L&S Staff Spotlight: Khia Brunelle

October 16, 2023

Meet Khia Brunelle, L&S Coordinator of Educational Policy (CEP). Khia started her career at UC Berkeley as an L&S advisor in 2011 and became the Lead Advisor in the Department of Economics in 2014. Since 2018, Khia has served as the Coordinator of Educational Policy for the College of Letters & Science.

What brought you to UC Berkeley? 

I was born and raised in San Diego. I started college as a transfer student and received my B.A. degree in psychology from UC San Diego. After completing my Master’s degree in College Counseling from the University of San Diego, I worked as a College Counselor at Revelle College, UC San Diego. I was looking for other opportunities within the UC system, which led me to Berkeley Letters and Science. I was excited to move to northern CA because I have always loved the Bay Area – there is always something fun to do. On a more lighthearted note, I’m not a big fan of driving so I really liked taking BART to work every day.

What does “a day in the life” look like for you at work?

My work involves regular meetings with the committees that I serve as staff analyst, but there is some flexibility to reserve time in my day to work on projects, write reports and letters, and research policies. I start the day by answering as many emails as I can before my meetings. If I don’t have a lot of meetings during the day, I’ll start working on my projects. It is also important to me to keep my bCal calendar up to date. I set up meetings with colleagues across campus to collaborate on projects, but I also like to invite colleagues from around campus to add a meeting to my calendar if they need my help and would like to consult with me in a Zoom appointment (or in person when I am on campus). Sometimes talking through a plan, project, or proposal in a half-hour meeting is much easier than writing an email. It also gives us a chance to connect and have a conversation.

What do you most enjoy about your job?

I’ve always enjoyed “working behind the scenes." I value the work that I do because it can impact change, and I am inspired and motivated by my L&S colleagues because everyone strives to create positive change for our students. 

I like the flexibility and autonomy I have with managing my own schedule, but I also have structure built into my role because I am the staff analyst for three faculty committees: The L&S Executive Committee (EC), The Council of Undergraduate Deans (CUD), and The Courses of Instruction and Academic Planning (CAP ) Committee (also known as L&S’s Seven-Course breadth committee). A lot of what I do revolves around the meeting schedule and projects of these committees.

My favorite part of my job is collaborating with colleagues in L&S and across campus. My projects will often change depending on the priorities of the faculty committees, but I like the constant change because it keeps my work interesting. As a former transfer student, the transfer student population holds a special place in my heart, and I find that I will often gravitate to projects that involve easing the transition of transfer students to Berkeley L&S. 

What are ways that staff could support your work or collaborate with you?

When I became CEP, one of my goals was to increase the visibility of this role, and make myself available for staff to consult on policies and regulations. As a former student adviser, I know that there is a lot of information to keep in mind when advising students, and that policies will often change, which can be very overwhelming. It would help if staff (especially new staff) thought of me as one of their resources, and my hope is that colleagues will continue to reach out to me if they need assistance or clarification. 

Can you share something you're currently learning and/or would like to learn?

I'd like to learn how to garden well. Gardening is a lot of fun (pulling weeds is a great stress reliever!), and I enjoy seeing the dramatic improvement even after 30 minutes of work. I have been dabbling with gardening for the last couple of years, and my method involves a lot of trial and error, but I would like to learn more about the basics of gardening. In 2021, my family moved into a new home with mature trees that produce a lot of fruits (oranges, pomelos, avocados, pomegranates, lemons, and grapefruits), and plenty of roses. I love my garden, and I’m hoping that I can not only maintain it, but also introduce new flowers and plants that my family can enjoy. 

Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you or your work?

In spring 2023, I was accepted to the prestigious systemwide UC Women's Initiative professional development program. The program helped me grapple with my experience with imposter syndrome, and I think the most important takeaway from the program was learning how to be comfortable with talking about myself, and more importantly, advocating for myself. For example, when approached to be interviewed for the “Staff Spotlight”, I hesitated and almost turned it down. After completing the UCWI, I feel more comfortable with situations that are typically uncomfortable for me. Answering these interview questions took a lot of courage and energy, but I wanted to challenge myself, and more importantly, connect with the L&S community. As a Filipino-American working in student services, it would have meant a lot when I was starting as a new adviser to see someone like me doing this work. So I hope, through this interview, that I have encouraged someone to look into the UCWI program and apply, have given you more insight into who I am, and my work in L&S, and that you feel welcome to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Headshot of Khia Brunelle
I believe that being an L&S College Adviser and an Undergraduate Major Adviser prepared me enormously for my current role, and I'm grateful that my work experiences at UC Berkeley have largely served the L&S community.
Khia Brunelle, L&S Coordinator of Educational Policy