First Year and Pre-Major Program (FYPP)

The Pre-Major Advisors

Stephanie Baron (Pre-Health Advising Only)

Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington

Education: B.A. in Communication, Western Washington University and M.Ed. in Student Development Administration, Seattle University

Why I like my job: I love to hear each student’s unique story about their educational and career goals.

Advice for students: Manage your time well and see your advisor often!  If you are pursuing a degree in the health field, make sure you take the time to gain some experience (shadow, volunteer, etc) in your chosen profession and understand the admissions process.  

Favorite restaurant or food: Italian

Favorite book: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Favorite movie: Dead Poet’s Society

Favorite sports team, sport you like to play, or hobby: Watching football, especially the Seattle Seahawks and UW Huskies

Most memorable experience in college: Working as a student in the admissions and orientation office at Western Washington University and talking to prospective students about the institution. 

Favorite outdoor or indoor activity: Skiing


Gail Dunavan

Hometown: Norwalk Connecticut

Education: B.A. in Sociology, Drew University and M.A. in Counseling, Fairfield University.

Why I like my job: I love listening to students' stories and helping them realize and achieve their goals!

Advice for students: When taking general education requirements, try to balance your schedule so you have at least one class each quarter you look forward to taking. This will help you stay focused on courses that may not be as interesting to you.

Favorite restaurant: Mod Pizza

Favorite book: The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch and The Martian by Andy Weir

Favorite movie: The Princess Bride

Favorite Hobby or Activity: Tae Kwon Do (though not currently practicing, I still love to watch my friends!)

Favorite college activity: Study abroad to Spain!

Favorite Washington activity: Outdoor activities include walking, especially by the water and biking on the Sammamish River Trail. I also love to's like meditation for me!


Laura Garinger

Hometown: Wyandotte, Michigan

Education: B.A. Society, Ethics and Human Behavior at University of Washington Bothell

Why I like my job: I like people! I look forward to meeting new people every day and developing relationships with students and co-workers. I like to get to know students so that I can assist them in choosing the path that is the best fit their interests, strengths, and long-term goals. College is so transformational and it is a pleasure to be a part of that experience for our students.

Advice for students: Focus on your interests and think outside the box. I see students flourish when they are engaged with curriculum and activities that are important to them. Figure out what that is and RUN with it! Take risks!!!!

Favorite restaurant or food: La Carte De Oaxaca- Ballard

Favorite book: Changes all the time, but a book that changed my perspective when I was younger was The Catcher in the Rye.

Favorite movie: Anything by Wes Anderson or the Coen brothers

Favorite sports team, sport you like to play, or hobby: I love watching football...Go HAWKS!!!!   I also love to cook.

Most memorable experience in college: Study abroad to Jamaica where I taught 3rd grade in the rural Blue Mountains for a quarter.

Favorite outdoor or indoor activity: I love going to the beach with my family, rain or shine.


Rachael Gilchrist

Hometown: Martinez, California

Education: M.A. English with TESOL Certification, B.A. Hispanic Civilization, A.A. Liberal Arts

Why I like my job: I love helping students realize their dreams.

Advice for students: Take advantage of the activities and resources you have here: the support services, such as the Quantitative Skills Center, to give you an edge, clubs to get you connected and involved, Study abroad to change your life and perspective, Career Services to help prepare for after you graduate, etc.

Favorite restaurant: Café Turko in Fremont

Favorite book: I am an avid book reader- difficult to choose a favorite right now.

Favorite hobbies: I love to experiment with cooking, drink tea, and learn and share about nutrition and health, especially about microbes these days.

Most memorable experience in college: Living and teaching in Spain while I was in graduate school.

Favorite Washington activity: Exploring the Fremont neighborhood- visiting the Troll, the Rocket, taking the chocolate tour at Theos.


Kathy Mitchell 

Hometown: Bellevue, Washington

Education: B.A. Business (University of Minnesota), M.Ed: Education (Arizona State University)

Why I like my job: I love working with students.

Advice for students: Study hard! Get involved!  Have fun!

Favorite restaurant or food: Sushi

Favorite book: The Rosie Project

Favorite movie: Gone Girl

Favorite sports team, sport you like to play, or hobby: Seattle Sounders and Seahawks.

Most memorable experience in college: Taking awesome interesting classes

Favorite outdoor or indoor activity: Yoga


Norm Wright

Hometown: Bremerton, Washington

Education: B.A. Geography at Central Washington University with minors in Mathematics and Environmental Studies; M.Ed in Student Affairs Administration at Western Washington University. I was the first person in my family to attend college.

Why I like my job: I get to meet new people every day and help students move closer to their goals.

Advice for students: The campus is full of people wanting you to succeed. It’s OK to ask for help. Some students believe they are supposed to solve their own problems because they are in college. You only need to ask…the sooner the better.

Favorite restaurant: Most buffets make my list. Pen Thai and Hana Sushi on Main Street Bothell are my local favorites.

Favorite book: Armor by John Steakley

Favorite movie: Toss-up between Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and The Fellowship of the Rings Trilogy

Favorite Hobby or Activity: I enjoy jogging with a personal goal to participate in a 5k event each month.

Favorite college activity: Working as a Resident Assistant and Manager in the Residence Halls. These jobs introduced me to the possibility of a career in higher education.

Favorite Washington activity: Taking in the sites at Pike Place Market