HR Employment

HR Employment


Jason, Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

By UCR Jobs


When deciding whether or not to take a job at UCR, there were many questions to consider. I lived in Georgia and had never even been to California before. I knew absolutely no one and had no place to live. Was the salary of an assistant coach going to be enough for me to survive? Then I thought to myself the same question I always do when faced with a challenge or difficult decision, “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” I haven’t looked back since and it was the best decision I could have ever made. With a lot of hard work and even more luck, I was promoted to Head Strength and Conditioning Coach within 2 years of being here.

As a strength and conditioning coach, my job is to improve the fitness of our athletes here at UCR.  What is fitness? Fitness by my definition is more than just being able to run a 5 k a little faster than you did last Thanksgiving. Fitness to me and my athletes is a chain made up of 10 links: Strength, Power, Speed, Agility, Flexibility, Coordination, Balance, Accuracy, Cardio-Respiratory Endurance, and Stamina. We are only as fit as the weakest link in our chain. Improvements in all of these areas are done primarily by practicing their sport, weight training, body weight exercises, sport specific conditioning (running), and proper nutrition.

I always try to encourage healthy choices concerning diet, and exercise. I also think it is extremely important to lead by example. I maintain my own fitness and encourage all of our athletics staff to join in daily workouts with me. There is a group that works out with me at lunch time that we call “Fit Club”. Having this group to workout with is great. They rely on me to create the workouts, and I rely on them for a workout partner. Keeping each other accountable is crucial if you are to be consistent with your workouts. The group creates a competitive environment that would be impossible to duplicate on your own and the results speak for themselves.

I look forward to coming to work at UCR every day. I enjoy working with the UCR Highlanders and the camaraderie with “Fit Club” is priceless. I will never regret my decision to move 2500 miles away from what I once considered home. Riverside is my new home and I am happy to be here.

Jason Salyer
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach

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Michelle and Jescelyn, UCR Campus Recreation

By UCR Jobs


Michelle and I met in Texas while attending Texas State University. Michelle was a student in the graduate program while I was pursuing her undergraduate degree. We both worked at the Texas State Campus Recreation Center, Michelle as a graduate assistant and I was a group exercise instructor.

Upon graduation in 2009, Michelle moved to Riverside to work as the Assistant Director of Fitness and Wellness for UCR Campus Recreation. I graduated in December of 2010 and worked in corporate fitness until a position opened at UCR. I quickly left Texas to work with Michelle, as the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator for UCR Campus Recreation.

Both Michelle and I are extremely passionate about guiding the UCR campus community to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. We work as a team to teach UCR students and faculty to become strong group exercise instructors, train UCR students to be successful personal trainers, develop and implement fitness and wellness programs to the UCR students and community, teach group exercise classes at the student recreation center and collaborate with other departments on campus to promote overall health and wellness. We believe that fitness should be fun and exciting and there is no better time than now to be healthy!

Michelle Sansone
Assistant Director, Fitness and Wellness

Jescelyn Villarreal
Fitness and Wellness Coordinator

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Jenn, Director of The Well

By UCR Jobs


I have been an employee at UC Riverside since the Fall of 2003. I have worked at UC Riverside as a Resident Director for Residence Life and a Student Development Educator in the AVC/Dean of Students Office previous to my current position. I grew up in Buffalo and attended Oberlin College (BA in Biology), the University of Michigan (MA in Higher Education Administration) and Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D. in Higher Education, anticipated 2012). I also studied abroad at American University in Madras, India in 2000.

My professional interests include wellness, social justice and universal access to mental health services. My favorite part of the Well is the great team of student staff, volunteers and student affairs professionals that I interact with. I enjoy watching this office grow (The Well opened in the Fall of 2009) and try new things.

My favorite wellness related pastimes include: spinning class, kickboxing, Pilates, cooking Indian food, dancing with my belly dancing troupe, and watching Top Chef and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. On days that I am short on time, I walk with coworkers, participate in Mobile Fit or use a fitness band when I have conference calls (they can’t see me!).

