UC Merced Update

Campus Finds Talented Staff in its Alumni Pool


Ivan Noe

Ivan Noe


Since opening to freshman in 2005, UC Merced has produced more than 1,000 alumni. Some students have gone on to pursue advanced degrees. Others have entered the workforce near and far. But there’s a small population that has remained in Merced and has chosen to work at their alma mater.

“Some students are just too good to let go,” said Todd Van Zandt, Information Technology’s instructional and student services manager, about the students who started working for UC Merced while enrolled and then were hired as full-time employees after graduation.

“We hire them on as students and see their skills, initiative and work ethic firsthand,” Van Zandt said. “If they show an interest in staying, the university benefits from a seamless transition, and the employees provide us with the kind of perspective that only UC Merced alumni can have.”

Annie Hsu, William Ngo, John Lara and Ivan Noe are all examples of those “must-have” alumni, some of whom Van Zandt personally recruited to stay at the UC after they graduated.

Hsu, ’07, has worked for IT since she was a student and said she was flattered when Van Zandt mentioned there might be a place for her after graduation.

“This is an in-demand position,” the classroom technology specialist said. “Whenever we have openings, we’re flooded with applicants from all over the place. I am grateful each day for the opportunity to work here.”

Ngo, ’09, worked for IT as student and became the university’s first-ever Student Employee of the Year in 2008. He took a job with the Office of Financial Aid after graduation because his alma mater kept calling to him.

“It’s hard to just let go of those relationships after working closely together over the years,” Ngo said. “I learned so much from my colleagues as a student, and there is still so much more to learn.”

Lara,’10, actively pursued his position in the Office of International Affairs after studying abroad in Spain.

“The opportunity to help my fellow Bobcats broaden their worldview through study abroad has made my work extremely rewarding,” Lara said, adding that he intends to make international affairs his career.

Noe has also found his professional calling through his work at UC Merced. He joined the university as a full-time staffer after graduating in 2009 in order to build work experience before pursuing an advanced degree in student affairs. Working in the Students First Center, Noe feels he’s perfectly positioned to be there for incoming and continuing students.

“I know exactly what they are going through, and I can provide great information when it comes to maximizing their UC Merced experience,” he said.

Aside from feeling fulfilled in their current roles with UC Merced, all of these alums encourage other students to follow their lead.

“If you’re not already a student employee, apply,” Ngo said. “Rest assured, when you work hard and are passionate about the work you do, it won’t go unnoticed. The relationships you establish here can last you a lifetime.”