AGS Campus Communication Director, Amanda Brown, recently had the chance to interview our new graduate counselor, Elizabeth Dunn!!

What types of services do you provide for graduate students?  “I, along with my co-counselor Phong Luong, offer collaborative, one-on-one meeting opportunities for UCI students enrolled in masters, PhD, and post-doctoral programs for topics like academic support, student/faculty working relationships, stress management, communication skills, work/life balance, time management techniques, and additionally suggest referrals to other campus and community resources as needed. We serve as a valuable resource to seek out when you’re not sure where to go on campus, or if you just need an objective sounding board to lend an ear and work with you to find an effective solution.”


What attracted you to UCI?  “Coming from a previous institution in Chicago where diversity was a key initiative, I wanted to ensure that the next university I worked for was on the forefront for this as well, in addition to being socially conscious and committed to mental health & wellness and UCI fit the bill on all fronts!  Also, being a born & bred Midwesterner, the allure of continual sunshine certainly factored into my decision as well!”


What are some fun facts about you?  “When I am not on UCI’s campus, you will usually find me indoor rock climbing at one of the local gyms or if it’s the weekend, climbing somewhere outdoors.  I have been doing it for 3 ½ years now and can most definitely say it has changed my life for the better!  I would love to make it on a big wall in Yosemite National Park someday (and yes, I would be using a rope!).  I am also an avid Trader Joe’s enthusiast, so it is slightly dangerous to have one right across the street in University Center!”


What are your plans for your new position?  “Graduate school is a time of transition, transformation, and self-actualization, all of which are incredibly powerful, yet exhausting experiences.  But, self-care and finding purpose & passion outside of this primary focus are just as important and my plans in this position include also helping students uncover their potential for success outside of their academic program.  Sometimes this can be as simple as reestablishing some routine and mastery to basic daily needs, like sleep and diet, and often it can involve reintroducing previous hobbies and passions into one’s life, or finding completely new ones to explore!  Time spent at UCI should result in more than just a degree, it can be a revolutionary chapter in one’s life that prepares you for even more fulfilling chapters in the future.”


Any good books/articles or other resources for graduate students in their academic journey?  “One of the best books I read while in graduate school was “The Definitive Book of Body Language” because it teaches you not only the importance of learning how to read nonverbal cues, but also forces you to think about how you may be presenting yourself in social situations.  Also, anything written by Brené Brown is a guaranteed home-run, my favorite being “Daring Greatly”.  I have a small personal library of great books in my office that I often loan to students, come visit me if you’re looking for a great new book to read!”