I currently work at UC Riverside as the Director of The Well (Well-being, Empowerment, Life, Learning) Office. UCR offers a variety of wellness-related programs that are designed to support holistic student health and well-being. The Well is a coordinated center for UCR’s student wellness programs. The Well serves to create a safe, supportive, and connected campus environment through the promotion of healthy minds, bodies and communities.  The Well provides accessible, robust resources and support for students in the areas of physical, social, emotional, cultural and spiritual wellness through a network of peer educators, mentors and professionals. For more information about the Well:

Jennifer Miller
Director of The Well
Well-being, Empowerment, Life Learning


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Julie, Wellness Coordinator

By UCR Jobs


Julie Chobdee

Workplace Health Promotion/Wellness is essential to engagement, organizational productivity, talent retention, and creativity and innovation.

Employers are recognizing the role they can play in creating a healthy work environment and providing their employees with opportunities to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) published a white paper entitled Wellness Programs: Helping Companies Feel Better (revised August 2006) indicating that “companies with wellness programs should find that they have better attendance, lower medical and workers’ compensation costs and happier, more productive employees. Employees who participate in regular physical activity, eat low-fat diets, refrain from smoking and get adequate rest, are more alert, more positive in outlook and better able to deal effectively with the stress and rapid change of today’s world.”  Workplace Wellness Programs not only benefit individual employees but also make good business sense.

Imagine working for a university that cares about your health and well-being:

  • A university environment that offers programs, services, resources, and encouragement to improve your health and well-being.
  • A healthy campus culture that supports positive behaviors and lifestyles.
  • A supportive environment with colleagues who care about your health.

UCR makes wellness a priority by focusing on our greatest assets and talents – our faculty, staff, and students. Leadership support for wellness is essential and I’m very proud to showcase our Chancellor’s endorsement for wellness.

“As we embark on the path to preeminence, UCR is committed to a campus culture that promotes wellness through healthy lifestyles that enhance the quality of life for our faculty, staff, and students”.

            Timothy P. White, Chancellor

After graduating from UCLA with a Masters in Public Health, I worked in various worksite wellness/health promotion settings including the LA Times, American Heart Association, Johnson & Johnson, Cal State University Fullerton, and UCR. In the 3 1/2 years I have been at UCR, I’ve had the opportunity to work with so many talented, dedicated, and committed individuals who contribute in so many ways to improve the health, safety, and well-being of our campus community.

In my role as the Faculty and Staff Wellness Program Coordinator, I’ve had the pleasure to interact with faculty, staff, and students and provide them with the awareness, education, tools, and motivation to adopt and maintain positive behavior changes so that they can live healthier, more fulfilling lives. The best part of my job is being able to make an impact on individual’s health, create a healthy culture, and truly feel that my work can and has made a difference.  I hope to continue to make a positive impact in the UCR work environment and throughout the campus community, making UCR a better, healthier place to be.

On a personal note, I exercise daily (I love spin classes!) and eat a healthy diet focused on lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein – small frequent meals…….. and a bowl of frozen yogurt every night (everything in moderation, right)? J

For more information on the Faculty and Staff Wellness Program, please visit: UCR offers a variety of resources and programs to improve your health and well-being. Take charge of your health today!!!

 Julie Chobdee
Wellness Coordinator


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Joe, Interim Director, Diversity Initiatives

By UCR Jobs

Joe Virata

So I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately with the folks in my family (uncles, aunts, cousins, siblings, in-laws, nieces, nephews, wife and sons), trying to figure out what the holidays are all about.  There’s so much going on that it’s a real challenge to nail down a meaningful definition of what this time of year really means.  I’m not even sure where the edges are for this season – do I start with Halloween and work my way to Easter? Do I narrow it from Thanksgiving to the Lunar New Year?  What about those birthdays that find themselves competing with Christmas?  Some of us go to bed early to get rested for Black Friday, while others look forward to Midnight Mass.  One generation wants to drive for miles and hours to spend time with family, while another generation goes out of its way to avoid that uncle who thinks he’s being cool, but he’s really just annoying.

