‘Face to Face’: Standardizing Student Advising

How Kayton Carter and Stephanie Zarate Help Set Up Aggies For Success

Inside a recording studio, three individuals sit at a round table. From left to right, Stephanie Zarate, Kayton Carter and Chancellor Gary May are seated and laughing in conversation while recording this podcast episode.
Stephanie Zarate and Kayton Carter are this month’s guests on ‘Face to Face With Chancellor May.’ (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

Ask campus staff and faculty the best part about working at UC Davis and a common answer appears: the students. 

This week’s edition of Face to Face With Chancellor May features an interview with two campus leaders – Kayton Carter and Stephanie Zarate – about their roles in increasing advising opportunities for undergraduate Aggies to equip them for their futures. 

Since 2021, Carter has served as executive director of Academic Advising Enrichment, a unit of Undergraduate Education. Its goal is to strengthen the student experience by providing centralized, campus-wide leadership and advocacy for academic advising, since its establishment in 2014. Carter was previously the founding executive director of the Student Affairs Retention Initiatives and the inaugural director of the Center for African American Diaspora Student Success, or CADSS. 

Zarate’s first experiences working with students was at UC Davis as a student assistant with CADSS in 2016. Working with students through such experiences enabled Zarate to discover her professional purpose: “helping other people through education.” She is now the campus global advising and outreach coordinator at the Global Learning Hub within Global Affairs.

In an open conversation, hear Carter and Zarate describe to Chancellor Gary S. May how their personal journeys through higher education help inform the work they do on campus today. 

Purple graphic with text "Face to Face with Chancellor May"

Carter recalls attending six community colleges before getting accepted into UC Berkeley and floundering; an advisor helped correct his path. His experiences inform his current role and goal of “standardizing the practice” of advising across a decentralized campus like UC Davis by finding the commons threads and emphasizing a holistic advising approach.

For Zarate, she works with students to create “an open-door situation” where they can feel seen and heard. “Being able to get to know the student,” Zarate explains, allows her to “know how I can help them find an opportunity aligning with their interest.” 

Stick around for the Chancellor’s rapid-fire “Hot Seat” round of questions for some last-minute Halloween costume ideas and the surprising reveal of the missing member of the Jackson 5.

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