Navigating Your ComPASS to Success

Pilipino-Americans in Social Studies held its second annual conference entitled ‘Following Your ComPASS: Navigating Your Way to Success’ on March 8 in Social Science Tower 220 A and B. The event presented lectures and workshops that focused on how students can become more aware of their career choices now and plan accordingly for their future.
‘Our goals for our conference are to foster mental growth and instill in the students positive beliefs that will give them the strength and inner will to pursue careers after graduation,’ said Charleen Teodoro, a third-year economics and political science double major and vice president of external affairs for PASS. ‘We want to stress the importance of academic preparation now, in hopes that students will become more aware of their career choices.’
PASS focuses on the fields of business, law, social sciences and social ecology and provides a social support network to promote development in academics, careers and leadership for the UC Irvine and Filipino communities.
‘We are educating the future leaders of tomorrow and as each member of our community progresses academically and career-wise, we become stronger and move toward representing our culture on a larger level,’ Teodoro said.
In two simultaneous presentations, Stephanie Velasco, director of Asian Pacific-American students at Pitzer College, and Jerry Cheng, co-founder of Extreme Dimensions Inc., discussed what students can do now to choose and get in the career that best suits them.
‘College is a springboard for success in life,’ Velasco said. ‘The goal is to aim at the career field which best meshes with your background.’
Cheng focused on the importance of gaining work experience.
‘Experience will outweigh [education] over time,’ Cheng said.
Reaffirming Ethnic Awareness and Community Harmony, an outreach program of the Cross-Cultural Center, held a workshop that focuses on breaking the stereotypes in the workplace. The Career Center also held a workshop that provided information about the different services it offered that students can use to prepare for their future careers.
‘The workshops by R.E.A.C.H and the Career Center were very fun and interactive,’ Teodoro said. ‘Both involved activities where students had to mingle and move around the room.’
Afterward, Sukhee Kang, mayor pro tem of the City of Irvine, talked about his experiences in public office as a first-generation immigrant from South Korea and the importance of establishing and maintaining relationships to be successful in your chosen career.
He used the example of how the working relationship he created with the mayor to address issues with the Korean-American community ultimately led him to change his career from business to public service.
In between speakers and workshops were performances from the Break Dancing Club, Chinese Association Martial Arts, Southern Young Tigers Lion Dance and Hawaii Club.
The event’s keynote speaker was Sasha Strauss, director of brand development at Brand Sense Partners and UCI alumna.
Strauss used examples of well-known brands such as Mercedes Benz, Nike and Apple to show the value of establishing your own brand and identity that is distinct from others, which will help you promote yourself and shape relationships with future employers.
‘A brand is about being you with a purpose in mind and how you distinctly create value in life,’ Strauss said. ‘You have the power to create your brand.’
The evening was concluded by a high-powered performance from the Chinese Association Dance Crew that nevertheless did not detract from the lessons of the night.
‘Hearing stories from UCI alumni and of the great ventures they’re currently engaged in was inspiring,’ said Alethea Espino, a fourth-year sociology major. ‘I left the conference with intentions of creating a niche for myself in the professional world—for myself, for UCI, and for the Asian Pacific-Islander community.’