One thing that seems to unite all these celebrations and occasions is the food.  Oh, the food!  Our family tree has roots in so many traditions that we’ve found a way to have the roast turkey peacefully coexist with roast pig (that’s the letson you smell as you enter the kitchen), and slices of sweet potato pie nestle sweetly between the bibingka (one of many types of rice flour based desserts) and the cheesecake.  We’ve found that tamales and fried wonton complement each other nicely, but I don’t think anyone has tried to make a taco from tako (that’s Hawai’ian for octopus).   And somehow a pizza always shows up or someone heads out on a Tommy’s run for those craving that junk food fix.  Not everyone eats everything, but everyone gets fed, and everyone takes something home.

At some point during our family gatherings, the older kids find a way to hide from parents who want them to play the piano for Uncle and Auntie, but the youngest ones get caught and end up playing that piece they were supposed to play at their recital.  After the kids finish, one of the uncles, glowing red from all the sun and San Miguel taken in while bbq-ing will sit at the ivories while his wife sings one of those songs from back in the old days — a kundiman in waltz time, or maybe a fifties do-wop.  And then the reminiscing starts.  You hear it in Tagalog, Spanish, Ilocano, and even in English as the teenagers remember that one time at Auntie’s house in Vegas when everyone got socks for Christmas. 

Somewhere in the next room, someone is playing the Andy Williams Christmas Album (on cd now, because the record player has been broken for years), and in the corner, you catch a glimpse as Dad quietly straightens Mom’s portrait.

It’s right about now that I find the room the teenagers are hiding in, and try to start a conversation about the thick layer of western colonialism and consumerism that has come to influence and define so much of our cultural practice.  And as they disappear one by one out the door, I discover that I’ve become that annoying uncle.


So I guess it’s about family. That’s what it boils down to.  Family…with food on top.


Joe Virata
Interim Director, Diversity Initiatives


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Karen, Executive Assistant

By UCR Jobs

Karen Springer

Turkeys!  My family’s holiday celebrations begin with lots and lots of turkeys.  Our church serves over 4,000 meals on Thanksgiving Day to families throughout Riverside.  In the days leading up to the holiday, I cook turkeys, my husband delivers them to our church, and my husband and daughter work either throughout the day carving turkeys or on the overnight shift boiling and mashing hundreds of pounds of potatoes through Thanksgiving morning.

After Thanksgiving, we quickly shift gears to begin gathering gifts for the children at an orphanage in Tijuana, Siempre Para Los Ninos, that we hold very dear to our hearts. My husband and brother-in-law are part of a wonderful Christmas celebration each year as they help deliver the gifts to the children.  We also purchase items to place in backpacks that we help hand out to people on skid row in the heart of downtown Los Angeles through our church’s program called Jackets for Jesus.

We are of the Christian faith and celebrate the birth of Christ by attending church together on Christmas Eve. On Christmas day, we gather together with extended family, exchange gifts, and sing traditional Christmas carols.  My brother-in-law plays the guitar and leads the singing. Our celebration would not be complete without a trip to downtown Riverside to gaze at the Festival of Lights at the Mission Inn.

Last year, we started a new holiday tradition.  Our family attended a holiday choral concert performed by the UCR Chamber Singers and UCR Choral Society — it was phenomenal!  I got to share with my children the most incredible music – the choral works of Menotti, Vivaldi, Handel, and so much more! That’s one of the things that I like best about working at UCR — the way that being here touches and enriches so many parts of my life and the lives of my family members.  My oldest daughter, who dreams of becoming an Entomologist, and I have attended lectures on campus regarding the amazing research and discoveries that have been made at UCR regarding bees.  My teenage daughter has taken free photography workshops at the California Museum of Photography through UCR ARTSblock programs in downtown Riverside.  My husband and I enjoy the Botanic gardens on campus (40 acres worth!) and attend the plant sales in the fall and spring – the flower beds around our home are living proof of that!  My youngest son has Asperger’s Syndrome — a condition found on the Autism spectrum.  UCR has a Family Autism Resource Center through the Graduate School of Education called SEARCH which we can and have used as a resource.

