The Grad Graduate Affairs Office (GAO) is tasked with supporting both graduate student trainees enrolled onto the Ph.D program and Faculty members of the Department. The GAO attempts to ensure that students are protected from the malaise, which can inflict students navigating a large University. 

Staff have functionally specfic areas of work; including outreach and admission, recruitment and student life, financial support and resource allocation.

Mark Jenkinson, Director of Student Services

Functional Responsibility: Mark manages GAO operations including graduate advising, admissions, recruitment, funding, training grants, teaching assignments and conflict resolution.

Bio: My name is Mark and I am originally from England, UK. I have worked in student focused roles in Higher Education for the past 13 years. I have been at Cal now for 4 years. I have worked in Student Services in the Chemistry, Math and now Biological Sciences. Prior to working at UCB, I worked in London, UK at Queen Mary, University of London. I was also in student services, working for the EECS school.

Mission: I am interested in improving student and instructional support systems through the introduction and integration of new technology and processes.

When not at work: I enjoy hiking, reading and road biking. Although I live in Fairfax, I should really try mountain biking somewhere in the Bay Area.

Favorite Cal Sports Team: Cal Rugby

Favorite Food: Fish & Chips 

Motto: Who Dares Wins

Connect with Mark


Berta Parra, Graduate Student Advisor 

Functional Responsibility:  Berta provides assistance in 1st and 2nd year advising, student recruitment, admissions, rotations, courses, grading, qualifying exams and advancement to candidacy, the evaluation and awarding of fellowships, and diversity and disability resources.

Bio: My name is Berta and I've been at CAL since the 1980's when computers were just starting to surface. I started working for the MBA program at the School of Business, then moved to the Psychology department to work with both graduate and undergraduate students and finally I landed in MCB and have been with the GAO ever since.

Mission: I truly enjoy working as a Student Affairs Advisor. I'm fortunate to work with MCB students when they first arrive and I love getting to know them and assisting them throughout their graduate studies. I am your resource during your initial years (first year and second year) in the MCB program, so please come see me!

When not at work: I love working at CAL, but I also enjoy a multitude of other things. I love cooking and I'm always looking for new recipes to experiment with. I enjoy reading inspirations books, walks with Izabella my granddaughter and Sharky my Chihuahua or tending to my rose garden. Future Travel Plans: Italy – Rome and Venice to see the museums and cathedrals!

Favorite Flower: Double Delights – They are the most fragrant and beautiful cream and pink tipped roses.

Favorite Aspect of UC Berkeley: I love the diversity on campus. I can't think of a better place to meet people from all over the world

Connect with Berta



Sarah Hamilton, Graduate Student Advisor

Functional Responsibility: Sarah is responsible for 3rd year and beyond student advising, graduate student instructor placement, tracking progress towards graduation, commencement, career counseling, and event organization for student recruitment and orientation.

Bio: My name is Sarah and started working at UC Berkeley in July 2016, just in time for the new academic year. I've worked in higher education for the past 4 years. Most recently I was a Student Services Advisor at Academy of Art University in San Francisco. I was first introduced to student services during my Master's program in Psychology at Cal State Chico where I worked in the Counseling Center. It was there I decided to start my career in higher education.

Mission: I love working with students and helping them navigate the exciting and confusing world that is university life. I work with 3rd year and beyond MCB students. I am your resource for thesis committee meetings, 290 seminars, extensions, GSI assignments, and event organizing (recruitment, orientation, and commencement, and much more). My door is always open for any questions or concerns you may have!

When Not at Work: I am living in San Francisco, exploring and eating my way through the city! I am always up to try a new restaurant or test out a new recipe in my own kitchen. Eating is a big love, if you haven't noticed. My first love though is my cat Patrick, my mischievous tabby. I also enjoy hiking and walking through nature. Most recently I hiked to the top of Mount Tamalpais!

Future Travel Plans: Everywhere! I love traveling and exploring new countries! My next destination is either Cuba or the Japan!

Favorite Food: Baked Rigatoni, but you can't really go wrong with any cheesy pasta.

Motto: Life isn't about avoiding risks. It's about making calculations and going all in for things you love.

Connect with Sarah


Eric Buhlis, Graduate Student Financial Specialist 

Functional Responsibility: Eric  is responsible for providing a broad range of training grant and graduate student financial support. He oversees graduate funding packages for current students, and coordinates training grant administration, data gathering, reporting, as well as RPPR and renewal submissions.

Bio: My name is Eric and I was working in the College of Chemistry when my supervisor transferred to MCB. She saw an opening for me and the rest is history! I've been with the GAO for 9 years and I've been at CAL for over 10 years.

Mission: Come see me if you have any questions about training grants, GSR appointments, and travel & entertainment reimbursements. You know you can definitely count on me to properly manage all funding related issues during your MCB graduate studies.

When not at work: I enjoy playing RPG video games like the Uncharted series or watching college football on Saturdays. I only care for CAL, Go Bears! I also really enjoy spending time with my father in the Gold Country. If you ever find yourself exploring Gold Country, I suggest walking around the old parts of Nevada City and Grass Valley, it's a great place to window shop. Other Favorite Things: I enjoy eating out and going to the local community theaters.

Favorite Cal Sports Team: Cal Football, Go Bears!

Where is my photo? I am not a fan of picture taking.

Connect with Eric