2022 Excellence in Advising & Student Services Awards Recipients

On behalf of Berkeley’s Council on Advising and Student Services and our awards planning committee, we are pleased to announce the recipients of our 2020 and 2022Excellence in Advising and Student Services Awards and to express our sincere gratitude to all our nominees for their outstanding contributions. These awards recognize the positive and innovative impact our recipients have on student learning, engagement, and belonging on the Berkeley campus. Congratulations to each of the award recipients listed below on this important achievement. The selection committee had a pool of very talented individuals from which to choose, and we wish to acknowledge our many nominators and contributors to this challenging selection process. 

Together, we will recognize our award recipients at the awards ceremony on Monday, December 12, at 3:30 p.m. PST. Thank you to ALL advising and student services staff for making Berkeley a better place for students and for all of us!

Recipients who wish to submit a photo for inclusion: Please email advisingmatters@berkeley.edu with your 150p x 150p headshot in .jpg or .png format. 

Outstanding Advising or Student Services Administrator, Director, or Manager

Andrea Rex, Assistant Dean for Student Services, Graduate Division: "She started the GSAO Coordinating Committee, creating a collaborative space for advisors and  to support grad advising; Meets weekly with the leaders of her units to coordinate and cross pollinate; Hosts GSAO monthly meeting; listens and is responsive to acad depts’ input; Sits in union negotiations with grad student employees, supporting depts and students moving to the new contract; Cochairs the Enterprise Applications Student Admin governance body, championing innovative grad student systems; Advocates strongly for her staff and steps in deftly when escalation is needed; Promotes partnership among the campus’ graduate programs and the Graduate Division; Centers diversity, equity, belonging, inclusion, and the grad student experience."

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Quin Hussey, Assistant Dean for Students, School of Public Health: "Quin is an advising, empathy, and advocacy superstar. Her door isalways open to ALL of the students, staff, and faculty in the School of Public Health. She goes above and beyond to make sure students are heard and feel like they belong. She truly cares and works every single day to make our school a better and more welcoming place. On the personal side, Quin has been one of my biggest supporters and friends. She listens and believes you when you say you are struggling and more importantly, does something about it! She has helped me and our other members of the student services team become better self-advocates and to feel appreciated."

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Sarah Maxim, Vice-Chair, Center for Southeast Asia Studies: "Sarah is the Vice Chair of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley and supports the programming of the center’s aims in promoting campus-wide and international scholarly circuits. Sarah’s work ethic and engagement with students is a model for an outstanding advisor and administrator, felt immensely over the years by Filipinx graduate students in her support for the Filipinx & Philippine Studies Working Group. The ability to have a collective and critically engage with Philippine and Filipinx American studies scholarship has been greatly supported by her support and service."

Outstanding Advisor or Student Services Staff 

Headshot of smiling person with long dark hair.Amanda Gill, Associate Director, Evening & Weekend MBA Program, Haas School of Business: "I started out thinking I wanted to get an MBA but realized there was a different professional trajectory I needed to explore. Amanda recommended practices like journaling and reflection to help me identify my goals. One of the analogies she shared with me - about a totem pole of priorities - still resonates with me this day. Amanda walked me through different academic options and encouraged me to listen to what I found interesting and fit my motivations. In particular, she nudged me to complete an independent study option with my game theory professor; today, I am a PhD student in economics at UC Berkeley and my game theory professor is now my dissertation advisor!"

Heather Grothjan, Undergraduate Advisor and the College Evaluator, College of Environmental Design (CED): "Heather  demonstrates effective and thoughtful leadership within the CED Advising Team, and our team has greatly benefited from her innovative, collaborative, and mission focused approach. Heather exemplifies our student-centered value and continuously provides support for students that focuses on their needs. Heather creates a welcoming environment for all students, and they respond remarkably well as she encourages their exploration. Heather’s work helps carry CED Advising’s mission of supporting students holistically as they earn their degree, as well as advocates for just and equitable policies and practices."