I feel so blessed to be a part of UC Riverside.  The opportunities for growth and enrichment for me and my family are endless.  I am both proud and humbled to be a part of an institution that brings so much good into the world.

Karen Springer
Executive Assistant
Finance and Business Operations


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Denise, Financial and Administrative Officer

By UCR Jobs


I would like to start off by being thankful for all the beautiful things that have occurred in my life.  The holiday season helps me and my family express what it means to be thoughtful, giving and loving.  My husband Greg, who also works on campus, and I have three beautiful children and two grandchildren that we spend the holidays with.  We always select a family in need for the holidays and we provide dinner and gifts for the kids.  We have continued this tradition for over 20 years.  We also participate in feeding the homeless in downtown Los Angeles. 

This all started when my niece was shot in a drive-by shooting 20 years ago.  My brother, her father, is a LA City Firefighter.  The reality of giving and being thankful hit us like a ton of bricks. We all volunteer for various organizations during the holiday season.  My niece is currently a freshman at Howard University.  We finish up the season by spending the new year in Las Vegas relaxing and having a week of family time.

Being a UC employee for over 32 years and currently employed in the Bourns College of Engineering, in the department of bioengineering, is like a dream come true.   Both of my daughters are proud graduates of UCR.  Working with my colleagues and participating in the Senior Administrative Managers Group (SAM) is just one of the ways that I share my knowledge and experience with the campus.  I love UCR.

 Denise J. Sanders
Financial and Administrative Officer


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Devon, Health Education Initatives Coordinator

By UCR Jobs


Every year, since I was a child, I have looked forward to November and December’s holiday season.  It has always been a time to celebrate family for me.  It starts in mid-November with my dad’s birthday, the celebrating gains momentum at Thanksgiving, then my youngest son’s birthday, my sister’s birthday, my own birthday, and finally, Christmas.  With so much celebration in 2 short months, it’s no wonder I always look forward to this time of year.  Also, with so many birthdays and holidays in November and December, I have to try hard not to make the season about gift-buying and crowded shopping malls, and keep the focus on what’s really important to me: my family. 

As a kid, these months were always such a magical time, and I know I’m lucky to have parents who worked hard to make it that way for me and my sister.  We would always put out milk and cookies for Santa, a carrot for the reindeer, and opened gifts first thing Christmas morning.  My dad always had a fire going in the fireplace when we woke up, so I know he must have woken up extra early to do that, because us kids woke up early!  Another highlight of the holidays for me, as a child, was always putting up and decorating the Christmas tree. 

Now that I have kids of my own, ages 3 and 5 years old, I love having them help get ready for the holidays, and seeing their excitement as we put a tree in the living room and cover it with lights, or hang up stockings.  Being a parent has definitely helped me recapture some of that holiday magic that I was so accustomed to as a kid. We’re continuing the traditions I grew up with, and adding a few from my husband as well.  And of course, we get up super early on Christmas morning to open presents.    

As a UCR student, back in 1997-2001, I also looked forward to the holidays, partly because it meant finals were over and I was one quarter closer to graduation.  This is my first holiday season as a UCR staff member, as I started working here in January.  I look forward to time spent with students and co-workers that I’ve come to know in my 11 months on campus, and I’m thankful I work at a place that values spending time with family, and gives its employees the time to do so.

 Devon Sakamoto, MPH
Coordinator, Health Education Initiatives


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Tim, Policy Analyst & Information Officer, U.S. Veteran

By UCR Jobs


 Privileged to Serve a Higher Purpose and Duties as Assigned

 I am honored with the opportunity to reflect upon the five years of service I enjoyed as a U.S. Naval Supply Corps Officer and the service I now provide as a Policy Analyst here at University of California-Riverside. As I pause and reminisce on those times I shared with shipmates and how those memories and experiences have come into play today as I share with members of the UCR campus community, I realize there is a common thread that weaves itself through both of these two institutions.

