Maria DePalma

Job title: 
L&S Assistant Director

Title: Assistant Director, L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising

About Maria

Joined the L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising in:
May 2000

What is your approach to advising?
I hope to assist students in developing solid decision-making skills that empower them to achieve their educational goals. I do so by encouraging and guiding students as they define and develop realistic and attainable educational plans.

MA Counseling Psychology at Springfield College, Massachusetts

BA Psychology/Women's Studies SUNY New Paltz

How did you get here?
I followed my passion. Early on in my undergraduate career, I realized that I valued education and loved being able to help others. I started by working and doing internships at the Career and Counseling Centers and as a peer leader at new student orientations at my alma mater. After grad school, I lived in Boston and worked with bright and talented teens who just didn't fit the mold at their high schools and weren't achieving their goals. The school I worked at helped students sculpt their individualized learning plans and succeed. Eventually, I wanted to return to working in higher ed. and move to the west coast. Given those goals, what better place to land than UC Berkeley!

What's your favorite part of your job?
I love finding ways to help students explore the opportunities that exist at Cal.

What's the best class you've ever taken?
I took a Psych class called Social Animal. It was basically a Social Psych class where the elements of group dynamics were taught experientially, in a very Lord of the Flies manner. The professor put up a schedule of meeting times and rooms for both small and large group sessions and then did nothing else – forcing the group to come up with structure and leadership on its own. It was fascinating.

What advice do you have for L&S students in general?
Be sure to go beyond satisfying course requirements. Find classes that allow you to fully indulge your intellectual curiosity.
Higher education succeeds if it instills in you a desire to pursue fails if you learn simply in order to get a degree.

About me:
I'm originally an East Coaster and have lived in both NY and Boston. But I'm now a confirmed Californian. I love being outdoors, cooking, reading, films, and traveling and spending time with my family.