Julissa Padilla and Sona Tsarukyan: WISE Scholarships at Work

This past academic year, Woodbury Integrative Student Experience (WISE) granted $1,000 WISE Tuition Scholarships to 25 students. The WISE Program, which enables students to earn scholarship funds while gaining invaluable life experiences, develops compelling educational opportunities in five High Impact Practices  — undergraduate research, study away, civic engagement, leadership and internships, each applicable to emerging local and global communities. The program is available to eligible students throughout the university. Julissa Padilla, a rising senior majoring in Animation and minoring in Professional Writing, and Sona Tsarukyan, in her fifth year toward a BArch degree, are two such students

Julissa Padilla –  Wise Leadership Experience

On the premise that it’s best to learn by doing (and the corollary that “writers gotta write”), Julissa Padilla has been working as a tutor in Woodbury’s Writing Center.

“I truly enjoy my job,” she says. “It actually has prepared me for the outside world, and I expect that the kinds of skills I’ve acquired will help me with my career. From the Writing Center, I’ve gained enormous confidence to talk to a wide range of people. It’s so satisfying to help a student get an ‘A’ on a paper and know that it’s in part because I was able to assist. That’s the biggest reward I get from being a tutor. Knowing we are helping students on that level contributes both to the student’s growth and to the university as a whole.”

Although writing typically is viewed as a solitary exercise, Julissa says the social implications are undeniable: “Working at the Writing Center, I’ve been able to befriend more people than I ever thought I could.  And working in this kind of setting has enabled me to develop close relationships with other students, associations that I cherish.”

For Julissa, the biggest takeaway from the WISE experience was learning how to adapt the way she communicated with others, depending on their personality. “Everyone is different so being able to talk on a both professional and personal level, that’s a very big deal,” she says.

 Sona Tsarukyan – Wise Work Experience

Thanks to the WISE Scholarship, BArch candidate Sona Tsarukyan jump-started her architectural career by documenting her internship experience at the Glendale firm SEC Development. As it happens, the company was founded by four friends from Woodbury who decided to band together to pursue their passion – as the SEC Development site says, [the firm] “was created out of aspiration to do one thing: to create something that will outlast lifetimes.” Founded in 2016, SEC Development has designed apartments, managed residential projects, help guided businesses through the complicated processes of permitting and more.

For her part, Sona says the internship enabled her to “improve the quality of my work and my communication skills. I became more innovative when faced with dilemmas, and above all, I understand now that part of my success is a reflection of how well I deal with others.”

Looking back, she is especially pleased that she had the opportunity to incorporate her artistic skills in her work for SEC Development, most notably for projects “with special needs clients that required innovative techniques.” As often occurs with Woodbury internships, the WISE work experience was anything but an exercise; Sona was able to secure a permanent position as a drafter/designer at the firm.

“The WISE Program is a great opportunity for students because the experience you gain is priceless,” she says.

Learn more about the WISE program
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