Alumni Spotlight: Success With Plenty of Soul
Student Achievement Award
winner and Business Administration
graduate Melody Wang balances
her career at City of Hope by
writing poetry and co-hosting a
podcast focused on creativity
“What drew me to UCI and the certificate program was the well-rounded curriculum, which is both challenging and worthwhile in terms of transferable skills that would serve me well in business administration and other areas of my life.”
Melody Wang, Business
Administration Program Graduate
Melody Wang navigates her life’s
journey with the soul of a poet and the
mission of a healer. Currently Research
Operations Analyst at City of Hope, the
DCE alumna followed in the footsteps
of her father, who was a research
scientist at the iconic Duarte medical
center. All the while, she has kept her
creative fires burning, as a poet with a
published collection “Night-Blooming
Cereus” and a new podcast “Create
Melody’s career at City of Hope began
immediately after she graduated from
UC San Diego, getting her degree a
year early so she could move home
to be with her father, who had been
diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. “I was
grateful to start work at City of Hope
where I had interned and where my
father had been employed, which was
20 minutes away from where we lived,”
The sensitive and compassionate
care Melody’s father received while
undergoing cancer treatment inspired
her to go back to school. “My dad
had been through rounds of surgery,
radiation and chemo. During that
time, his social worker really made a
difference in my dad’s quality of life,
especially in those last few months
before he lost his battle.” Melody was
so moved, she decided to enroll at USC
to get a Master’s in Social Work to go
with her B.A. in Sociology from UCSD.
Melody’s path eventually led to UCI
where she expanded her skillset with
a Business Administration certificate,
earning a Student Achievement Award
along the way. “I felt like I needed a new
challenge, especially with the pandemic,”
she said. “And I realized that business
administration was something I’d love
to delve more deeply into. What drew
me to UCI and the certificate program
was the well-rounded curriculum, which
is both challenging and worthwhile in
terms of transferable skills that would
serve me well in business administration
and other areas of my life.”
Melody was kind enough to share her thoughts on her career and academic journey, as well as her creative pursuits.
Tell us about your experience
with the program. What skills and
knowledge did you acquire?
This was a really stimulating program and I enjoyed every moment of it. The instructors were all knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and supportive. They covered many critical aspects of business administration including finance, marketing, leadership, management, human resources, and process optimization. I particularly enjoyed interacting with the instructors and fellow students in the group projects and discussion boards.
Everyone was respectful and it was encouraging to be in such an interesting space with like-minded people on similar paths. I also appreciated that it was fully online, which allowed me to attend classes and complete homework on nights and weekends. I am fortunate to be at a company that truly supports personal growth and development, and this was one of the recommended programs.
How did it feel to win a Student Achievement Award for your leadership, commitment to learning and other qualities?
I felt very honored and humbled. I was nominated by one of my instructors, Janet Randolph, and I feel like I really benefited from her course modules, feedback on my assignments, and the stimulating discussions with colleagues. My personal favorite courses were Essentials of Management and Leadership and Fundamentals of Digital Marketing for Business and Administrators.
What sort of impact did your certificate have on your career?
I was able to immediately apply the skills I acquired in the program toward my day-to-day job. Shortly after I completed my certificate, I was promoted to Research Operations Analyst within my current department. I’m really enjoying learning different systems and supporting my department in this new capacity.
On a side note, earlier in the year my Business Director and Business Manager nominated me for a City of Hope VIA award in the category of “Service with a Sense of Urgency.” A couple of weeks ago, I got the news that I was selected as an honoree, and it felt really nice to be recognized.
I understand you’ve held many positions at City of Hope.
I’ve worked there for over 12 years, in several departments. Currently I’m working in the department of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics. I handle the financial operations for our department, preparing, analyzing, and interpreting financial reports for all our budgets and expenses.
Somehow you find time to co-host the “Create to Heal” podcast. Tell us about that.
At the beginning of this year, my friend Patricia Varga and I were just brainstorming about how awesome it would be to have a safe space where we could have conversations from the heart and encourage each other and others in creative endeavors as we embark on our unique journeys of healing. We aim to use this podcast space to cultivate healing, creativity, and interview different guests from all walks of life. We always use poetry and creativity to engage audience participation as well.
What inspired you to write “Night-Blooming Cereus”?
These little poems are dear to me and touch upon themes of loss, trauma, grief — especially after my father’s passing and my own healing process. I have a soft spot in my heart for the night-blooming cereus and its gentle reminder of the brevity and sacredness of life. My mom has a few of these in her backyard garden and has always asked me to stay to watch them unfurl. Last summer was the first and only time I stayed to watch them blossom and it was magical.
How does poetry enrich your life?
Poetry has been an outlet for me from an early age. Each poem gives me something different, whether it is abstract expression, a way to excavate meaning from traumatic experiences in my life, or simply a way to remember and capture a certain moment in time.
It has made me realize that, ultimately, we are all interconnected, and there is value in realizing that one is never truly alone. As the spiritual teacher Ram Dass stated, “We are all just walking each other home.”
Learn more about the Business Administration Certificate Program.