Meet The Staff

Ruby Bal | Outreach Coordinator 

Ruby Bal

Hello! My name is Ruby Bal (she/her/hers) and I am the Outreach Coordinator in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Dean’s Office. My family and I immigrated from Hong Kong when I was very young and I grew up in the Bay Area and later moved to Elk Grove. I was a first generation college student and am a proud alumni of UC Davis, graduating with a B.S. in Human Development. As a student, I tried to maximize my experience at UC Davis by engaging with the campus through various opportunities outside of the lecture hall. A few highlights from my undergraduate time at UC Davis are: working with the UC Davis Orientation Program, working as a research assistant at the Center for Mind and Brain, volunteering in a student-run clinic, and joining a professional pre-health sorority. I also loved hanging out at the CoHo, going to the farmers market, and biking everywhere! As the Outreach Coordinator, I am excited to share my love for UC Davis with prospective and incoming students and their families. I also hope to assist them in any way I can to ease their transition to the University. In my free time, I enjoy jamming to some good music, traveling to new places, reading, and spending time with friends and family! 


Alina Bara | Academic Advisor

Alina BaraHi everyone, my name is Alina (she/her/hers) and I am one of the Academic Counselor in the Dean’s Office. I was born in Transylvania, Romania, and I immigrated to the United States about fifteen years ago. I am a proud first generation alumna from Sacramento State, where I double majored in Finance and Human Resources. Having to learn how to navigate the complicated US school system as an international student paved the way for me getting a job in advising. I love my job because I get to work with amazing students and support them to achieve their academic and personal goals. I love pandas, chocolate and Thai food. I love to travel and I love being outside. I am an avid soccer fan - over the weekend I religiously watch the Barclays Premier League and the Spanish La Liga soccer. I am a HUGE FC Barcelona fan and I consider myself lucky for seeing my favorite team, on multiple occasions, playing at the Camp Nou Stadium in Barcelona. Stop by 150 Mrak anytime, I’d love to meet you!


Lili Bynes | Academic Advisor

Lili BynesHello my name is Lili Bynes – I’m an Academic Counselor in the Dean’s Office. I use she/her/hers pronouns. Before relocating to Northern Cali I grew up in San Diego county. A program called AVID, in high school, helped me get accepted to CSU Chico where I completed a B.S. in Health Science. As an undergraduate I was both an EOP peer advisor and an Orientation leader. Initially I went to work as a Health Educator focusing in HIV prevention and anti-tobacco work. THEN – I decided on a career change when a mentor presented an unexpected opportunity for me to get back to academic advising! In my time with the UC I have worked with students from the point of undergraduate admission all the way through graduation. Outside of work I love spending time with my family. We enjoy taking little adventures together which include our ongoing search for San Diego style Mexican food and we squeeze in a visit to the beach whenever we can. A couple tips I share with students and friends include #1 value the importance of self-care - physical and emotional health are equally important and #2 speak positive thoughts – my office has lots of positive sayings posted on the walls and I encourage students to post motivational messages around themselves too! Come visit me in the Dean’s Office – let’s talk about tacos and the beach! If we have time, we’ll talk about your grades too 


Vien Cantorna | Undergraduate Program Assistant  

Vien CantornaHi, my name is Vien Cantorna and I am the Undergraduate Academic Programs Assistant in the Dean’s Office. My family and I immigrated from Vietnam when I was just 7 years old. I grew up in the Bay Area but have now settled in Sacramento since graduating from UC Davis. Ever since the 5th grade, I knew I wanted to attend UC Davis, where I doubled majored in Sociology with an emphasis in Organizational Studies and Asian American Studies. When I’m not working, I spend the majority of my time with my toddler, Liam. He is definitely at a fun age and, as cliché as it is to say…I am loving every minute of it! Please come by the Dean’s Office, I’ll be more than happy to assist you with your academic questions! 


Leslie Charlton | First Year Academic Advisor   

Hi, my name is Leslie Charlton (she/her/hers) and I am passionate about college student success and identity development, as well as social justice in higher education. I am a Bay Area Native, and earned my BA in English Literature in 1991 from the University of California, Berkeley.  I earned a Master’s (1997) and PhD in Education (2003) from the University of California, Berkeley as well.   Over the span of my career, I has served as an academic advisor, faculty member, and researcher and loves working with students.  In my spare time, I enjoy hiking and watching football with my partner Mike and our two young children.


Hong Dao | Academic Advisor 

Hong DaoHi everyone! My name is Hong Dao (she/her/hers) and I am one of the Front Desk Advisor in the Dean’s Office. I was born and raised in Sacramento, CA and am still living in Sacramento! I graduated from UC Davis in June 2010 with Bachelor of Science in Clinical Nutrition (Go Aggies!) and got my Master of Arts in Higher Education Leadership at CSUS in May 2016 (Go Hornets!). During my free time, I enjoy going to the gym, being outdoors, and hanging out with my family and friends. One of my bucket list items is to travel to a new place each year! Don't be stranger--please stop by the front desk and say hello.



Sue Ebeler | Associate Dean

Sue EbelerHi! My name is Sue Ebeler. I am a Professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Academic Programs (UAP) in CA&ES. My research involves flavor chemistry and analytical chemistry and I study the compounds in foods and beverages that impact flavor perception. I teach several classes—including VEN 3—so maybe I will see you in class sometime! As Associate Dean the best part of my job is that I get to work with amazing students, faculty, and staff—I learn something new from them every day and they inspire me to always want to do more to support the success of all our students. In my free time I like to read, travel, hike, and spend time with my family and our new dog, Kira.


