What is it?

The Systemwide HR Fellows program is part of a multidimensional Talent Management strategy designed to attract and develop highly capable, competitive and career-focused individuals, thus creating a pipeline of exceptional talent familiar with University's Human Resources operations and the Systemwide HR Office's foundational areas: Compensation, Talent Management, Labor Relations, HR Policy, HR Compliance, Pension Operations, Employee Relations, and Benefits.

As part of the two year program, Fellows will work on assignments designed to enhance current skills, provide practical work experience, and foster in-depth knowledge of the different units within Human Resources. With additional emphases placed on Systemwide impact, organizational visibility, multi-unit involvement and clear deliverables, these assignments also afford unique opportunities to grow Fellows' professional networks and expand their portfolios.

Upon completion of the program, Fellows will be assessed for opportunities with HR.

Who should apply?

Individuals who are:

  • Interested in establishing a career in Human Resources
  • Seeking exposure to new HR disciplines and areas of interest
  • HR professionals looking for career growth opportunities
  • Recent UC graduates (undergraduates or graduate) in business/finance, law or other related field

In addition to evidence of high achievement, Fellows are expected to demonstrate characteristics such as: analytical thinking, self-motivated, risk-taking, and the ability to build relationships and credibility.

Can I apply?

The current program cycle is fully staffed. We are in the process of evaluating the program and will share updates here as they become available.

Meet our current Fellows

Learn more about us through our newsletter:

Let us introduce you to our current group of Fellows.

Sameer Farooq headshot

Sameer is currently a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow with Systemwide Employee Relations. His central project is as a member of the Pay for Family Care and Bonding workgroup, where he is serving as a liaison to UCPath for the implementation of Pay for Family Care and Bonding, and supporting the Training, UCPath and Communications subcommittees. Moreover, he has worked on producing a PPSM 70 workflow, carrying out Employee Relations website updates, assisting on a variety of Affirmative Action projects, and reviewing PPSM 70 and Article 33 Grievances.

Prior to starting his fourth rotation, Sameer completed his third rotation with Systemwide Benefits, Programs & Strategy, specifically Retirement Savings Program (RSP). Within his rotation, he was a key contributor on developing a training plan for UCPath that contains an all-inclusive overview of the complexity of UC’s RSP to identify best practices, define tasks, set standards and provide available tools to assist UCPath staff to become well-trained operationally and educationally while they meet the retirement savings needs of UC employees. Furthermore, Sameer assisted on the Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLAC) rollout, which is focused on addressing longevity risk in Defined Contribution Plans (DCP) with a lifetime income solution.

Preceding his third rotation, Sameer completed his second rotation with Systemwide Executive Compensation, where he worked on projects such as the Executive Compensation Ticketing System, the 2019 SMG Salary Research Report, Item Log Project and Systemwide Coaches report.

In his first rotation with Systemwide Labor Relations, he worked on Step 3 Grievance Responses, legal memos, compensation reports and contract research reports. He was also involved in Systemwide bargaining sessions and Systemwide Labor Relations Manager meetings.

As a member of the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee, he assisted in the career networking activities for the Institute. Similarly, he was able to participate and assist in the 2019 People Management Conference as well. Sameer was a contributing member of the 2020 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee; he managed the conference volunteers, assisted with Communications/Marketing, Prizes and the Networking Hub. Sameer is also an active Toastmasters International member, where he is polishing his public speaking and strengthening his leadership skills. In July of 2020, Sameer joined the inaugural Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) as a Core Team member. The ARTF consists of 5 subgroups, and Sameer co-leads the Hiring Subgroup, where he works with group members to assess current practices and recommend changes to address concerns about bias and discrimination in UCOP hiring practices.

