Meet Your Advisors

UC Davis Graduate Studies Academic Services

The Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAA's) provide experienced student services and culturally-competent holistic guidance to graduate students, staff, and faculty.  We advise graduate students on degree and graduation requirements, academic standing & progress, mentorship, policies and procedures, campus resources, and issues escalated beyond the program-level.  We are leaders in the development of student-focused policies, procedures, and programming.  We train and support graduate staff to promote equitable and effective advising throughout the graduate community. 

Who Should Reach Out to the SAA's and Why?

Graduate Students

For questions about program degree requirements, courses, advisors, research, funding, taking a leave, and many other general topics, the best people to contact first are your program Graduate Coordinator and Graduate Advisor(s).  Their contact information is located on each Program Page.  You or your Coordinator and Advisor are always welcome to include the SAA's in the conversation for additional insight and support.  

Graduate Studies SAA's are available as a resource and advocate for students in any situation, but most often when:

  • You are filing your thesis or dissertation.  SAA's are the primary student resource for the filing process and graduation.  
  • You are not sure who to contact and need direction or resources.
  • You are managing a complex situation or conflict.
  • You would feel more comfortable talking to someone outside your grad program.
  • You need in-depth answers about graduate policy, procedure, resources, or navigating the university system.
  • You are experiencing a conflict with a faculty mentor.
  • You are considering changing majors/objectives, and need help planning or connecting with program contacts.
  • You are on academic probation, struggling with progress, or beyond normative time to degree, and want to discuss next steps.
  • You not passed or failed a milestone exam (QE, Comprehensive, Final), or you are being recommended for or appealing disqualification.
  • You have questions about processes related to graduate academic forms.

Graduate Program Staff & Faculty

SAA's work day to day with program staff and faculty, and are available to provide feedback and advice about graduate academic or student issues, assisting students of concern, navigating policy and process (including exception requests), identifying resources, and connecting with the Graduate Studies Associate Deans.  

Contact the Academic Services Team

Email your questions, comments, and concerns to our team inbox - gradservices@ucdavis.edu.

Email the Senior Advisors 

Schedule an Appointment

Want to meet with a Senior Academic Advisor?  Start by scheduling an appointment through the Appointment System.  Select a day/time that fits your sche

Select 'Graduate Studies' in the Offices dropdown, select any of the advisor's schedules, and select an available time that works for you. Please include a brief description about what you'd like to discuss when you schedule.  

Both in-person and remote appointments are available.

SAA Appointment Calendar 


Wallace Woods

Senior Academic Advisor - Wizard

Photo of Wallace woods

Wallace is a Senior Academic Advisor responsible for advising graduate students on degree milestones, Graduate Council and campus policies, graduation requirements, and mentorship issues.  Prior to arriving at Graduate Studies, Wallace was the Graduate Program Coordinator for the Cultural Studies Graduate Group at UC Davis and the Admissions and Curriculum Coordinator for the Master's of Social Work program at CSU Sacramento.  Wallace has a B.S. in Criminal Justice and an M.A. in Workforce Development Leadership from CSUS and is a qualified US Army paratrooper.  Wallace's work/life motto is: everything is fixable and 

Sarah Mooney

Senior Academic Advisor - Primary International Student Advisor

Photo of Sarah Mooney

Sarah is a Senior Academic Advisor responsible for advising graduate students on degree milestones, Graduate Council and campus policies, graduation requirements, and mentorship issues.  Sarah has been at UC Davis since 2010.  Prior to arriving at Graduate Studies, Sarah was an International Academic Advisor in the College of Letters and Science Dean’s Office.  She also served as an International Student Advisor in the Services for International Students & Scholars Office (SISS).  She earned her M.S. degree in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from the University of Dayton and her B.A. degree in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Minnesota.

Samantha Duesdieker

Senior Academic Advisor - Student Parent Liaison

Samantha portrait

Samantha is a Senior Academic Advisor responsible for advising graduate students on degree milestones, Graduate Council and campus policies, graduation requirements, and mentorship issues. Samantha has worked at UC Davis since 2015. Prior to arriving at Graduate Studies, Samantha was an Academic Advisor in the College of Letters and Science Dean’s Office. She also worked for UC Davis School of Law in Admissions and Financial Aid. She earned her M.A. degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from CSU Sacramento and received her B.A. degree from UC Davis in History.