 The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts

This well-worn, nonetheless, fitting adage is wonderfully exemplified in both organizations. From the mess cook to Captain, the mission on board a ship calls on each member to serve a higher purpose.  From the custodian to the Chancellor, the mission on campus calls on each member to serve a higher purpose. Each and every one of these individuals contributes to a greater good. Each and every one of these individuals is valued.

In the Navy, I had the privilege of working with individuals whose dedication to serve a higher purpose was not only inspirational, but contagious. From the eager junior enlisted who just reported on board to the seasoned Captain, these individuals understood and taught me that answering the call to go beyond duties as assigned, not only served others but, also benefited oneself. Here at UCR, I have the privilege of working with individuals whose dedication is no less inspiring. Their commitment to the UCR mission is infectious.  Day-in and day-out, from the groundskeeper to the Chancellor, I see individuals who, with enthusiasm, relish the opportunity to go beyond duties as assigned. They, too, fully appreciate and remind me that even as we support others we, too, benefit.

In this short introspective piece, I am reminded of how many people have touched and continue to touch my life. My tenure of service in the USN is relatively short. The impact of that experience has served me in myriad and mellifluous ways. My tenure of service here at UCR continues. The impact of this experience continues to serve me in ways I have yet to realize.

I am privileged to have served and now serve a higher purpose and duties as assigned. Indeed, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I am honored to have been a part of the USN. I am honored to be a part of UCR.         

Tim Willette
Policy Analyst & Information Officer

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Lilia, Administrative Assistant, U.S. Veteran

By UCR Jobs


I still remember that feeling when I left to join the military right after high schoo: excited, scared and anticipating all the new changes in my life in being part of the greatest country…by serving her military. What a great experience. I was honorably discharged as a Petty Officer 2nd class Yeoman and also classified as a disabled veteran. After my military service, I worked for several private practicing physicians and also became a California State certified Allied Health Instructor for front/back office, medical coding/billing and office computers for vocational education. I really enjoyed being with students who wanted to learn.

 Moving forward, it has now been five years since I first stepped on this campus as an employee. I recall being excited and anticipating all the new opportunities this university offers. My first supervisor and department was an excellent experience. I learned all the important aspects of UCR financials and assisted in programming. My second department gave me a deeper appreciation of the students who needed advising and guidance when they become academically challenged. I always made sure the students felt welcomed and ensured they had the best customer service during their visit to our office.

I now work in the best department on campus, School of Medicine, Student Affairs. I really believe that all the years of my training and work experience has led me to this department. The incredible staff and faculty make this department very special. They really care about our medical students in such a way that I have never experienced. Every detail and behind the scenes labor, from the Dean to faculty to Student Affairs Officers to Administrative Staff is always done to precision and with lots of care, that the outcome is always a satisfied student. Not to mention my supervisors who are extremely supportive about our professional development and are committed to the staff’s wellbeing.  Every day here is a great day for me.  

I appreciate being part of the UCR family – just as I am proud to be a veteran, so much so that I am a volunteer for the Staff Assembly Fundraising Committee and the Staff Recognition Committee. I feel it is important to value our hard working staff members at UCR. The U.S. government has given me many special privileges for serving and I would like to continue that tradition in the UCR way by volunteering my time to Staff Assembly. It has been a real privilege meeting UCR community members.

It’s funny – I have lived in Moreno Valley for over 24 years. The first 19 years, I never paid attention to the university off the 60 freeway. I passed it each day going to work. Unfortunately, Moreno Valley is not a “university” town. I hope to see that change in the future and I also see my granddaughter’s future here at UCR.  Dr. Ramos – sounds good!! 

Lilia Ramos
Administrative Assistant



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