Kate Chase, Program Coordinator & Graduate Advisor, QB3-Berkeley: "Kate Chase is the graduate program coordinator and advisor for three graduate programs: the Biophysics Grad Group (BGG), the Computational Biology PhD program and Comp Bio DE—both part of the Center for Computational Biology (CCB). She is the sole staff member supporting BGG, and supports the CCB DE and PhD as a domain expert and its only staff advisor. For our community, she defines GSAO. Kate is dedicated to the goals of these graduate programs: to train the next generation of researchers, immersing students in our vibrant research community. Kate nurtures our communities, recognizing that belonging is the lifeblood of a flourishing program and its students."

Headshot of smiling person with short dark hair.Lois Koch, Graduate Student Affairs Officer, Department of Architecture: "Since 1985 Lois Koch, a Graduate Student Affairs Officer in the Department of Architecture, has advised thousands of graduate students across 5 different graduate programs: 2 academic degree programs (M.S. and Ph.D.) and 3 M.Arch. programs (1, 2, and 3 years). She has served them all with energy, compassion, and utter competence. To these students, Lois has been a steadfast presence, sympathetic ear, provider of balanced advice, a vital conduit between students and faculty, and a haven. Her excellence is both administrative and humane. She guides students through the trickiest parts of graduate education. Her combination of institutional knowledge, administrative skill, commitment, and compassion is second to none."

Temple Byars, College Scheduler & Enrollment Manager, Rausser College of Natural Resources Office of Instruction & Student Affairs: "Temple has provided a much-needed and greatly-appreciated level of coordination and management for course scheduling and enrollment. She has revolutionized the scheduling and enrollment experience for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, during shelter-in-place, she founded and facilitated weekly check-in opportunities for the community of campus schedulers who found their jobs change dramatically with remote education. She built community even when we could not physically come together.  She exemplifies what it is to be a team player, which often allows for her talents to be of use beyond the scope of her job. Temple does all of this while meeting the deadlines of her primary job responsibilities and producing quality work."

Outstanding New Advisor or Student Services Staff

Hailey Lopez, Senior Student Affairs Case Manager, Center for Support and Intervention: "As a non-clinical case manager in the Center for Support and Intervention, Hailey and her work supporting students in distress have reached a campuswide level of influence in a short period of time for her advocacy for student autonomy, compassion for students, and guidance provided to staff and faculty that are themselves supporting students in crisis. As Hailey’s direct team, we have the distinct privilege of seeing her deep care for students on a daily basis, watched her manage 1,278 cases at Berkeley herself since she started and consult on hundreds more, and have also seen her rise to the position of Senior Case Manager in her short time here while also helping to guide her colleagues–Hailey is so deserving of this recognition!"

Jordan Elmowitz, Integrative Biology and Molecular & Cell Biology Academic Advisor, Bio Divisional Services:"Jordan Elmowitz is an excellent IB/MCB academic advisor. He always puts students first and makes them feel welcomed into our community. When serving such a large student population, it's hard to make students feel seen and heard. Jordan doesn’t just give them the right information and help them choose their courses, but he makes them feel like they truly belong in our department. In addition to his advising, Jordan also works with our students on probation, coordinates our major events, and supports our student clubs. With each student meeting and email, he builds a community of trust and support within MCB and IB. His empathy, compassion, and drive are shining examples of what makes an excellent advisor and leader."

Saj Jobanputra, Care Manager, Basic Needs Center: "In the last two years, Saj has gone above and beyond to support our student community. With her emphasis on comprehensive student care, Saj has been changing students’ lives by supporting their housing and financial needs. In addition to the individual support, Saj has pushed the Basic Needs Center’s services to be more equitable and simplify processes for students experiencing basic needs insecurity. Saj not only changes the lives of the students she supports, but also the teams that she’s a part of. Her commitment to collaboration and authenticity has engendered an incredible team environment and network of on- and off-campus partnerships. Saj has transformed how we can best serve students with their food, housing, and financial needs."