Sameer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a concentration in Public Administration from Bloomsburg University. He then completed a Dual Master’s program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Master of Arts in Employment and Labor Relations and a Master of Science in Health Services Administration. Prior to becoming a Systemwide HR Fellow, Sameer worked as a Healthcare Recruiter at Virginia Hospital Center located in Arlington, Virginia. In his time there he was a key player in recruiting top tier healthcare professionals in both the clinical and non-clinical divisions.

Sameer enjoys playing and watching sports, traveling, eating and spending time with family and friends. He plans to continue to learn and further develop his Human Resources competencies as a Systemwide HR Fellow.

Sameer's LinkedIn Profile

Michaela James headshot

Michaela is working towards the completion of her two-part rotation in Systemwide Talent Management. Her key projects include: creating various training videos for the new Executive Search dashboard, assisting with the implementation of the upcoming AlumniFire networking site, updating the Managing Implicit Bias survey and developing a new image/icon repository for the UC Learning Management System (LMS).

She was a part of the 2020 Systemwide HR Institute planning committee, where she led the networking team and worked on the teacher recruitment team. In addition, she was a member of the Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) core team, and she co-chaired the Retention workgroup. Additionally, she is a member of the Lakeside Speakeasy Toastmasters group with her cohort.

In her previous rotation with Systemwide Employee Relations, she was involved in UCOP’s Affirmative Action Plans (AAP). She prepared and reviewed the AAP in order to be compliant with federal regulations and conducted an internal audit/assessment of personnel practices, recruitment and outreach activities. In addition, she supported the Paid Family Leave Committee and responded to PPSM 70 (Complaint Resolution) and Article 33 Grievances. She also attended her first CUCSA meeting at UC Merced in March 2019.

Her first rotation was with the Business Controls team in the Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC). She implemented a Welcome Plan checklist to be used by supervisors and managers, to track all the necessary actions that must be completed before and during the first 45 days of onboarding a new hire, thus streamlining the new hire process. Furthermore, she created a checklist for new hires themselves, where they could view the orientations and trainings they must attend within their first month. She also worked closely with the Disability team on various projects pertaining to the processing of disability requests and special retirement requests. Along with working in her rotation, Michaela was a part of the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute planning committee, as well as the 2019 UC People Management Conference planning committee.

Prior to joining the HR Fellows Program, Michaela held a four year position in the Compliance department of her previous company. During her time there she gained experience in customer service, leadership, project management, grievance resolution, data analysis, onboarding and training. Her duties required her to work both independently as a self-starter and also as a leader within her team.

Michaela graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2013 from Fresno State University with a B.A. in English Literature. She is an Oakland native who is fond of reading, writing, walking around Lake Merritt, trying new restaurants, and collecting vintage fashion. She is very happy to be a part of the Fellows Program, and is looking forward to her future with the University of California.

Michaela's LinkedIn Profile

Aafia Ali Khan headshot

Aafia is a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow currently working in Staff Compensation. Her projects include implementing a Systemwide solution for building and tracking job descriptions, leveling preexisting jobs into a new classification structure adopted by the University and mapping current positions at UCLA into the new structure. She is also assisting with policy revisions around the classification of jobs at UC.

Her previous rotation was in Systemwide Employee Relations, where she facilitated the Pay for Family Care & Bonding workgroup meetings and served as a liaison to UCPath for its implementation across the UC system. She also examined and analyzed Article 33 Grievances (Respectful, Fair Treatment) and PPSM 70 (Personnel Policies for Staff Members) - Complaint Resolution. In addition, she reviewed and updated the UCOP Affirmative Action Plan Self-Assessment.

Then in her second rotation, Systemwide Talent Management, she assisted with Executive Recruitment and Searches, authored scripts for the instructional How-To videos that detailed both the UC Location and Search Firm processes of entering search data, as well as developed a change management and communication strategy for the implementation of the updated UC Core Competency model.

Her first rotation was in Systemwide HR Policy, where she developed a refresher PowerPoint on PPSM 30 - Compensation to assist locations with 2018 policy updates, conducted an analysis on local procedures of PPSM 23 - Performance Management, as well as updated Employment Agreement Templates.

