Joanna King

Job title: 
L&S College Adviser
Math & Physical Sciences

Title: L&S College Adviser


Math and Physical Sciences

Make an appointment:

To make a virtual appointment with this adviser, book here.

Joined the L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising in:



Portland Community College, Associate in General Studies, 2011

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Bachelor of Arts in Religion, 2013

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Master of Arts in Religion with an emphasis in Korean and Japanese Buddhism, 2016

North Carolina State University, Graduate Certificate in Teaching, Training and Educational Technology, 2018

North Carolina State University, Graduate Certificate in Counselor Education, 2022

How did you get here?

I am a non-traditional, first generation college student who didn't even know that this field existed when I entered my four-year university at 26. My senior year of undergrad, I took a placement as an Resident Assistant and really enjoyed being part of building these short-term but impactful communities for nine months out of the year. When I transitioned to grad school, I continued to work as a Residential Director and found a real connection to working in university administration and helping students reach their potential. After graduation, I moved on to North Carolina State University where I worked in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies advising students in their majors and minors within the department for six years. And now I am here at Cal in a state and city and working at a school that I always dreamed about as a kid.

What is your advising philosophy?

I see every meeting as an opportunity for us to collaborate, for me to get to know you and be known by you, recognizing your backgrounds, unique life experiences, and the value systems that you walk into my office (or start a Zoom call) with. I strive to strengthen everyone's dignity, potential, and unique character as connected to your academic pursuits and life goals.

Most unusual job you ever had?

The summer I turned 15, I worked at the Alaska Ship & Dry Dock on the refurbishment and upgrade of the MV Matanuska. My job was to stamp out these metal tags for the electricians and clean up the deck. I did this for about 12 hours a day for a few months until the electrical upgrades were completed.

About me:

I come from farmers' stock. Both of my parents grew up on small independent family farms in Ohio. My dad, dairy. My mom, tobacco. When my parents left home, they decided they wanted something different for themselves and my dad went into industrial painting which led us to move around a lot. Most of my formative years were spent in travel trailers and mobile homes and I lost count of the number of schools I went to, but I remember always wanting to go to college. I left home (Alaska at the time) at 18 and moved to Oregon to give community college a shot with the hope of one day becoming a midwife, but the amount of hours I was working to pay my own way made it extremely difficult for me to succeed academically and I went fully into the workforce for a couple of years. I took a lot of odd jobs: I had small acting roles in Oregon, I was an in-home personal care attendant for a disabled individual in Boston, I ran a new age gift shop and taught yoga/tai chi in Sedona, and I was a substitute teacher up in Alaska just to name a few. After I turned 23 and could file my FAFSA as an independent adult, I went back to that community college in Oregon and got my associates, then my bachelors, then my masters. I hope one day to get a doctorate and to be published in fiction. My takeaway from all of this is that life can take you in all sorts of directions, none of which you ever expect when you first set out into the world, but it's an adventure worth making.