Equity Champion

Headshot of smiling person with long dark hair.Leanna Lewis, Associate Director, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program, UC Berkeley School of Public Health: "Leanna Lewis is a fierce advocate and authentic support of non-traditional and underrepresented students in the Joint Medical Program. She is deeply intentional in her words and actions as a leader and advisor, and goes out of her way to advocate for students in the program. She has co-created lasting peer support and anti-racist praxis curriculum in this program, impacting the culture and growth of the program. Her work is aligned with principles of equity and justice and her actions reflect this commitment. Not only is she a student advocate, but she pushes us, as medical students, to think strategically about how to become advocates committed to anti-racism in medicine."

Marcia Garcia, Community Service Coordinator, Basic Needs Center: "Marcia exemplifies the Equity Champion award through her commitment to directly addressing food insecurity within our campus community and beyond. Marcia has transformed the culture around CalFresh and tremendously increased the number of students eligible to receive benefits. Specifically for graduate students, Marcia has made massive strides towards improving food security through the increase of eligible programs and grad-focused pop-up pantries. Marcia’s passion for equity is not only admired by her student staff, but showcased in her program, campus, and system-level efforts towards combating food insecurity."

Excellence in Data and/or Research-Driven Student Services

Judy Smithson, Director of Student Services & Advising, On-Campus/Online MPH Program, Berkeley Public Health: "Judy is is one of the key leaders on our GSAO team. We often seek her advice on complex student matters and she always has a response that is rooted in data and research driven student service models. She does this by integrating the data tools that we have at our disposal along with keen student advising to ensure that her students are getting the most up to date and effective advising. Judy exemplifies excellence in data driven student services and is deeply deserving of this award."

Service to the Advising and Student Services Community

Headshot of smiling person with short dark hair and a mustache.Jake Tracy, Business Systems Analyst, Campus Applications & Data - Student Information Systems: "Jake Tracy is the lead Business Systems Analyst supporting advising in Campus Solutions (CS) & CalCentral at SIS. His system expertise and drive to improve user experience for students and advisors ensures his work is a cornerstone in the world of advising tools. Per Susan Cass, “Jake is indispensable in developing & advancing advising functions in CS. He is an invaluable partner in ensuring functions such as the Academic Progress Report remain updated. We owe a great deal of debt to him for his exemplary service in training our new analyst. He is a joy to work with, whether it is troubleshooting an issue or imagining & executing an improvement; he is always fully engaged, eager to improve user experience, and thorough in his solutions.”

Center for Support and Intervention Team

  • James Kato, Interim Assistant Dean of Students and Director

  • Becca Gardner, Collegiate Recovery Program Coordinator

  • Eric Lavi, Case Manager

  • Hailey Lopez, Senior Case Manager

  • Emilie Mitchell, Violence Prevention & Education Program Coordinator

  • Katie Morrison-White, Case Manager

"We are pleased to nominate the staff in the Center for Support & Intervention (CSI) for their Outstanding Service to the Advising and Student Services Community. Their team embodies “service to our community,” bringing thoughtful intention, empathy, and integrity in their work supporting students in distress, coordinating violence prevention and collegiate recovery programs, and providing collaborative services to staff and faculty. They are a trusted resource, often supporting advisors in negotiating highly sensitive, nuanced and complex student situations. When you call CSI you leave the conversation feeling more reassured in your capabilities than before, and our community is stronger and healthier because of their work."

