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Olivia Zanfardino

Olivia Zanfardino

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Career Roadmap

Olivia's work combines: Technology, Government, and Teaching / Mentoring

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Day In The Life


I help businesses implement technology solutions to meet their needs.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

    American School (Home School)

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Business Administration and Management, General

    University of Phoenix-Southern California Campus

Here's the path I recommend for someone who wants to be a Water Resource Specialists:

High School

Bachelor's Degree: Business Administration and Management, General

Learn more about different paths to this career

Life & Career Milestones

I've taken a lot of twists and turns

  • 1.

    Played with a lot of toy blocks and wanted to be an architect as a kid.

  • 2.

    Studied engineering at a community college, didn't graduate.

  • 3.

    Landed my first government job drawing electrical maps in AutoCAD (learned at the CC).

  • 4.

    Worked for multiple government contractors as an administrative assistant. Learned SAP and finance.

  • 5.

    After a few years of military service, developed an interest in water during volunteer traveling.

  • 6.

    Realized getting back into the workforce was getting harder so I finished my bachelors degree.

  • 7.

    Joined a college water conservation team and sought an internship with the sponsoring company.

  • 8.

    Applied everything I had learned over the years to the new environment.

Defining Moments

How I responded to discouragement


    Messages from Society in general:

    Girls should not study engineering. No one is going to hire you if you look different. Education corrupts the mind. You shouldn't live alone or travel. The military is bad. You need me. You don't need me. God doesn't like you IF...

  • How I responded:

    Knowledge is the greatest armor, sword, and shield. Educate yourself on any and all topics that bring you joy. Cultivating a personal image will help create a sense of strength, maybe stability, confidence. Education will also make sense of larger life questions about who we are, what we like, and how to operate in a diverse world. If you don't want to educate, following happiness of any sort has similar results.

Experiences and challenges that shaped me

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  • I've been so broke it's a shame. Being willing to do odd jobs has helped me respond to life and make money until I can get on my feet. It's not always pretty but focusing on the big picture or goal helped get me through.

  • I've taken recreational drugs and highly addictive ones. If you are taking them and something in you says it's not right you have to make big changes. First you have to want to. Then change your friends or where you live for new habits.

  • No one in my family has college experience. Get to know teachers that want to see you succeed. Start talking to academic advisers even if you don't plan on going to that college. Just start talking and tell people you need help.

  • I went from out as gay to transgender. My family and friends stopped talking to me for years. I traveled alone and tried a lot of lifestyles to find out who I was. Eventually my confidence grew and so did my family and friend relationships.