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CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program

Participation Drive
6 Donors
Towards goal of 15 Donors
$775.00 Raised
Project has ended
Project ended on November 30, at 11:59 PM PST
Project Owners

Help Us Train Tomorrow’s Tech Leaders!

Cal alumna and entrepreneur, Nanxi Liu has generously offered $500 in matching funds if we can raise 15 gifts in support of these programs.

Together, we can help ensure that University of California (UC) students learn essential skills to succeed in the workplace.

This summer, 84 University of California undergraduates explored careers in aviation, climate resilience, digital health, robotics, and semiconductors as interns in the eight-week CITRIS Workforce Innovation Program, which launched in spring 2022 with support from the state. 

The students came from an array of backgrounds and academic majors, and they represented, in roughly equal numbers, the four campuses affiliated with the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society and the Banatao Institute (CITRIS): UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Merced, and UC Santa Cruz. They were matched with 45 different host organizations that ranged in size from small startups, nonprofits, and campus laboratories to multinational corporations and national labs, with locations across the state and headquarters around the world. 

Your gift can open doors to high-paying careers for UC students!
CITRIS's Workforce Innovation Program is a showcase example of UC partnering with industry and the state of California to invigorate the state’s future workforce. We hope you will join us by making a gift today in support of this program.

Building communication skills
Zoe Wilf, a fourth-year student at UC Davis, found that a major takeaway from her internship was successful communication—particularly with her fellow engineers at Ceres Robotics Inc., a company in Palo Alto that develops landers, rovers, and software for planetary exploration.  As a mechanical engineering intern, Wilf participated in trade studies and designed and modeled the suspension system of a lunar rover with CAD, or computer-aided design, software. 

  • “With the help of CITRIS’s workshops, I was able to ask questions that were not only effective but were more nuanced,” Wilf said. “They helped me get the answers I needed.”

Developing technical talents
For Yeiji Lee, a third-year UC Berkeley student, the learning opportunities aren’t over yet. She spent her summer with Advantest, a Japanese company that manufactures automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry. As part of its San Jose-based design interface team, she worked on a chamber to help minimize noise while devices are cooled during testing. 

  • “I entered this project during the prototyping stage, so a lot of my contribution went into the design, simulation, and testing,” Lee said. With the company’s support, “I will be continuing this internship until the end of winter,” she said when the product is intended to go into production. Her next steps include a design review and building a prototype.

Battling imposter syndrome

Zahra Baxi, a third-year student studying human-centered design at UC Berkeley, worked with UC Santa Cruz’s OpenLab Collaborative Research Center. There, they worked closely with OpenLab co-founder and UC Santa Cruz art professor Jennifer Parker to support The Algae Society Bio Art Design Lab, an international collective of artists and scientists. During their internship, Baxi created conceptual designs, storyboards, and scripts for digital multimedia projects about the effects of climate change on the Arctic. 

Baxi said their biggest challenge was the learning curve; they had to do a significant amount of research quickly to familiarize themself with the subject at hand. But they picked up important insight into how organizations value workers with varying talents.

  • “I had a lot of impostor syndrome, where I’d think I might not be well qualified for things,” they said. “But the OpenLab helped me see that I have skills I can share with people. They would learn from me, and I can learn from them.”


Your gift allows us to offer internships to more UC undergrads!
As donors, your contributions make a direct and positive impact on the future of UC students.

We invite you to consider making a gift before this campaign ends on November 22, and help us increase the impact of this important program. We are so grateful for your support. 

Contact Tamara Bock, Development Director, CITRIS and the Banatao Institute, at

Not sure if your company matches gifts? Email us at with questions.


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Donations will support sponsoring the infrastructure that allows students to gain new in-demand tech skills.



Donations will support professional development workshops for student interns.



You will receive a personalized shout-out on Linked In



Your name will be prominently featured on signage at our Workforce Innovation wrap-up reception, you will receive a personalized shout-out on Linked In, and you will receive priority updates and event invites.

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