After a long day at the office, most people spend the evening relaxing – but for some Bruins, when the work ends, the homework begins. UCLA staff and faculty are enhancing their skills, adopting new ones and enriching hobbies through courses and certificate programs at UCLA Extension. And the best part is UCLA staff receive discounted tuition.

Nadya Zhuravleva in front of Royce Hall.
Nadya Zhuravleva, a marketing manager at UCLA Extension, has earned three professional certificates.
courtesy of Nadya Zhuravleva

Long before she became an employee, Nadya Zhuravleva took UCLA Extension courses. The company she worked for partnered with Extension to offer professional development to their staff and she took advantage of some marketing courses, eventually gaining a marketing certificate. Now, after nine years as a UCLA Extension marketing manager, she has amassed three certificates.

“I enjoy the process of learning,” she said. “You can take something you have an interest in, but never knew how or where to do it, and know you will be getting a quality education.”

Certificates can be a quicker, more affordable way for professional staff to learn new skills, gain professional development and help further their careers. Additionally, UCLA staff and faculty receive a 25 percent discount on course tuition.

Sylvia Condro worked in UCLA Information Technology Services for 10 years before deciding to take courses at UCLA Extension. She was looking to grow her skillset in employee engagement, organizational development and communications. Though not her exact career goals, she saw how the human resources certificate would help her develop those skills and decided to enroll.

“The experience that I gained within the courses, it wasn’t just busy work,” Condro said. “I gained requisite knowledge to make me competitive in my career.”

Sylvia Condro and Dean Eric Bullard pause for a photo at UCLA Extension graduation ceremony.
Sylvia Condro, a UCLA Information Technology Services staff member, was excited to participate in the certificate graduation ceremony. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, space was limited and her guests watched from a special viewing area on campus.
courtesy of Sylvia Condro

Six months after graduation she was promoted to communications analyst in her department.

“We discussed it in my interview for the new position,” said Condro. “They saw that I had gotten my certificate and that I was improving my professional development. Getting my certificate contributed to changing my career.”

Prior to the pandemic, Zhuravleva took classes in person once a week, where she enjoyed learning from interesting people and networking with classmates. Now, even with all her classes online, she still meets like-minded people and instructors.

“After classes, we exchange emails and say, ‘let’s keep in touch, let’s keep on learning,” she added.

UCLA Extension certificates and courses are designed with working professionals in mind. Most classes are offered online or in the evenings to accommodate work schedules.

Condro admits that it was challenging at times to balance her family, her job and her courses, but she managed to work through it. She completed most of her reading on the weekends, leaving time on weekdays to complete discussion prompts and feedback for classmates. Taking one or two classes per quarter and working with her family to carve out time for schoolwork, she was able to finish the certificate in around 18 months.

“And I am a UCLA alumna now!” Condro said. “It’s nice to be able to say that.”

Staff interested in enrolling in UCLA Extension courses should visit the Tuition Discounts page for more information.