Equity-Oriented Advising and Coaching Program Team

  • Andrew Estrada Phuong, Chancellor's Fellow, Consultant and Program Developer in Division of Equity and Inclusion,and Former Head Graduate Student Instructor for Computer Science 370 and 375, PhD candidate in Berkeley School of Education
  • Christopher Hunn, Faculty Lecturer and Director of Undergraduate Instruction in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science
  • Colin Gerker-Junsay, Co-Chair, Cal Coaching Network (CCN) and Senior Talent Strategy Partner, People & Organization Development, Berkeley People & Culture
  • Denzil Streete, Chief of Staff & Assistant Dean for Diversity, Graduate Division
  • Donna Vivar, Manager of Advising Strategy + Training 
  • Fabrizio D. Mejia, Associate Vice Chancellor-Student Equity and Success & Interim Chief of Staff, Division of Equity and Inclusion
  • Heather Yaden, Learning Specialist, Disabled Students’ Program
  • Isela Peña-Rager, Co-Chair, Cal Coaching Network (CCN) and Assistant Director, L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising 
  • Jimmy Vo, FormerLab Safety Specialist, Office of Environment, Health & Safety
  • Dr. Judy Nguyen, Stanford Education PhD student in the Developmental and Psychological Sciences Program with a cross-specialization in Learning Sciences and Technology Design. BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley; Master’s degree in Technology, Innovation, and Education from Harvard. 
  • Katrina Pantig Naval, Learning and Development Strategist; Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB), People and Culture 
  • Larry Jackson,  Interim Sr. Associate Director for Counseling & Programs, Career Center
  • Layla Naranjo, Interim Executive Director of Administration, Division of Student Affairs,
  • Liza Schlosser-Olroyd, Communications Specialist, Research, Teaching, and Learning (RTL)
  • Sunny Lee, Dean of Students, Division of Student Affairs
  • Susan Hagstrom, former Manager of Advising Strategy + Training
  • Syrhonda Calhoun, Advising Strategy + Training Events & Office Support Coordinator
  • Ying Kuah, Founder, Cal Coaching Network (CCN) and Lead, People & Organization Development, People & Culture 
  • Marcos Antonio Ramos, Academic Counselor, Student Support Services (SSS) in Centers for Educational Equity & Excellence (CE3)
  • Dr. Fan Huang, Former UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar
  • Dr. Richard J. Patz, Distinguished Research Advisor, Berkeley Evaluation and Assessment Research Center; Math Instructor in Fall Program for Freshmen
  • Dr. Richard McCallum, Lecturer (Retired) in Berkeley School of Education

 building a bridge to success

"The Equity-Oriented Advising & Coaching program equips staff with adaptive equity-oriented pedagogies (AEP) that increase student success and belonging. The team trained staff to use student data to examine their biases and reduce equity barriers. An advisor sums up the program’s impact: “The EOAC program is the best program for creating transformative anti-racist, equity champions. The program team strengthens our practices and services that impact tens of thousands of students. I, other advisors, and instructors have found that [AEP] strategies are the most effective at dramatically improving all students’ success, confidence, and sense of belonging. The program's data-driven AEP framework should be the framework for the world.”

Team Advising Innovation

Engineering Student Services Advising Team 

  • Catherine Bouvier Dang, Academic AdvisorGroup picture of the Engineering Student Services team

  • Megan Braverman, Academic Advisor

  • Olivia Chan, Academic Advisor

  • Andrea Mejia Valencia, Academic Advisor

  • Mayra Rivera, Academic Advisor

  • Nicole Rucinski, Academic Advisor

  • Shareena Samson, Academic Advisor

  • Kendra Van Nyhuis, Academic Advisor

  • Joey Wong, Academic Advisor

"In Fall 2021, it was evident that many engineering students, particularly those from populations underrepresented in STEM, were struggling academically because of disruptions of the pandemic. The ESS advising team brainstormed a holistic set of steps, some one-time, and others ongoing, to meet these students where they are, and break down barriers to success. A survey taken by incoming frosh students for F22 has yielded actionable data to help these students enter Berkeley ready to thrive academically."

Educational Opportunity Program and Transfer Student Center Success Counselors

  • Jasmine Kamariotis, HSI Success Counselor, Transfer Student Center

  • Sandra Arias, HSI Success Counselor, EOP

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"Jasmine and Sandra have been doing life-changing work in supporting Latinx students at Cal. Through a strong collaboration as HSI Student Success Counselors at the Transfer Student Center and the Educational Opportunity Program, their work has supported both incoming and current students so that they can thrive as a Latinx student at Berkeley. They both have stepped into new roles that required innovation and commitment and have overachieved in the impact of their work. One of their biggest strengths is meeting students where they are and creating spaces where students feel safe and heard. Their work is key to the Latinx thriving efforts on campus and supporting the campus goal to reach a Hispanic Serving Institution status."

