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UCOP celebrates its first post-pandemic Take Our Kids to Work Day in Oakland and Riverside


After a five-year gap, UCOP celebrated the highly anticipated Take Our Kids to Work Day (TOKTWD) with excitement and joy in Oakland and UCPath on Wednesday, April 24. TOKTWD is a national movement that allows students to explore career possibilities while learning more about their parents’ work and organization. At this longstanding and beloved staff event — the first since the COVID-19 pandemic — the organizing team welcomed colleagues’ children to celebrate a special day at UCOP. Brimming with excitement and energy, about 90 kids showed up in Oakland and close to 100 kids attended in Riverside.

Presentation session leaders from several departments volunteered to develop a structured and interactive experience for children. Students participated in grade-level cohorts, allowing them to be exposed to the work of UCOP’s distinguished departments. The kids had a wonderful learning opportunity during this special occasion, experiencing interesting, important work being done at UCOP and getting inspired for future career possibilities. They also got to make new friends, enjoy yummy food and snacks, explore the office building, and gather swags including UC T-shirts.

Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Rachael Nava welcomed the kids to UCOP with her opening remarks in Oakland, which was livestreamed at UCPath. COO Nava engaged the children with UC history and fun facts, highlighting UC’s importance at a national and global level, as well as emphasizing the vital work their guardians at UCOP do. After saying goodbyes, Oakland and Riverside participants enjoyed specialized events at each location.

View more event photos on Box! (UCOP log in required)

Oakland programming

Oakland festivities took place from 8:15 a.m. through 3:30 p.m. Session leads from 18 departments developed 27 interactive learning lessons appropriate for first-grade to high school students, with three hour-long lessons for each grade level.

Event highlights

  • Building Administrative Service Center (BASC) volunteers gave first-graders a tour of the UCOP Franklin building, including the “guts,” to explain how building systems work.
  • UC Health staff gave fourth graders an up-close experience with anatomy, thanks to an ever-popular life-size skeleton.
  • Fifth-graders joined the Marketing Communications team in the multimedia studio, where they used AI to visually picture themselves in dream careers — protecting endangered animals, searching for exoplanets and taking a swing at underwater archaeology.
  • With help from Institutional Research and Academic Planning (IRAP), sixth-graders got a lesson on map scale, then made personal atlases that showed their homes’ place in the world. They then joined Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) colleagues to make their own healthy overnight oats.
  • Second graders explored the UC Natural Reserve System (NRS) with coloring pages of native flora and fauna, as well as research activities at the reserve sites.
  • Eighth graders joined Research Grants Program Office (RGPO) staff in participating in a mock peer review session, analyzing climate action research proposals and choosing which to fund. They also partnered with UC Online to design an online course syllabus as a professor.
  • High school students learned about their free speech rights with UC Legal.

At 3 p.m., Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Nathan Bostrom gave closing remarks. He engaged with the kids, tested their UC knowledge with trick and fun questions, and helped them understand the history of the university and its significance at the world stage. He highlighted the critical role their parents play every day to ensure this enterprise runs effectively. Finally, he thanked the planning team for putting on this event.

UC Path Celebrations

TOKTWD at UCPath showcased the vibrant UCPath community to our youngest visitors, treating them to a day of discovery and inspiration.The day began with an atmosphere of excitement as families, including our dedicated staff, gathered for registration. They picked up specially prepared backpacks filled with UCPath merchandise and special “University of California” T-Shirts for TOKTWD. Breakfast was served on the second floor, and parents and children socialized while getting ready for the activities of the day.

After the livestreamed address from Rachel Nava, Executive Director of UCPath Calvin Turner shared a heartfelt welcome message. Their words set a welcoming tone and laid the groundwork for a day of exploration and learning — which began with a special surprise meet-and-greet with Mickey Mouse! Divided into groups, the children embarked on a unique journey through the UCPath Center, engaging in activities tailored to their ages.

Event highlights

  • The Production team organized a challenging treasure hunt to get everyone moving.
  • Kids wrote letters to their guardians to share their experiences and had an opportunity to explore their guardians’ workspaces.
  • Associate Director of Payroll Linda Papillion gave an engaging and informative presentation to older kids on how to understand their future paychecks.
  • Associate Director of Production for WFA/Benefits Maryann Eagan gave kids a special questionnaire to complete, which challenged them to reflect on future roles they might enjoy at UCPath. She shared a humorous, insightful video and recalled her children’s past participation in TOKTWD, highlighting their lasting memories.
  • The day’s events drew to a close with a lively communal lunch and the debut of the “Kids Say TOKTWD” video, which shared children’s witty takes on their parents’ jobs. This heartwarming day left our young guests with a deeper appreciation of UCPath’s work and left some with aspirations to join the team one day.

