Isabel Neidorf Graduates UCLA

Isabel Neidorf Graduates UCLA

Congratulations to our own Isabel Neidorf on graduating with a certificate in Learning and Life Skills from UCLA! Pathway at UCLA Extension is a two-year college program offering a blend of educational, social, and vocational experiences. On campus, Pathway students attend classes and participate in the many social, recreational, and cultural activities UCLA has to offer.

“When I learned about the program, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to complete it. What if it’s too hard? What if I’m too tired or can’t do the coursework? The program has regular college requirements – you have to get passing grades, get enough course credits, do midterms, finals and presentations. I really didn’t know if I’d be able to do it, so finishing the program – on my own – is a very big deal,” Isabel exclaimed, accompanied by her radiant smile.

Isabel was 4-years-old when she was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable oligodendroglioma (oligo) brain tumor in 2003. She has endured thousands of seizures during her lifetime, causing physical, developmental and cognitive delays, but thanks to the cutting-edge treatments at UCLA, and her positive, warrior spirit, she persevered and continues to overcome any obstacles.

“There were mandatory core Life Skills classes and then we got to choose classes to audit to get our remaining credits. My favorite classes were Intro to Psychology and Cognitive Science,” Isabel added.

In addition to the regular coursework, the Pathway program at UCLA requires 100 hours of internship work. Internships at Pathway promote positive, real employment experiences for students to prepare them for the real world.

“So that we get the most relevant experience and are best prepared to get full-time jobs when we graduate, UCLA recommends we split our internship hours across 2-3 different companies. My internships were at the UCLA Neurosurgeon office, UCLA Neuroscience office and Jane Boutique Store. Those opportunities allowed me to learn the skills I need to be successful in an office environment as well as how to work in a customer-facing business. I’m now able to contribute to the success of a variety of companies and work environments and I’m excited to get a full-time job.”

Business closures due to the pandemic may have hampered Isabel’s full-time job aspirations temporarily, but that hasn’t slowed her down. “I’m going to work at my dad’s office until there are more opportunities for full-time work after the pandemic. I definitely want to keep helping other people who are going through brain cancer treatment, so that’s another area of work I plan to pursue.”

“When I graduated high school, I felt like they just ‘gave’ that diploma to me. It felt like something they were doing to be inclusive and recognize me, and that’s nice, but I didn’t feel like I earned it. I worked hard for my certificate in Learning and Life Skills, from UCLA! I did this on my own – even when I wasn’t sure I could – and I earned it!”

Congratulations, Isabel! We are so proud of you!

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