive, and have made teaching a joy. The certificate I earned through UCR University Extension made the difference in securing that teaching position.

Then came COVID-19! The COVID-era caused me to self-reflect on my goals as a professional in the education industry. With the shift at my high school and a reshuffling of our counseling department, I ended up helping with their college-bound students. Helping students go through the college admission process had been another passion of mine, starting when my own children did so in 2013. For over a year, I assisted my high school counseling department with its college-bound students, which I absolutely loved doing. In 2020, I earned my Certificate in College Counseling.

Over this past summer, I made the difficult decision to leave my position as a math teacher and take a job as an Admission Officer with a small, liberal arts college. It has been an easy role to transition into, since I was so familiar with the college application process. I now work out of my home in Northern California, get to travel all over the west coast, and have the great fortune of meeting so many wonderful, talented high school students with great aspirations. My experience working in a high school set the stage for this new endeavor, and I could not be more appreciative of UCR University Extension for setting me up for success.

Q: In your life today, what makes you really happy?

A: In this era of COVID, the things in life that are truly important show very clearly. It has been wonderful to be able to meet with friends, colleagues, and distant family members again in the past few weeks. I find I appreciate the small things, such as the beauty of my flower garden or the mountains I see in the distance when I pull onto the highway. Prior to COVID, I was in such a rush, I often overlooked these.

It is wonderful to have students back on many of the campuses and starting to return to many of the activities they did in the past. What makes me the happiest is seeing my own children flourish in their lives; one as a young professional, and the other two in their last year of college. Professionally, I am honored to have people around me that are so supportive and believe in my abilities. It makes my role working with high school students so much more productive.

UCR University Extension set the ball rolling, and helped lead me to my current position in higher education. Continuing education opens up doors at the most unexpected times and in the most unexpected places!

UCR University Extension alumna Jennifer Carriere Jennifer Carriere
Assistant Director of Regional Admission (West Coast)
Franklin & Marshall College
Lancaster, PA