Brenaia Blue (September 2022)

Brenaia Blue (she/her), L&S College AdviserHeadshot of a smiling person with bright red lipstick and long braids.

What does your program, unit, or division do on campus?

To provide compassionate support and guidance for students to proactively build upon their academic and personal background, empowering them as they navigate their UC Berkeley experience.

Describe your job in five words:

Love. Guidance. Advocacy. Support. Challenging. 

Why Berkeley?

I was raised in East Oakland and South Berkeley, and growing up I frequented Berkeley’s campus. A lot of family members and friends graduated from Cal (myself from UCLA), and the campus community feels like home. It’s important for me to support students from my same communities, and for them to feel supported and a sense of belonging and community to survive and thrive at Berkeley. Also, being that I am competitive, I am attracted to working at the number one public institution in the world.

Over your career, what are some of the things that have helped you move to the next level and to new opportunities?

My masters degree in Counseling propelled me to work in higher education where I started as a College Adviser Intern at CED, and L&S Advising where I have been for nine years where change is constant creating new duties and opportunities to grow professionally. Additionally, having two outstanding women leaders, Susan Hagstrom and Roseanne Fong, who get to know and support staff, has propelled my academic advising career. They model strong leadership, love, creativity, and hire and build excellent and diverse staff that has all contributed to my strengths, passions, enjoying where I work, and the drive for longevity in my office to make a large and positive impact on campus and on students.

I started my career in education at the age of 29 at College Track, a non-profit organization whose focus is on supporting and preparing first generation and low income students for college and beyond with programming that systematically removes barriers to college completion. There, I witnessed how consistent and strong programming, committed and driven students, as well as caring and dedicated staff helps students achieve goals of college admissions and completion. That experience coupled with my advising experiences at Cal has evolved into me earning an Equity Champion in Excellence in Advising Award (2021).

What motivates you to do your best work?

Strong leadership and my supportive Supervisor (Mecca Shakoor-Cook) who believes in and supports staff. As I stated, I am competitive; if staff are provided opportunities to specialize in areas that best fit them that they enjoy and can use their creative talents, and in turn produce great work, that motivates me to also do my best work and love what I am doing. Working on projects I care deeply about that focus on student populations that represent communities I come from such as athletes and underrepresented student populations motivates me in doing my best work. Lastly, students motivate me daily, and I ‘go hard’ for them because of their experiences, background, and how hard they work to survive and thrive at Cal.

What is an interesting or little-known fact about you?

I count the days until I am an empty nester, and as a single-mother I give my all to my three thriving children.

What are you most looking forward to this year?

Moving into my house!