As an HR Fellow, Aafia was a part of the 2020 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee. She co-led the Marketing/Communications team where she oversaw attendee/event communication, registration and the event mobile app user experience. She contributed to the Networking team and Zoom Logistics team as well. For the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute, she was a contributor to both the Marketing/Communications team and Networking team. She also participated and assisted in the 2019 People Management Conference.

Aafia was part of the Core Planning Team for the UCOP Anti-Racism Task Force. She co-led the Workplace Culture workgroup, which analyzed the current workplace culture and identified recommendations to ensure that UCOP’s workplace culture is open, inclusive, equitable and productive for all employees. Furthermore, she is refining her public speaking and leadership skills as an active Toastmasters International member.

Aafia earned her B.S. in Psychology from UC Riverside. At UCR, she was a Leadership Pathway Program Fellow, where she learned about the foundations of leadership, leadership across different social and cultural contexts, and had the opportunity to shadow various senior leaders. Prior to joining UCOP, Aafia worked as a recruiter for a behavioral health company.

Through the HR Fellows Program, Aafia is excited to continue her association with the UC system.

Aafia's LinkedIn Profile

Davontae Foxx-Drew headshot

Davontae is currently a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow with Systemwide Employee Relations. He serves as the liaison for the Systemwide Engagement Survey workgroup and works on various projects such as Article 33 Grievance Responses and the UC Self-Identification FAQ Document.

After the fellowship, Davontae will be attending the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, to obtain his Masters of Public Health with a focus in Health Management and Policy.

He recently completed his third rotation in Systemwide Labor Relations. In this rotation, he assessed and composed responses to Step 3 Grievances, conducted data analysis for the FUPOA (Police Union) bargaining negotiations and designed a contract manual for the Academic Researchers (RA) agreement.

Davontae's second rotation was in Systemwide Compensation Programs and Strategy. He worked on projects such as the UC Compensation Support Matrix, Salary Range Narrowing Cost-Benefit Analysis and Weekly Data Integrity Reports Highlighting Salary Range adjustments for UC Employees.

In his first rotation, HR Compliance, Reporting and Analytics, he oversaw the I-9 Tracker System's Compliance Assessment, created an optimized workflow process to improve the Family Member Eligibility Verification (FMEV) and conducted Data Integrity Reporting for Staff Compensation.

He was also a member of the 2019 and 2020 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee. He was the lead designer for the website, co-designer for the mobile application and co-lead for the marketing & communications team. Additionally, he participated in the 2019 People Management Conference as one of the event photographers.

Furthermore, Davontae served as a Core Planning Team member for the Anti-Racism Taskforce (ARTF) and co-chaired the Career Pathways and Promotions workgroup within the taskforce. His workgroup assessed how existing policies and procedures address employee concerns about perceived acts of bias, intolerance and discrimination in promotion and career development opportunities. In addition to Davontae's active leadership commitments, he continuously refines his public speaking skills as an active member of the Lakeside Speakeasy Toastmasters club.

Davontae was born and raised in Compton, California. He is a first-generation college graduate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies with a minor in Anthropology. Before becoming a Systemwide HR Fellow, Davontae had a rich and diverse professional work experience in education, research, healthcare and non-profit sectors. Most notably, Davontae is a published researcher in the New England Journal of Medicine for his critical contributions in recruiting and project planning for the Cluster-Randomized Trial of Blood Pressure Reduction in Black Barbershops.

Davontae is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. and is a distinguished graduate from the Alpha Leadership Academy, Omicron Class. With his interest in human-centered design, an approach towards problem-solving, he uses those methodologies to enhance UC systems. He's currently continuing to learn and further develop his knowledge of Human Capital Management as a Systemwide HR Fellow. Davontae looks forward to becoming a future stakeholder, transformative leader and champion at the University of California.

Davontae's LinkedIn Profile