Staff Spotlight: Jenna Bague-Sampson, Biological Sciences Student Affairs

Jenna Bague-Sampson, Senior Advisor for Program Development for the School of Biological Sciences Student Affairs, is passionate about mentoring and encouraging students in pursuit of their goals. In her role, Jenna also supports Biological Sciences Campuswide Honors Collegium (CHC) students. “I love how motivated Bio Sci CHC students are, especially when they are passionate about the research they are involved in, and share this with me,” she explains. Before becoming a Senior Advisor, Jenna served as an academic advisor and supervised peer academic advisors. These experiences, plus her own involvement while a student as a Peer Academic Advisor and counselor for foster youth, fed her passion and led her to a now 21-year career in student advising. 

Throughout her career, Jenna has focused on UCI and its students, “…What drew me to wanting to work at UCI are some of the things that I loved about this campus as an undergraduate – the friendliness of students; a genuine sense that faculty and staff supported students; and the sense of a smaller community at a large university.”

Jenna’s role in Biological Sciences Student Affairs allows her to support students in several ways. As an academic advisor, Jenna helps undergraduate students navigate University resources and policies so that they may create a successful and fulfilling college experience. She also advises them regarding academic plans, course selection, and as a pre-health advisor, demystifies the preparation and processes for pursuing health professions, and supports post-baccalaureate students seeking careers in these professions. 

Jenna notes that the most rewarding part of her role as Director of Program Development is the chance to incorporate her University experience and knowledge in helping to improve students’ experiences with classes, majors, and navigating academic and career paths. Additionally, one of Jenna’s passions is working collaboratively with other professionals to assist students. She remarks, “Honestly, I am most proud of being a collaborator with other professionals in Biological Sciences Student Affairs and the work we do in support of our students.”

In her spare time, Jenna enjoys crocheting—her pandemic-adopted hobby—reading fiction, watching nature and animal documentaries, and hanging out with her wife and their cats. When asked what piece of advice she would like to share with honors students, Jenna states, “Connect with fellow students on campus – whether based on academics, hobbies, or geographical (campus) locale – and build your community of support from the get-go. It is likely that these relationships will help you through (and/or contribute to) your adventures in college.”