UCR Extension Staff Member, William Yang, is Rising to the Top.

When you lead with passion, the journey is often the reward.

Contributing Authors: Ashley McFadden, The Pioneer Connection, UW Platteville and Suzanne Hartzell, UCR Extension

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — William Yang keeps adding layers to his life because he’s not one to just sit and be satisfied with “what is.” UCR Extension students and visitors to the UCR Extension Center know Yang as the efficient enrollment advisor with the exceptional customer service skills and friendly smile in our Student Services Department. Yang is 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 human influences on the sciences.

William Yang, administrative assistant with student services at UCR Extension.

Yang 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. Yang 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. Yang saw how project management could  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.” Yang said.

After completing the certificate, Yang took advantage of a new partnership between University of Wisconsin and UCR Extension that allows certificate holders to make the 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 Yang 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,” Yang said. 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.

Yang 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 Yang has learned on his journey? “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.”

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