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.
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, I felt like there wasn't enough time. I wanted a taste of everything — Native American poetry, chemistry, anthropology, history — but I eventually settled on a Biology major (after several changes of mind). I wasn't really done with school when I graduated, so I went on to earn a Master's in Entomology. Yes, that's bug science, although I studied butterflies, which are in a class by themselves, if you ask me. After that, I got a PhD in Ecology from Penn State and taught biology for about 12 years, first at Penn State and then at West Virginia University. I've been advising for almost three years, and I cherish the opportunity to help students achieve their goals and get the most out of their educational experience.
Cheri D. Kau
I entered college at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) unsure of my major or career aspirations, but quickly found an interest and strength in Computer Science. However, as a sophomore, I found myself enjoying and exploring deeper topics in a Family Resources course than any computer science topic, leading me to apply to UHM’s Peer Advisor program instead of internships in software development, and when registration approached, I sought out additional courses in Family Resources thinking it would be a good option to balance out my programming course load and with the support of my advisor and mentors, I eventually changed my computer science major to a minor, completed a bachelors in Family Resources, and went on to pursue a Masters in Educational Administration (Higher Education) at UHM while working as an advisor for Life Science undergraduates. I have been fortunate to conduct research during both degrees on life planning in advising in hopes to help students to see their breadth of opportunities during and after college for their current and future selves! I look forward to working with students to clarify and achieve their goals while charting their Husky experience!
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.
As an undergraduate, I studied at the University of Michigan and planned on a major in Political Science, but found myself increasingly disinterested in the department’s quantitative focus. In my junior year, I was lucky to enroll in a Political Psychology course, and realized that this was a much better fit with my interests. I worked with the professor to build an Individualized Concentration Program in Political Psychology that incorporated my political science coursework, as well as the courses I had completed in Psychology, Sociology and Women’s Studies. After graduation, I volunteered for a year at an orphanage in rural Honduras, and taught English as a Second Language in an under-resourced elementary school in Washington, DC as a Teach for America corps member. I returned to the University of Michigan 10 years later to complete a Master of Science degree in Environmental Resource Policy & Behavior, where my research focused on the hallmarks of successful volunteer engagement programs. Before coming to UW, I directed the Ready, Set Transfer! program at the Seattle Community Colleges, helping students transfer to universities to continue their studies in Science and Engineering. My career path has taken a lot of turns along the way, and I am excited to be helping UW students play to their strengths and explore all of their career options.
Daniel S. Feetham
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!
I graduated from the UW with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and did my graduate work in higher education at Seattle University, earning a Master of Arts in Education. Since then, I have been a counselor, teacher and adviser in the community college system prior to joining the UW advising staff. Like many undergrad students that I work with here at the UW, I changed my mind about a major multiple times before discovering a passion for sociology that was sparked by several amazing professors.
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 started my undergraduate experience by juggling full-time work with full-time scholarship at a local community college. When I transferred to a four-year program in rural California, I took a research position to pay the bills and fell in love with digital mapping technology. Encouraged by faculty and peer mentors, I transitioned to a graduate program in the department of Geography at the UW. My research focused on the intersection between activism, big data, and digital geographies. As a graduate student though, another job unexpectedly won me over—academic advising! My true passion lies with helping you navigate the twists and turns of the university while remaining open to new and exciting opportunities that might be down a path unintended.
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.
As a first-generation college student and community college transfer, my first days at Michigan State University were amazing and overwhelming. The campus was almost 8 square miles (really!) and there were three times as students there as there were people from my home town—although navigating that huge campus was actually easier than explaining my English major to my parents. With the help of internships, studying abroad, and fantastic English faculty I crafted a great “Spartan experience” that lead to a career in counseling and academic advising, and graduate work at UW in Educational Leadership. My research is focused on resiliency and I love that my job allows me to work with students as they navigate their Husky Experience!
As I began my college career at Oregon State University, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to major in. I had a plan in place for how I was going to get there and was prepared to stick to it. The week before my first term at OSU, I changed my schedule and added what seemed to be a random leadership course. What I didn’t know at the time was that this unexpected class would completely change my career path and introduce me to Student Affairs, a field I didn’t know existed prior to entering college. I went on to graduate with a degree in Human Development and Family Sciences before returning to Seattle for my Master’s in Student Development Administration from Seattle University. My experience at OSU taught me the importance of allowing myself to discover and follow my passion, despite what I had planned for my future. I look forward to working with you as you explore the unknown, push yourself out of your comfort zone, and navigate the often messy process that is college and life.
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 freshman year and was quickly scrapped after my first serious encounter with the ancient Greeks. I did my graduate work here at the University of Washington emphasizing the philosophy of education and the nature of higher education. My current research deals with the meaning and purpose of university education, something you might be wondering about yourself!
I entered college thinking I had a dilemma: I loved science, I loved studying culture, and I loved exploring literature. How would I choose a major? Even at my small, liberal arts college in Montana I found so many courses that ignited my curiosity, like Sin and Grace in Theology & Literature and Science Writing. I soon learned that my “predicament” could produce an interdisciplinary major and thesis, as well as an incredible four years. After graduation—inspired by my professor mentors and my service learning experience—I spent a year volunteering on the Northern Cheyenne reservation in eastern Montana. Later I pursued a Master’s degree in English with a focus on American Indian literature. Since 2010 I have found a home in higher education where I continue to be fascinated by a variety of subjects. I especially enjoy directing this energy in support of UW students’ educational interests and goals!
Having really enjoyed my two anthropology courses at Whatcom Community College, I chose to major in anthropology when I transferred to Iowa State University. Because I wanted to learn more, 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. 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.
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.