 Physics and Astronomy Discovery Trailblazing Team

  • Austin Hedeman, Academic Coordinator, Physics

  • Claudia Trujillo, Director of Student Services, Physics

  • Kathleen Cooney, Undergraduate Advisor, Physics

  • Anna Hilke, Undergraduate Advisor, Physics

  • Christian Natividad, Student Tutor Recruiter and Graduate Advisor, Physics

  • Brianna Franklin, Undergraduate Advisor, Astronomy

"By cross-fertilizing ideas, coordinating efforts, and communicating to students and all members of the community with professionalism and care, the Physics & Astronomy Advising Staff have spearheaded a variety of new Discovery programs for students, including: (1) a new partnership with the Student Learning Center and the MPS Dean to recruit, train, and organize Student Peer Tutors serving all our majors; (2) connecting undergraduates to research opportunities and doubling the number of stipends paid to undergraduate researchers; (3) organizing workshops aimed to prepare students for careers in academia, industry, and finance; and (4) empowering Student Groups, including Transfers, to create welcoming and supportive environments."

Outstanding Peer Advisor, Mentor, Counselor, or Ambassador

Aylin Figueroa Uribe, Peer Advisor, Engineering Student Services: "Aylin has been a peer advisor in COE since Fall 2020. Her work ethic andHeadshot of smiling person with long dark hair.commitment in helping her peers has been outstanding. She always steps up to help out with administrative tasks without hesitation and anytime we need a volunteer she willingly offers her time. Every semester since she has worked at COE she always takes the initiative to work with her colleagues on the peer advising schedule for the semester and gives superb 1:1 advising to her peers. Other engineering college advisors and staff, including staff in our Dean’s office have commented how helpful Aylin has been in helping answer student questions and support events outside of peer advising as well."

Headshot of smiling person with shoulder-length dark hair.Marisol Vasquez, Lead Peer Advisor, Cal Student Central: "Marisol Vasquez is a Peer Advisor at Cal Student Central and is a huge asset to our team and the University as a whole. Her professionalism, hard work, and dedication led to her becoming our Senior Peer Advisor. Marisol's patience, understanding, and excellent advising skills are top tier and make her more than deserving of the Outstanding Peer Advisor award!"

Headshot of smiling person with long dark hair.Renata Jorge, Peer Advisor (Tech Industry), Haas MBA Career Management Group: "Renata Jorge pivoted from Consulting in Brazil to Tech industry and interned with Microsoft last summer. As a Haas Peer Advisor for the Technology industry, Renata provides advice on career search strategy, industry/function advice, resume reviews, and mock interviews with students.  She said it has been extremely fulfilling for her, as just in the past 1.5 months, she has been able to advise more than 18 Haas MBA students who are looking to pivot into the Tech industry.  She has received numerous excellent and positive feedback from many of her Haas MBA mentees, and this has kept her energized to continue delivering her best as a Haas MBA CMG Peer Advisor.  She exemplifies the very best of the Haas "Beyond Yourself" leadership principle."

Varsha Madapoosi, Community Resilience Associate, Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC): "Varsha’s dedication to supporting her fellow students inHeadshot of smiling person with long dark hair. reaching their potential is consistently inspiring.  Varsha has held many positions on campus including ASUC Eco Senator, SERC Community Resilience Associate, Cal Zero Waste Staff Assistant, HADSA Internship & Communications Coordinator and Resident Assistant. Varsha has an incredible history of identifying opportunities to improve environmental justice and sustainability literacy on campus and recruiting students to join her in these efforts. She is currently overseeing Housing & Dining’s sustainability internship program and a SERC membership team, and providing mentorship for this year’s Eco Senator and SCEC (Students of Color Environmental Collective) mentorship program."