Lending a paw to future alumni with Huskies@Work

Huskies@Work at eBay

Paul Son, 09, and junior Elif Hepateska at eBay.

When eBay software engineer Paul Son, ’09, first learned about Huskies@Work, the UWAA’s job shadowing program, he knew he had to do it. “It was something I wished I’d had as an undergraduate,” Paul says. “I thought to myself, it’s too late to go back in the past, so let’s be part of the solution.”

Huskies@Work kicked off in May 2016 and concluded its second session this November. More than 300 students have been paired with Seattle-area alumni for a-day-in-the-life glimpse at how local Huskies are putting their hard earned degrees to work. From Bertha to Microsoft, dentist offices to breweries, students have gained access to a wide range of careers in the Puget Sound area.

Getting connected is easy: Alumni fill out an application describing their job, and students describe their career interests. They’re then paired for a day on the job, and a match made in networking heaven is born.


Student Vipech Bun visits alum Krystal Lin and her colleagues at Weber Shandwick.

With Huskies@Work, each alum-student pair has the flexibility to create a job shadowing day that works for them. Together, they pick the date, the length of their time together and the activities for the day. At one office, a student met with several alumni throughout the day, spreading out the time commitment between colleagues and exposing the student to a range of jobs. At another, the student and alum met for an introductory coffee on one day, and then met up on another date time for their day on the job. They plan to meet up for a follow-up in the coming months.

This fall, Paul was paired with Elif, a junior with a double major in computer science and software engineering. She joined him at meetings so that she could see what her future job might be like. Paul even arranged for Elif to meet with eBay’s women in technology group. “There were some experiences I couldn’t share with her, but I knew there were others who could,” he says.

Elif gave rave reviews of her day with Paul: “It was great to be in field. We talked a lot about daily activities that a software engineer does during the day, and it was amazing to see in real life that I was just learning the concepts in class. I have already started telling new students to join this program. Everything we learn in class makes so much more sense after this day of job shadowing.”


Tom Vail, ’88, ’10, and MBA student Joo Wan Jennifer An.

At the UWAA, we work to build the Husky community; with Huskies@Work, we’re fulfilling that mission. This fall, 89 percent of participant respondents reported they felt more connected with UW. That’s one of many reasons why Paul and other hosts keep coming back. “Volunteering with Huskies@Work falls in line with my drive to give back,” he says.

Need to hear more about what makes Huskies@Work special? This comment from one alum sums it up well:

It was a simple and efficient way to give back to UW, a UW student and to our community.

It was great to reflect on being a student and sharing how the foundation of education, network and friendships generated at UW truly prepared me for life.

It was inspirational to hear what students at UW are doing and what they plan to do in the future.

It was great to donate time rather than just money.

Plans are underway for a Spring 2017 session of Huskies@Work. Interested in taking part? Learn more and check back for an application at