Corrine "Co" Hawes | Outreach Program Coordinator 

Corrine "Co" HawesSalutations! My name is Corrine Hawes (she/her/hers) and I am the Student Leadership Program Coordinator in the Dean’s Office. I go by “Co” and like to put myself in the same category as Adele, Cher, Madonna, etc. I am originally from Connecticut, did my undergrad at the University of Rhode Island (Go Rams) where I earned a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Leadership, my master’s degree at UConn (Go Huskies) in Higher Education and Student Affairs, and was most recently living in South Carolina working at the University of South Carolina (Go Gamecocks). Super pumped to be at UC Davis (Go Ags!) and appreciate the chance to connect with students through leadership skills and occasionally prank my coworkers. I am the advisor of the Aggie Ambassadors and if you’re not involved with Aggie Ambassadors then you’re missing out. Just kidding…kind of. When I’m not at work, I am usually cuddling with my cat, Flomar, singing karaoke, eating pizza, or watching reality tv.


Brad Horton | International Academic Advisor

Brad HortonHello everyone. My name is Brad Horton and I am the International Academic Counselor in the CAES. I am an Illinois native and I received my Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Northwestern. I have been a part of the UC Davis advising community for over ten years, having previously worked as the undergraduate program officer in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science. Prior to joining UC Davis, I lived and worked in a village outside of Tokyo, Japan, teaching English to middle school students and adults. I promote a balanced approach to education, encouraging students to explore their interests both in the classroom and out. When not advising students, I enjoy cooking, snowboarding, hiking, and travel.


Jennifer Jackson | Institutional Research Analyst 

Jennifer JacksonMy name is Jennifer Jackson, and I am the Academic Program Analyst for the CA&ES Dean’s Office. I am from Paradise, California, a small town in Northern California near Chico. I came to UC Davis as an undergrad and played Club Volleyball and completed a B.S. in Exercise Biology with a minor in Psychology. As a student I also worked for UC Davis Orientation and helped to welcome brand new students to campus. One of my favorite parts of campus is the Dairy Research and Teaching Facility and I enjoy visiting the cows. As the Academic Program Analyst in our office, I assist our Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs, Sue Ebeler, and examine data about our college and majors. I am also frequently at the events that the CA&ES Dean’s Office puts on for our students to help out and meet students. Outside of the office, I spend my time playing volleyball, hiking, and I also enjoy going to the movies. 


Honora Knopp | Academic Advisor

Honora KnoppHi Fellow Aggies: My name is Honora Knopp, I am one of the Academic Advisors in the Dean’s Office. I use she /her/hers pronouns. As an undergrad I was a transfer student. I worked very hard to transfer to Cal Poly Pomona (Go Broncos !) where I completed a B.A. in Political Science and then went to University of La Verne (Go Leos !) and completed a M.S. in Leadership & Management. At Cal Poly Pomona, I was an Resident Advisor and had wonderful leadership and social justice learning opportunities that cultivated my passion for working with students like you ! I am a proud auntie of 2 nephews Logan and Carson and enjoy our time together. I enjoy hiking, paddle boarding, reading, discussing spirituality and the ultimate activity of BRUNCH. Please stop by the office and say hello – I hope you have a fantastic year! 


Joe Lee | Academic Advisor

Joe LeeMy name is Joe and I am one of the academic counselors in the CA&ES Dean’s Office.  I was born in Santa Cruz, California and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains.  I was a first generation college student and I am a proud alum of UC Davis, graduating with a B.A. in History and a Minor in Education.  As an advisor, I hope to mentor students as they consider their interests and prepare for life after graduation.  I recognize that graduation is an important milestone, but the goals that students develop incorporate what they hope to become after they graduate.  I appreciate the opportunity to hear student’s goals and aspirations and enjoy working collaboratively alongside students to help them achieve their goals.  When I’m outside my office, I enjoy spending time with the Aggie Ambassadors, our college student leadership and outreach organization and meeting future UC Davis Aggies at various recruitment events.  I am also a liaison between our college and the California Agricultural Teachers’ Association and have the pleasure to work with tremendous high school teachers and community college faculty helping Future Farmers of America (FFA) students transition and navigate life at UC Davis.  Outside of work, my wife Marie and I enjoy going camping and visiting national parks, vacationing with friends, and spending time with family.  I am an avid Bay Area sports fan and try to catch as many games as I can.


Donna Vivar | Director of Advising 

Donna VivarHi, everyone - My name is Donna Vivar (she/hers/her) and I serve as the Advising Director in the Dean’s Office. I immigrated from the Philippines when I was very young and grew up between the here (Sacramento area) and the Bay Area. I did my undergraduate work at UC Berkeley with a major in American Studies, emphasis in Public Health Education and got my master’s degree from Harvard University in Higher Education Administration. I am passionate about providing equitable resources and opportunities to all students and do whatever I can to support students, advisors, and faculty. I love spending time with my family, eating and trying new restaurants, high intensity interval training/boot camp workouts, and learning more about positive psychology, whole hearted living, self care practices, and social justice issues. I live in West Sac with my partner, daughter Ava, and pug named Jack. Stop by 150 Mrak anytime, I’d love to meet you!


Julie Zech | Academic Advisor

Julie ZechHi, my name is Julie and I am one of the academic counselors in the Dean’s Office. I am a proud alumni of UC Davis (B.S. in Clinical Nutrition). I love my job because I get the opportunity to make a positive impact on students. I understand that it can feel scary for students to make an appointment with the Dean’s Office, so I commit to working with students through a lens of kindness and compassion. On the weekends, I enjoy being outside with friends and family. I am always trying new recipes, finding new hiking trails, traveling to new places and of course – cheering on the Denver Broncos!



More information about our staff can be found on the college directory