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, but new applicant windows will open in the future. In the interim, please contact hrfellows@ucop.edu for more information.

Meet our current Fellows

Let us introduce you to our current group of Fellows.

Katiria Jimenez headshot

Katiria currently works alongside the Systemwide Executive Compensation team on undertakings such reviewing systemwide decision memos for SMG employees, updating market matches, reviewing the MRZ summary job descriptions and the 2019 Market Reference data, for which she also attends the UC Regents meetings. Her latest project is developing a new platform/template to streamline the decision memo process systemwide.

During Katiria’s first eight month rotation, she was exposed to an array of opportunities with Labor and Employee Relations. In Labor Relations she prepared documents relevant to grievances and arbitration hearings, and as part of this effort, also coordinated union requests for information and assisted in gathering/preparing relevant documents in response to grievances/arbitrations. In addition, she was heavily exposed to collective bargaining, including negotiating a union contract from beginning to end. During her rotation in Employee Relations she assisted with policies and procedures—specifically Complaint Resolution disputes in supporting locations local procedure to ensure consistency and transparency. In addition, she responded to campus complaints under the Supervision of the Employee Relations Specialist. She was also exposed to EEOC complaint process and procedures, and how to best maintain a database of employee relations issues.

Katiria Jimenez received her bachelor’s degree in American Studies from UC Davis in 2005 and served on the ASUCD Senate. While obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Katiria worked as an undergraduate admissions assistant from 2001-2002 and through the UC Davis work-study program, was on the Board of Editors for the UC Davis Law Review from 2002-2004. Katiria is currently pursuing a Masters of Jurisprudence from Tulane Law School in Employment and Labor Law and studying to take the Professional in Human Resources (PHR) exam this winter.

Olga Zundel headshot

Olga is a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow currently working in Systemwide Employee Relations on a comprehensive local procedure review of compliance with Complaint Resolution, Compensation, and Corrective Action policies. She is also working on the rollouts of the Engagement and Disability employee surveys. Olga just completed a rotation in Systemwide Benefits, where she conducted a workflow analysis of existing disability leave policies as part of the Return to Work Initiative, and which culminated in an executive summary of findings and recommendations for standardizing leave policies and tools.

Prior to joining the University of California, Olga spent five and a half years at BlessingWhite, Inc., a leadership development and employee engagement consulting firm in San Francisco, where she handled all implementation responsibilities for Bay Area accounts across a wide range of industries. After working with clients to address talent management challenges of all kinds, Olga decided to apply her passion for facilitating healthy organizations to the HR field. She completed her M.S. in Human Resource development at Golden Gate University in December 2017, and is very happy to join the current Fellowship cohort. She hopes to acquire experience in a variety of HR disciplines during her time as a Fellow and to use those skills to enhance organizational employee experience in all its forms.

Olga holds a B.A. in Rhetoric from U.C. Berkeley, and a Paralegal Certificate from San Francisco State, during the process of which she interned for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and several immigration law firms.

Rhommel Canrae headshot

Rhommel is currently working alongside Systemwide Compensation and with the Director of Compensation Programs & Strategy, Brad Chilcoat. Specifically, he is heavily involved in the University’s new job classification system rollout, Career Tracks. Some of his special projects include: 1) assisting UC Irvine and UCLA in mapping new job standards for current jobs; 2) systems work and collaboration with locations in the rollout of the new online position development tool, JobBuilder; and 3) conducting monthly database work, analysis and reporting on salary grade matches and discrepancies for multiple UC locations.

Recently finishing his first rotation in Systemwide HR Policy, Rhommel contributed his diverse skills in data analytics, policy interpretation, instructional design, and project management to the team. Some of his accomplishments include: 1) managing high priority reviews on leave policies, 2) analyzing data and narrating findings on sick leave balances and medical separation rates, and 3) designing and presenting “HR Policy Refreshers” to employee relations specialists systemwide.

Rhommel’s career over the past 10 years also spans diverse experience in leadership and direct service ranging from non-profits, health education, and student affairs in colleges and universities. Through the years, he has remained passionate about working in partnership with colleagues to improve and/or innovate processes and systems that enhance the stakeholder/client experience. Rhommel aims to be one of the many champions found at the UC; not only contributing to its mission and organizational excellence, but leading in the effort to positively impact its workplace culture for all UC employees.

Rhommel hails from San Diego, California. He pursued his undergraduate studies in Sociology & Asian American studies at UC Los Angeles. He also holds a Master’s degree in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University (SFSU). Recently, he also earned a professional certificate in Human Resource Management from SFSU.

