Advising Appointment

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Meet Your Advising Team

Kristi Weddige

Director of CSM Student Services; Academic and Pre-Health Professions Advisor 

Head shot of advisor Kristi Weddige in front of plants Top 10 Clifton Strengths

Achiever, Empathy, Focus, Harmony, Developer, Responsibility, Maximizer, Self-Assurance, Woo, Individualization

Advising Philosophy

My goal as your advisor is to establish an authentic connection with you based on mutual trust and respect, that allows for open, honest, nonjudgmental, and meaningful interaction. I want you to feel safe and comfortable sharing whatever is on your mind -be it academic or personal. I will actively listen to you and your questions and concerns and communicate accurate and relevant information tailored to you and your current situation. 

Advising, for me, is not simply dispensing how-to information and navigating registration software and degree requirements. Although that is an important aspect of academic advising, I also believe it can entail a collaborative and supportive partnership where we can discuss your future goals, work through problems and brainstorm solutions together that will ideally encourage you to take steps toward personal growth and self-direction.  

I approach our time together from a holistic and solution-focused framework. I will ask questions that I hope will appropriately support, challenge you when needed, and ultimately empower you to set goals for yourself so that you can achieve what you desire on your educational path. 

I strongly believe in your ability to be a capable, competent, and resilient individual who possesses the skills to be successful in earning your college degree and moving forward with your career aspirations. I look forward to partnering with you over the next few years on your personal educational journey! 

Camille O'Bryant, Ph.D.

Associate Dean for Student Success, Welfare and Issues of Diversity and Inclusion;
Professor of Kinesiology and Public Health

Top 5 Clifton Strengths

Includer, Connectedness, Arranger, Developer, Positivity

Advising Philosophy

My late Uncle John O’Bryant (former Vice President for Student Affairs at Northeastern University) always said, “If you are not here [higher education] to serve the students, you are in the wrong place." This statement serves as the foundation for my philosophy of advising. The notion of service is a key component in how I approach my advising role. However, this does not mean that I am the only person doing any “work” in the advising relationship. My philosophy of advising is and always will be student-centered. This means that the choices or recommendations I make while advising students must explicitly relate to their needs, hopes, goals, and aspirations. My ultimate goal as an educator and advisor is to serve as a facilitator of student learning and to empower students to gain more self-determination and self-confidence in their quest to earn a college degree. When I meet with students for advising appointments, one of my first questions is, “How can I help you?" Then my next question tends to be something like, “What information do you already know about your current academic progress?" Then I work with the student to figure out important next “steps” and try to finish up the appointment with tasks that the student is able to carry out on their own. What is really important to me is that students know they can always return with additional questions and updates as needed. Placing the students’ interests, fears, questions, hopes, and desires at the center of the advising relationship enables me to figure out the best options to offer them in response to their questions or needs. This approach also enables me to help students set SMART goals in preparation for their next steps or appointment. I value the opportunity to meet students where they are and truly enjoy helping guide them along their journey through college.

Anya Bergman

Academic and Pre-Health Professions Advisor 

Top 5 Clifton Strengths

Developer, Empathy, Harmony, Restorative, Connectedness

Advising Philosophy

I view my academic advisor role as that of an educator, a coach, a mentor and as a supporter. The framework of my partnership with students is built upon respect, honesty, genuine friendliness, being nonjudgmental and informed about the students, the college and the university that I serve. My approach is holistically supportive with unconditional positive regard and is action-oriented. I work to support the entire student, not just what I can see or hear them saying. I anticipate the needs and assistance that a student might not know to ask for or is hesitant to mention. I also employ a challenge and support style - challenging students to take control of and be accountable for their educational, personal and career decisions and supporting them along the way, through information, providing appropriate tools, check-ins and praise.

I treat each student as a unique individual with a unique set of circumstances and needs. Taking the time to connect with each student helps me better understand them as a person and their academic and professional goals – which in turn, gives me information to better support them. I see the potential and progress in each of my students. Through challenging them to evaluate whether their current actions are in sync with their aspirations, we work to set goals to help them experience personal, educational and/or professional success. Each time we meet, I look for and acknowledge growth that has taken place and goals that have been met. Then encouraging the student to look for new goals to be set. I believe this method encourages students to be empowered by their mini-successes en route to achieving their bigger life goals, while regularly reevaluating where they want to “go” and what they can do to “get there”.

Laura Wilson

Academic and Pre-Health Professions Advisor 

Top 5 Clifton Strengths

Relator, Strategic, Futuristic, Achiever, Maximizer

Advising Philosophy

My goal as an advisor is to create a relationship with a foundation built on trust and safety, one where students feel comfortable being open, honest, and accountable. I believe in a holistic approach that honors and respects all areas of a person’s life. We are individuals with unique views, perspectives, and beliefs. I will challenge you to understand yourself completely, to set attainable educational, personal, and career goals, and encourage you to celebrate your accomplishments.

My approach is positive and solution focused. It is important to assess and evaluate areas of the past that have been difficult, but it is also important to bring the information we have gained through our experiences and apply our knowledge to future situations. When we engage in a process together, I will openly bring awareness to areas that need attention, and areas of existing strength. I ask questions such as, “What do you think was different about this situation,” to find opportunities. When looking toward the future with understanding, hope, inspiration, and vision, anything is possible.  

