In general, all our advisers work with beginning students exploring all majors. In addition, most of our advisers have special expertise in one or more areas of study.
As an undergraduate I studied at the University of Vermont and discovered that I really enjoyed a few of the political science I took in my sophmore year. I enjoyed looking at different perspectives on local and world events and developing my own informed understanding along with writing research papers. I eventually decide on that for my major and as you can see, I now have a career that is largely unrelated to the study of politics. However, the skills I learned in college still translate and helped me along the way to a job I love.
I graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Economics and a minor in Geography. Both were disciplines I settled on shortly after taking introductory courses in each area and finding the subjects fascinating. I was also fortunate enough to participate in a CHID focus group entitled Rethinking the University which examined higher education through the eyes of the undergraduate participants. It was this experience that changed how I viewed higher education and started me on the path toward advising.
Despite thoroughly enjoying my work as an undergraduate I ran off and got a law degree after graduation seeking a steady paycheck. The legal profession didn’t stick and after bouncing around various jobs I had the good fortune of working at the University of Pennsylvania in their College House System. This rekindled my desire to work with students helping them find meaning in their undergraduate studies—something I have the good fortune of doing on a daily basis back at UW.
I went to Simpson College in Indianola, IA determined to double major in English and Music. I was soon overwhelmed by the time commitments of course work, ensembles, and lessons and eventually chose to earn a Bachelor’s in Vocal Performance and to only minor in English. My long-term goal was to work with college students as a music professor, so I continued my education at Louisiana State University and earned a Master’s in Vocal Performance. While at LSU, I had the chance to work as a tutor in the Academic Center for Student Athletes. I was all set to start my doctorate and then received an offer for a yearlong singing gig with an opera company. I was burnt out with academia, so I packed my bags. After finishing the gig, I floundered wondering if I should return to school, continue to pursue a full-time singing career, or what else I should do with my life. My experience as a tutor helped me discover that there were other ways to work with college students beyond being a professor. I applied for a job at Colorado Mesa University as an Academic Advisor and haven’t looked back! I am excited to help you navigate your Husky Experience and to support you as you discover your strengths and interests!
I started my college life as an international and first-generation college student at a small community college in Idaho. Despite tons of excited preparation, I still found myself sitting in the wrong classroom on my very first day. My undergraduate experience continued at Western Washington University and was a series of mistakes, lessons learned, friends, adventures, explorations and challenges. At Western, I focused on Special Education, Elementary Education and Psychology, but it was through my work as an RA in the residence halls, that I found my passion for working with college students. I spent several years as a special education teacher and got my Master’s degree in Education, but was ultimately drawn back to college students through professional advising. I have been working in advising since 2002 and have never looked back!
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I studied Zoology and Genetics as an undergraduate student at Oregon State University. I went immediately into a graduate program and earned a Master’s degree in Radiation Biology. I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do with my life at this point, but thought it might be worthwhile to actually be employed, so I took a year-long program through the Veteran’s Hospital in Portland, OR and received my certification as a Nuclear Medicine Technologist. I worked in that capacity for a bit, and when my wife returned to school, I took a position as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab investigating the circular-dichroism properties of proteins (no nuclear medicine jobs were open in the area). Based upon my background, I took the next logical step, went back to school, and earned a PhD in Horticulture. I taught introductory chemistry, biology and biochemistry at two colleges in western New York State, did a one year stint as a high school biology teacher in Buffalo, NY, and taught at a few colleges in the Seattle area. I have been an academic adviser for almost 15 years.
I have always been drawn to a profession in education, as teaching feeds my soul. Early on thought I would teach writing and literature at the high school level. However, after completing a B.A. in English at Oklahoma State University, followed by an M.A. in Composition & Rhetoric Studies, my eyes turned towards the university professoriate; but my path had still more twists in it. My first full-time job, in advising and student success, introduced me to the world of student services, and I found my calling. I believe very strongly in education as a tool of social uplift and equity, and find deep satisfaction helping students pursue their passions while overcoming personal and societal challenges. With a Ph.D. in Higher Education Policy & Administration, my career has provided me with a unique perspective on enacting policies and programs to serve and engage students, while simultaneously identifying and addressing systemic barriers to success.