Thank you to our presenters and volunteers

Thank you to all the the presenters and volunteers — including theTOKTWD 2024 Planning Committee and UCPath Staff Connection Committee — for creating these meaningful and enlightening opportunities to highlight how our employees contribute to UCPath and the UC system.

TOKTWD 2024 Planning Committee members

Oakland UCPath
Barbara Heilmann Maria Martinez
Darin Jensen Jessica Mazariegos
Joyce Price Patrick Evans
Rebecca Stanek-Rykoff
Sujit Thapa

Oakland staff presenters

Name Unit/Department
Aixa Gannon ANR Master Gardener
Annie Prozan Learning and Development
Becky Stanek-Rykoff RGPO
Brandi Schmitt UC Health
Catherine Burns Learning and Development
Cecilia Finney Cyber Risk Coordinator Center
Citali Morales NRS
Darin Jensen IRAP
Dave Baltaxe UCOP Budget
Edwin Martinez IT Client Service
Ellen Osmundson UC Online/GUEA
Epiphanie Gillette UC Legal
Eva Goode UCOP Budget
Jackie Porter Cyber Risk Coordinator Center
Jan Mignone UC Press
Jess Wheelock ERC Communications
Julienne Palbusa IRAP
Latascha Magness Cotton Regents and PEO
Laura Levy UC Online/GUEA
Madison Reichhold Energy and Sustainability
Maria Shanle UC Legal
Martin Ticas Security
Michelle Black UC Press
Rachel DeLetto ERC Communications
Raphaelle Steinzig ERC Communications
Ryan Bell Energy and Sustainability
Ryan Williams NPI/ANR
Stepehen Pease IT Client Services
Stephen McNally ERC Communications
Summer Cortez NPI/ANR
Timothy Dowing BASC
Tricia Lyall Regents and PEO
Vanity Campbell RGPO

Oakland staff volunteers

Anvita Seth Kapoor Rafael Pacquing
Brandi Beaudoin Ramon Aldana
Dianna Henderson Regine Berdan
Doreen Charan Rosy Nguyen
Heather Harper Ruth Ann Satorre
Jennifer Sedell Ryan Bell
Kate Moser Samuel Ackah
Leketa Lambert Sonya Sanchez
Lifang Chiang Steven Ong
Makha Blu Wakpa Susana Navarro
Marquelle Vinson Sushant Prasad
Matt Reed Sylvia Jiang
Matthew St. Clair Tanita Benson
Nicole Jenkins Vanity Campbell
Patricio Simpson William Guinto
Polly Miller Yanna Chen

UCPath staff presenters

Annette Dwyer Marlana Harrell
Christina Saint Martin Maryann Eagan
Danny Haughton Miusette Garcia
Dominique Bridges Nhu Lac
Jennifer Canary Tamaralinda Guerrero
Linda Pappillion Sam Stubbs

UCPath staff volunteers

Alejandra Clemmer Isabel Mercado
Alexandra Carrillo Joana Piris
Amber Tillery Karen Barraza
Andrea Terrones Kay Cotter
Angie Shelton Kimberly Burdette
Ann Rangel Lauryn Thompson
Anna Pardue Layani Carey
Arianna Aguirre Leah Martinez
Ashley Ball Leilani Hamada
Asia Sandoval Liza Butalid
Berenice De Alba Lorraine Tomlinson
Betty Gutierrez Maribel Castro
Brandi Johnson Maricela Cardenas
Chantal Cortes Marisol Noi
Christina Ledbetter Martha Hernandez
Christine Ocampo Martha Noce
Denise DeCarvalho Melissa Vacio
Dominique Bridges Mia Michel
Eileen Arzate Pamela Jones
Elena Aguayo Richell De Guzman
Emily Ortega Shaina Harwood-Modrak
Erin Warnock-Smith Susie Mendoza
Esperanza Sanchez Taryn Martinez
Felicitas Preciado Tiffany Henderson
Frances Burgos Tiffany Ybarra
Gabriela Gomez Vanessa Jasso
Grizel Romero Veronica Hanson

 UCPath Staff Connection Committee

Maria Martinez (Chair)
Jessica Mazariegos (Co-Chair)
Jennifer Contreras-Mierez (Secretary)

Committee Members SCC Boosters
Aisha Murphy Dominique Bridges
Andrew Balisi Kandace Shaw
Brandon Smith-Hagans Leilani Hamada
Brianna Briseno Manny Kauss
Dennis Moreno Nettie Perez
Ethan Puente Patrick Evans
Jennifer Canary Shoab Ahmad
Katherine Garcia Summer Star Alvarez
Mailyd Nunez

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