Courtney Brown headshot

Courtney is a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow currently working alongside the Systemwide Integrated Talent Management team within the Systemwide Talent Management unit.

Her most recent project involves partnering with talent management leaders throughout UC to establish a UC Systemwide Core Competencies model. Within this scope, she develops team agendas, handles team communications, organizes meetings, and captures and distributes meetings notes to keep the project on track. In the early phases of the project, Courtney researched existing competencies currently in use at UC, benchmarked future industry trends regarding competency usage and worked with the team to help identify, and recommend the list of competencies and behavioral anchors to be used as part of the UC Systemwide Core Competencies model. She was on the registration and logistics teams for the 2019 People Management Conference, helping in various capacities as needed for communication with attendees, organizing room and board logistics and planning networking events.

Prior to joining Systemwide Talent Management, Courtney worked with the Business Controls team within the Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC). Her project focused on helping to build an employee development plan that would enhance the training process for various roles within RASC.

Before working at the University of California, Office of the President as a Systemwide HR Fellow, Courtney graduated from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After graduation, she began working for UC Davis Health where she held two roles working in program and project support for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing and the Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences office, respectively. During her time at UC Davis Health, her passion for helping others achieve their best in the workplace came to fruition and she decided to shift her career to Human Resources with a focus in Talent Management.

She recently completed her Master of Arts degree in Organizational Learning and Effectiveness from the University of the Pacific and is excited to continue working for the University of California on her new career path in Human Resources through this fellowship opportunity.

Sameer Farooq headshot

Sameer is a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow currently working within Systemwide Labor Relations. In his first rotation, he has had the opportunity to take part in a variety of projects, such as: Step 3 Grievance Responses, legal memos, compensation reports and contract research reports. He has also been involved in systemwide bargaining sessions and Systemwide Labor Relations Manager meetings. As a member of the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee, he assists 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 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 with University of California Office of the President, Sameer worked as a Healthcare Recruiter at Virginia Hospital Center located in Arlington, Virginia. In his time at Virginia Hospital Center, 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.

Michaela James headshot

Michaela is currently working alongside the Business Controls team in the UC Retirement Administration Service Center (RASC) for her first rotation. She is assisting specifically with streamlining the new hire process by implementing a Welcome Plan checklist to be used by supervisors and managers, which tracks all necessary actions that must be completed before and during the first 45 days of onboarding a new hire. She has also created a checklist for new hires themselves, in which they can see which orientations and trainings they must attend in their first month at RASC, and worked closely with the Disability team on various projects pertaining to the processing of disability requests and special retirement requests, and she will be assisting on additional training opportunities that are to come. In addition to working closely with RASC, Michaela is also a member of the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute planning committee and will be a key contributor for this upcoming debut event.

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 but 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. Additionally, 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 excited to be a part of the Fellows Program and is looking forward to her future with University of California.

Aafia Ali Khan headshot

Aafia is currently working alongside the Systemwide HR Policy unit. Her current project is a policy refresher presentation to the location Policy Coordinators on PPSM 30 — Compensation, as it has undergone various changes in the past year. She is also assisting with the Full Review of PPSM 2.210 — Absence from Work. In addition, she has conducted an analysis of the implementation of PPSM 23 — Performance Management at each UC location. As a fellow, Aafia is a part of the 2019 Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee, contributing to the Marketing/Communications team as well as the Networking team.

Aafia earned her B.S. in Psychology from UC Riverside, graduating cum laude. 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. After graduation, 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. In her spare time, Aafia enjoys listening to music, drawing and learning new languages.

Davontae Foxx-Drew headshot

Davontae is a Systemwide Human Resources Fellow currently working alongside the HR Compliance, Reporting and Analytics unit. In his first rotation he has participated in a variety of projects including a Compliance Assessment for the I-9 Tracker System used by each UC Location and an Optimization review to improve the Family Member Eligibility Verification (FMEV) program for all UC employees and retirees.

In addition, he is also a member of the Systemwide HR Institute Planning Committee, where he is assisting in the design and development of the institute’s mobile application. He recently participated at the 2019 UC People Management Conference as one of the event photographers.

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. Prior to becoming a Systemwide HR Fellow, Davontae has 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 key 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 aims to use those methodologies to enhance systems within UC, as he continues to learn and further develop his knowledge in Human Resources. Davontae looks forward to becoming a future stakeholder, transformative leader and champion here at the University of California.