The GSRC is open for drop-ins from 9:30am-4pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, or you can always email one of our staff to set up a meeting.

Click HERE for information on how to connect with us this quarter!

The Graduate Student Resource Center (GSRC) is part of the Graduate Division and is located in the Student Resource Building (Room 1215). In collaboration with Student Affairs, the GSRC houses 4 full-time staff members and 5 part-time graduate student employees who serve UCSB's graduate students and postdocs in a variety of areas. Watch our info video here!


shawn headshot croppedShawn Warner
Pronouns: she/her, they/them
Director of Professional Development

Shawn is a linguist by trade who has worked for many years in job training and program management in both university and nonprofit settings. She began working in the Graduate Division in 2014 while finishing up her PhD in Linguistics at UCSB. As the Director, she oversees the development, implementation, and assessment of career and professional development programming and services for UCSB's graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. She also serves as our campus' Fulbright Fellowship Advisor and as the staff advisor for the Beyond Academia graduate student organization. She is involved in the UCSB Chancellor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and is the southwest regional director for the Graduate Career Consortium. In her spare time, Shawn enjoys consuming way too much pop culture, trying her hand at different sports and dancing activities, and going hiking with her son around Santa Barbara.

Baron squareBaron Haber
Pronouns: he/him
Assistant Director of Professional Development & GradPost Editor

Baron received his PhD in English from UCSB in 2020. During his time as a grad student, he enjoyed working for various programs around campus, including the Arnhold Undergraduate Research Program and the Environmental Humanities Initiative. Before coming to Santa Barbara, Baron received his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois. As Assistant Director, Baron helps organize programming such as Grad Slam, the Beyond Academia Conference, and new student orientation. He also mentors a team of graduate peer advisors and manages GradPost. When he's not working at the GSRC, you can find him running or biking across Santa Barbara, walking his dogs, or chasing after his three-year-old at a city park.


Vay CaoVay Cao
Pronouns: she/her
Graduate Career Consultant

Dr. Cao received her PhD in neuroscience from Brown University and the National Institutes of Health Graduate Partnerships Program. She has spent the last decade working across commercial roles in the biotechnology and healthcare space. She is passionate about professional and career development and has given career development seminars, keynote talks and workshops focused on the needs of PhD and postdoc audiences at top tier academic institutions across the US and internationally. Dr. Cao is the founder of Free the PhD, a career advocacy and training platform specifically geared towards the needs of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Free the PhD is made for PhDs, by PhDs, and has coached hundreds of academics in finding careers that are right for them.


Lana Smith-Hale (on leave Winter 2023)
Pronouns: she/her
Graduate Student Career Counselor

Lana is very pleased to be working as a career counselor with graduate students through a partnership with UCSB's Graduate Division and Career Services. Lana received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and her Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Lana’s career began in the nonprofit world and involved direct service to a variety of populations for the past 9 years. Lana’s passions and interest have culminated in a desire to work with UCSB graduate students to help them find a career that is fulfilling and fits their needs. Lana is available to discuss anything career-related with graduate students, including career exploration, the job search process, CV/resume help, interviewing, and negotiation strategies. Lana cares deeply about making sure students can find happiness in their work and is excited to be a part of the Graduate Division’s efforts to support students. To schedule an appointment with Lana, visit Handshake and select "Career Center," then "Appointments."


Robby Nadler
Pronouns: he/him
Academic, Professional, and Technical Graduate Writing Development Director

Robby joins the GSRC team as our first-ever Academic, Professional, and Technical Graduate Writing Development Director, a full-time position devoted to expanding and improving graduate writing support on our campus. He holds terminal degrees from the University of Montana (M.F.A.) and the University of Georgia (Ph.D.). At the latter, he directed the campus’ 5 writing centers and was responsible for developing the university’s dissertation/thesis boot camps, creating and teaching the university’s graduate writing courses, and transforming the campus writing centers in research units. His research fields focus on nontraditional sites of basic writing, including graduate writing, STEM composition, and writing centers. When not writing, Robby can be found in the gym or engaging his side pursuits as a classically trained pastry chef and baker. To read more about Robby's service, visit our Writing Resources page.


To make an appointment with a peer advisor, please email them directly

Liliana Garcia
Pronouns: she/her
Funding Peer Advisor

Liliana is a doctoral student in the department of education whose research focuses on STEM education. Her research is specifically looking at students’ sense of belonging within STEM courses and how it ultimately affects their motivation within the classroom. She earned her B.S in Physics and obtained a single subject teaching credential through CalTeach at UC Irvine. Liliana enjoys recipe testing for baked goods, dancing Folklorico, and binge-watching some of her favorite shows. Liliana's goal as a peer advisor is to assist fellow graduate students in finding financing options and improving students’ financial literacy while at UCSB. 


Adrienne Tsikewa (not available Winter 2023)
Graduate Programming Assistant

Adrienne is a doctoral candidate in the Linguistics department. Before starting the PhD program at UCSB, she worked as an academic advisor for Student Support Services, a TRiO program, at the University of New Mexico-Gallup. She has also worked in the Adult Basic Education field for several years helping adults earn their high school equivalency diploma. Adrienne earned a BA in Spanish literature from Colorado College and an MA from the University of Arizona in their Native American Language and Linguistics program (NAMA). Adrienne’s research focuses on Native American and Indigenous languages and communities’ efforts to revitalize, reclaim or stabilize their language situation. She is particularly interested in language ideologies, or beliefs and attitudes, that individuals and communities’ have about their respective languages. Her dissertation research focuses on family language practices in a bilingual community.


Dee Dee Hong
Pronouns: she/her
International Peer Advisor

Dee Dee Hong is a doctoral student at the Gevirtz School of Education. Before starting the Ph.D. in Education program at UCSB, Dee Dee worked as a Student Services Specialist in the International Education Center of Santa Monica College, and as a Conduct Coordinator for the Housing Department at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She also has experience working as an English teacher in South Korea, and as a Peace Corps volunteer in the education sector in Indonesia. Dee Dee received a BA in Political Science from UC San Diego and a MA in Higher Education Administration and Policy from Northwestern University. Dee Dee’s research interest is in how multiple, sometimes invisible aspects of students’ lives and identities – such as their immigration status, economic conditions, and sexuality – interact with their engagement in and attitudes toward education. She is passionate about the intersection between culture and education, and how the education system can better foster healthy learning environments that support students’ holistic growth. Currently, she is working on a project that examines how education systems disseminate information about translation and interpretation services for parents.

Felicia Rutland
Pronouns: she/her
Diversity & Outreach Peer Advisor

Felicia Rutland is a doctoral student in the Mechanical Engineering Department, from Philadelphia, PA. Her research interests in structural material synthesis and production developed at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCAT), a Historically Black College/University that is an illustrious example of the institutions UCSB endeavors to collaborate with. While there, she was actively engaged with organizations like the National Society of Black Engineers, NCAT's version of Student Government, and diversity pipeline programs similar to UC-HBCU. Beyond currently working to develop computational tools that complement the design and optimization of advanced material production strategies, Felicia aspires to direct interdisciplinary applied research through equitable and effective collaboration. Through her experiences as an underrepresented human being in many spaces (academia and industry especially), the value of having accessible sponsor- and mentorship was reinforced. So, utilizing intentional partnerships to provide resources that develop those interested in diversifying and increasing their skillset has become a lifelong mission!