Meet Your Advisors

UC Davis Graduate Studies Academic Services

The Graduate Studies Senior Academic Advisors (SAAs) 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 and 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.

Visit our Virtual Front Desk Fridays 10am-12pm! (or make an appointment below)

Visit Our Virtual Front Desk

Who Should Reach Out to the SAAs 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 SAAs in the conversation for additional insight and support.

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

  • You are filing your thesis or dissertation. SAAs 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 and 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 have not passed/failed a milestone exam (QE, Comprehensive, Final), or you are being recommended for or appealing a disqualification.
  • You have questions about processes related to graduate academic forms.

Graduate Program Staff and Faculty

SAAs 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' concerns, navigating policies and processes (including exception requests), identifying resources, and connecting with the Graduate Studies Associate Deans.  

Contact the Academic Services Team

Every graduate program has a specific SAA assigned to them. Please refer to the link below to find your SAA.

Find Your Senior Advisor's Contact Info Here 

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 schedule.

Select "Graduate Studies" in the Offices drop-down, 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 

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. 


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.