As a resource, I keep myself informed of campus policies and procedures. I am honest, and will provide and seek accurate answers, and I will encourage you to do the same. I will make the best recommendations I can with your goals in mind. I am your student advocate. When trusted with information regarding an area that needs attention or improvement, I will work to escalate your concerns and advocate for change.

I believe in being mindful of how our actions, words, and behaviors impact others. I use my ability to be objective to help others see situations more clearly. I will help you be responsible for your actions, your future, and for meeting your goals. I strive to be at my best, and to help others reach their best, knowing that the definition of our best will grow as we grow together. I will celebrate your achievements with you along the way. I am inspired and hope to be inspiring.

Alma Gama

NEW Academic and Pre-Health Professions Advisor

Photo of Alma Gama SmilingTop 5 Clifton Strengths

Positivity, Arranger, Developer, Achiever, Responsibility

Advising Philosophy

My advising approach is centered on connecting with students beyond the academic lens and on understanding and developing the whole person. I strive to create a welcoming space where diverse students can receive empathic and culturally responsive support tailored to their individual needs and goals. My goal is to guide students to increase their self-awareness and develop strong self-efficacy to positively influence their academics and all aspects of their lives.

As an advisor it is important for me to create trusting, meaningful connections and ensure students feel like I am a supportive mentor on campus. My process to address individual student needs is strategic, personalized, and proactive. I prioritize ensuring students have access to equitable resources and I will advocate to dismantle traditional higher education systems that obstruct the advancement of diverse students. A formerly undocumented student myself, advisors were instrumental in my journey navigating higher education. For this reason, I also take on an asset-based approach to celebrate the positive contributions that students' diverse backgrounds bring to campus. Each student belongs on this campus and the diversity each student brings is thoughtfully considered when we meet to evaluate academic, career and personal goals.

I am committed to providing high quality guidance counseling to retain, engage and empower all students. I will continue this commitment by putting counseling theory into practice, doing my own self-work, and continuously educating myself on the latest research in education, student support services, and equity focused counseling strategies.

Ryan Lau

Student Affairs Analyst

Photo of Ryan Lau in Front of TreesTop 5 Clifton Strengths

Harmony, Learner, Responsibility, Arranger, Analytical

Advising Philosophy

I value academia and am delighted every day to be a member of Cal Poly’s diverse university community. Working with students, faculty, and administrators across the variety of disciplines in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, the College of Engineering and now the College of Science and Mathematics (CSM) has been engrossing. I completed the Educational Leadership and Administration Program (ELAP) at Cal Poly’s School of Education in 2011. The ELAP program confirmed a hunch I had that the dynamic, ever-evolving higher education environment, where deep dives into each degree discipline with accompanying research, challenging professional growth, and continuous improvement are embraced and no single day or moment is the same, was the career path I had been searching for.

The cyclical nature of the academic year and educational programming in general allows us the opportunity to constantly update and retool our events, workshops and course offerings, based on continuous feedback collected from participants. As the Student Affairs Analyst in the College of Science and Mathematics, I currently serve students and faculty across seven departments and eleven Bachelor of Science degrees and support the CSM academic advisors in their interactions with their advisees, as well. I am grateful to be a member of our honest, open, professional, accessible and innovative small team. Our team of staff and student employees empowers each other, jumps in when a need is urgent, and shares real-time updates in the appropriate/organized Slack channel categories, so that we may serve our students, faculty, department chairs and deans attentively and effectively.

Working in harmony with each other allows us to maintain an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere in-person and virtually. I value the regular check-ins, openness and holistic problem-solving we often embark on together. The CSM Student Services open communication culture and willingness to triage all time-sensitive matters, compliments the Learn by Doing education our Cal Poly students are receiving alongside their peers, thanks to the faculty-scholar model. Connecting with a faculty mentor or professional advisor outside of the classroom, can elevate student discovery and learning in the classroom and enrich their career readiness.

We are here to fill the gaps, wherein a policy or process is not serving an individual or a population, we will take action and engage with our colleagues on the matter. I enjoy observing and understanding the communication and learning styles of each student and colleague so that I may interact and connect with them in the ways they prefer, to accomplish concrete and meaningful change together. Starting the professional relationship in this way allows each individual to learn and build a mutual understanding of how to best support each other. Treating others the way they want to be treated by first seeing them as they see themselves requires careful listening, curiosity and time. Understanding their passions allows me to comprehend their identity and cultural background and gain new perspectives and approaches to serve others in the future.

Jana Johnstone

Administrative Support Coordinator 
Rasha Demeter Art ImageTop 5 Clifton Strengths

Empathy, Harmony, Deliberative, Discipline, Context

 Advising Philosophy

As a recent graduate of the Bailey College of Science and Mathematics, I truly understand the challenge each student faces on their academic journey. I acknowledge that navigating through college courses can be difficult, and as a result, each student deserves undivided advice and support during this time. It is my goal to make sure each student gets the help they need in an efficient and timely manner. My previous professional experience in administrative roles and with various student-focused tools allows me to excel at this task, and effectively support the needs of both the students in the Bailey College of Science and Mathematics as well as the Academic Advisors who guide them.


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