Kimberly Ayala

Director
Senior Academic Counselor
My primary responsibility is to ensure that all U/U students’ academic counseling needs are met, which includes academic preparation, articulation, course scheduling, probation, disqualification, readmission cases and appeals, referrals to other campus resources, monitor student progress and enforce Senate rules and regulations about student progress. In addition, I ensure advisors can answer all student questions, monitor student progress, develop interactive ways to assist students in their transition to UCI and mentor and coach students in developing their leadership skills. I work in close collaboration with curriculum development, discussion leader training, and implementation of the University Studies 1 course for first-year students as well as University Studies 190 and 192.

Personal Biography
Welcome to the UCI Anteater Family!
I was the first in my immediate and extended family to attend college. My high school counselor discouraged me from applying to colleges by saying, “People like you (Mexican-Americans) don’t go to college.” I applied anyway and once here at UCI, I was afraid he might have been right. My first quarter, fall courses were challenging, and I felt alone and overwhelmed. It just took one connection to the Early Academic Outreach Office, during the first quarter of my freshman year and I made friendships and mentors and not only succeeded but thrived!

As a Psychology major here at UCI, I was an active member of the UCI community. For most of my four years, I worked as a student coordinator for the Early Academic Outreach Program assisting low-income and first generation high school, and junior high students learn about the opportunities available to them in college. In addition, I was a Peer Academic Advisor in the School of Social Sciences, an Administrative Intern working in the Dean of Students Office, a member of the University Center Board, worked as an after school counselor for elementary school students, and was the co-chair of the Chicano-Latino Graduation. I kept myself very busy and did not let my grades suffer. I learned the criticality of time management and always making sure that all of my supervisors thought they were my number one priority.

I had a life changing experience while being an “Anteater” and that was to study abroad. I had the opportunity to travel the circumference of the world while studying through a program called Semester At Sea (this travel/study experience still exists, and you can travel the world too!). I wanted to see places that I had studied about and have experiences that I would not have in Southern California, like riding an elephant through the jungle in Sri Lanka or riding a camel while at the pyramids in Egypt. I visited countries, cities, towns and villages that opened my eyes to beauty, opportunity, poverty, the importance of education. I was exposed to many cultures and religions that helped me understand that we all want to have clean water and food, be listened to and to be safe, respected, and loved.

The summer of my senior year, I wanted to be immersed in the sights, sounds, food and culture of one area of the world, so I chose to travel/study in Michoacán, Mexico, where my grandparents were from. The food was amazing, the countryside was lush and green, and the people were eager to share information about themselves and the history of the region. I lived with a family and loved the interaction I had with them. I can still remember the smells at the mercado and still have a few of the Christmas ornaments that I purchased from local artisans. As a bonus, this is where I met my husband (that’s another story).

My husband and I are the proud parents of two adult children and a four legged fur grandbaby named Bailey. As a family, we love to travel, go beach camping, go to the movies and socialize with family and friends. My self-care includes photography, watching old classic movies and creating colorful mandalas.

he best part of working in the Undergraduate/Undeclared (UU) Advising Office at UCI is getting to know YOU our Undeclared Students! Come to the UU Advising Office to discuss your concerns and share with us your successes. Throughout our lives we will all experience challenges and the skills and knowledge you will learn in college will assist you the rest of your life. I’ve been on campus for decades, and I love assisting our UU Students transition to UCI and giving students strategies for academic success, personal success, developing your academic and career goals, and seeing you grow as an Anteater. In the four or five years you’re here at UCI, you will transform into scholars, leaders, researchers, citizens of the world and you will create networks that will teach, coach and mentor you for years to come! ZOT! ZOT! ZOT!