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Earl Woods Scholars reunite for Winter Workshop

Third annual workshop prepares scholars for life after college
Fifty-six scholars enjoyed two days of networking and career prep. Tiger Woods Foundation Fifty-six scholars enjoyed two days of networking and career prep.

On Jan. 3-4, 2013, the Tiger Woods Foundation eagerly welcomed back its "family" of more than 50 Earl Woods Scholars from 36 universities around the country to the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif., for its third annual Winter Workshop.

The Winter Workshop prepared scholars for life after college through seminars, hands-on workshops and networking opportunities with local business leaders. The workshop also served as a celebration of the graduating scholar Class of 2013.

"At the workshop, we're learning the specific skills it takes to establish a career beyond college," said Felipe Sepulveda, a freshman economics major at Harvard University. "My fellow scholars and I now have an advantage over everyone else our age because we now have the necessary life skills to be prepared for the workforce."

Day one began with icebreakers as budding scholars participated in skits about workplace etiquette. Mark Babbit, founder of YouTern, continued the day with a presentation on "How to Be a Young Careerist" and a resume building workshop where he provided scholars with tips to write an effective resume. Many of these tips resonated with scholars, including the idea of improving a resume by adding numbers and statistics, a practice that gives potential employees a competitive edge by providing a solid record of accomplishments.

"I learned the little things make a difference when you're looking for a job," said Minh Nguyen, a freshman biology major at UCLA. "The resume workshop taught me a lot. Who knew putting statistics and numbers on your resume could make such a difference?"

As the day progressed, scholars participated in workshops on public speaking, job recruiting, financial literacy and even received information on how to obtain an advanced degree beyond a bachelor's degree.

Scholars also took part in a wardrobe workshop at Working Wardrobes in Costa Mesa, Calif., where they learned how to properly dress like a professional. Former business training professional and current Working Wardrobe volunteer Lynn Marie Cooper also showed attendees interview etiquette and tips on how to make a positive impression on potential employers.

As an exciting new addition to this workshop, third- and fourth-year scholars also received suits and appropriate business attire thanks to a generous gift from the Trump Organization's retail partners as well as Macy's.

On Friday, a distinguished group of local professionals took part in an industry panel and answered scholars' questions about their career choices, experiences in their respective fields and even tips to survive college. The panel included Dr. Phyllis Agran, UCI and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics; Randy Wong, Kaiser Permanente; Kevin Meredith, The Boeing Company; Bill Ross, entrepreneur; and Luis Ortiz-Franco, Chapman University, all of whom shared their unique stories and personal insight into life beyond college.

Scholars then participated in individual mock interview sessions where volunteers, panelists and staff evaluated scholars based on actual interview settings. Through these sessions, each scholar received personalized advice to help them compete in today's job market.

The workshop culminated Friday afternoon as the Foundation hosted more than 150 board members, staff, mentors, scholars and their families at a luncheon that celebrated the accomplishments of the eight graduating scholars. Each graduate shared their stories of college and four years as an Earl Woods Scholar through heartwarming speeches.

"The Tiger Woods Foundation has treated me better than I ever treated myself," said Damion Hunt, political science and pre-law major at Florida A&M University.

The impact of internships and mentors highlighted each speech as all eight graduating scholars whole-heartedly referred to the Foundation as their "family."

Trent Casillas, a senior civil engineering major at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, praised his mentor, Aaron Bell, for always being "able to relate" to him. Johanna Otico, a senior psychology major at Whitman College, described her relationship with her mentor, Jennifer Hanlon, as "invaluable." Nhat Tong, a senior business economics and psychology major at UCLA, graciously thanked his mentor, Becky McLaughlin, for supporting him through nearly all of his life decisions, including his decisions to study abroad in France and teach math to underprivileged youth. She even helped him muster the courage to ask a woman on a date.

"We're your family," said Greg McLaughlin, president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. "That won't change even after you graduate. You will always have a support network in the Foundation."

Although multiple states separate the scholars from one another, the lasting relationships built through the weekend and the duration of the program will remain with them for years to come.

"Four years ago, an amazing bond was created among me and my fellow scholars. Now we consider ourselves family," said Tamika Mitchell, a senior nutritional science major at the University of Arizona.

While all scholars prepare to return to their respective universities, each will use the tips, tools and network they gained from the workshop to propel them toward the future.

As Sepulveda plans for his second semester at Harvard and a future in public and business administration, he's eager to use the tools he learned at the workshop to better his future.

"This week, I've had the opportunity to speak with people who can help me through college and beyond. It's never too early to begin thinking about the future, and we're very fortunate the Foundation gives us these tools," he said.

The Tiger Woods Foundation would like to congratulate the Class of 2013:

Nhat Tong, business economics and psychology with a minor in accounting, UCLA
Tamika Mitchell, nutritional science, University of Arizona
Johanna Otico, psychology with a minor in religion, Whitman College
Hebing Zhou, chemistry, Georgetown University
Trent Casillas, civil engineering, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
Damion Hunt, political science and pre-law, Florida A&M University
Taylor Compton, neurobiology, Harvard College
Luz Flores, international relations, Mount Holyoke College