Having spent most of my career at colleges and universities in Oklahoma, my family and I were very excited to move to Seattle in 2013, where I took a position as Director of University Retention Initiatives at Seattle University. A few years later, my desire to return to more direct work in support of students led me to my role as a Lead Adviser here at UW. I am very excited to bring my passion and experience to UW students, and I look forward to working with you.
I began my undergraduate degree at UC Santa Barbara completely undecided about what I wanted to study. Eventually I settled on Sociology and later, after work and volunteer experience, I went on to pursue my Master’s in Public Administration here at the UW. I have been working to support students’ educational aspirations and dreams since 2006. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be an adviser, but through my education and experiences I found my passion for supporting people as they navigate the higher education system. I look forward to working with you as you explore your own interests and passions and gain important experiences that will help you achieve your goals and become the person you want to be.
I’m a recent University of Washington graduate, born and raised in Seattle. As a first-generation college student, my Husky Experience was what led me to pursue a career as an Academic Adviser. Initially, I was an intended Psychology major, which eventually led me to my true passion in studying Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies (GWSS). With the guidance of an adviser, I had the privilege to study abroad in Rome and intern for the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity where I assisted in instructing an Educational Opportunity Program Freshmen Scholars Academy seminar. My purpose is to provide you with the necessary resources to help you navigate your undergraduate career. Ultimately, helping you find your one true passion, the same way my adviser helped me find mine.
As an undergraduate I studied at the University of New Mexico and eventually found myself in the grasp of philosophy (major) and comparative religion (minor). My initial impulse to focus on business didn't survive my first serious encounter with the ancient Greeks. After college I came to Seattle and did my graduate and doctoral work in the UW College of Education emphasizing philosophy of education. My current research deals with questions of meaning, purpose, and the conditions for undergraduate education, especially in the research university.
When I was a first year undergraduate at the UW, I thought I was going to triple major in Psychology, Journalism, and Theater and that I would become a reporter at The Seattle Times. Only problem was, once I started taking classes toward my intended major, I felt miserable because what I thought was going to be a great fit turned out not to be right for me. After reflecting and chatting with trusted advisers, I realized I had all these reasons why I was avoiding internships related to my original major and career ideas, and that I chose over and over to take positions volunteering and working with college students. I chose to read, write, and think about higher education, and I loved it.
I earned a B.A. in Communication and discovered along the way how my education was leading me to study how schools like the UW work and serve students. Fast forward, and after earning my Master’s in Education at the University of Texas at Austin, I am back at the UW doing what I love- helping students navigate higher education, be successful, and forge their path toward meaningful learning, work, and fulfillment. I look forward to working with you as you explore your own interests, and discover your direction and potential.
Natalia Esquivel Silva
I was born and raised in Eastern Washington, but Seattle is my new home! As an undergraduate, I was a part of the College Assistant Migrant Program and was very involved with OMAD's Student Ambassador Program where I did a lot of work with college access. After a lot of uncertainty as a first-generation student, I decided to major in ECO ( Education, Communities, and Organizations) because of my passion for education and equity. Now, my goal is to support students academic achievement as they navigate college and plan their next steps. The strong relationships I built in college have been the stepping stones to get to where I am today. As an academic adviser, I help students understand the academic and non-academic preparation needed to succeed in college and their future in whichever field student's desire. For fun, I like to hike, sing, and find new places to eat in Seattle!
Having thoroughly enjoyed my two anthropology courses at Whatcom Community College, I chose to major in anthropology when I transferred to Iowa State University. Still interested in Anthropology, I earned a Master of Arts degree in anthropology at Western Washington University, focusing on Ethnohistory and Native American Studies. That there are so many ways of life and types of knowledge, experience and perspective are insights I draw upon every day as an academic adviser. After several years I returned to school. My doctoral dissertation, in the UW College of Education, focused on how staff, from a variety of educational institutions, approach this multifaceted business of undergraduate academic advising.
Being a first-generation college student, things did not come easy for me. I took advantage of the resources available to me and worked hard to become a good student. I still struggle with asking for help. I challenge you to be better at that than I am!
I encourage you to be patient with yourself. Learning who we are and what we want is a process. Along with other advisers, faculty and staff, I'm here to help you get settled, figure out the system and get the most out of your experience at the University of Washington!
Our student staff are junior and senior UW students who receive extensive, ongoing training from professional advisers and generally have one to two years of experience working with students as an orientation leader, resident adviser, or peer adviser.