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Arts and Humanities Staff Spotlight

Staff are an integral part of the UC San Diego School of Arts and Humanities, often going above and beyond to make their area run smoothly for all our constituencies: from other staff and faculty, to the greater community and our students. Valuable professionals, learn more about your colleagues throughout the school.

Kumi Obayashi-WardKumi Obayashi-Ward

Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor
Japanese Studies Program
Institute of Arts and Humanities

Kumi Obayashi-Ward’s career at UC San Diego started in July 2010 as a program representative for the International Programs at UC San Diego Extension. She then moved to the Japanese Studies Program in April 2014, and has been serving the students, faculty, and community as the program coordinator and academic advisor.

In addition to academic advising and faculty assistance, she also manages scheduling JAPN courses, Japanese Studies major/minor curriculum updates, outreach and program events, website and social media management, TA-recruitment and payroll, and the Joseph Naiman Graduate Fellowship in Japanese Studies.

Prior to relocating to San Diego, she worked as a head teacher (academic coordinator) at AEON English Language School in Japan for over five years. She has found her purpose in education, and been very passionate about spreading the love and importance of foreign-language acquisition and cultural competence.

Seeing students from all backgrounds achieve their academic and personal goals through our programs and blossom into well-rounded, globally minded citizens brings her so much joy.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, baking, and traveling.


What does a typical work week look like for you?

Multi-tasking and putting out fires!

What do you like most about your job?

I enjoy the interaction with my students the most. I sometimes feel like a mama bear. Providing disciplines when necessary is not the most exciting part of the job, and I sometimes cry for and with them when they go through major challenges, but witnessing their growth and achievements fulfills my purpose as an academic advisor. I’m proud of all of them!

What do you need to do your job better?

Life-work balance, and passion.

What have been some of the most impactful lessons you’ve learned from the last two years, during the pandemic?

Be kind to myself as I would to others. If I don’t take care of myself, I can’t fully commit to assisting those who need me. 

Do you have any constructive advice for staff joining the university? What would you say?

Network, and ask questions.

What’s something about you that people might not know?

I'm a beta fish hobbyist, and I have vehophobia - the fear of driving!


Jessica Greenlaw, Dept. of Visual Arts

Jessica GreenlawJessica Greenlaw

Student Affairs Manager
Department of Visual Arts

Jessica Greenlaw entered as a transfer student and completed her bachelor’s degree in microbiology at UC San Diego. Beginning as a student worker for Sixth College, she has been an academic advisor on campus for 10 years. She has served eight years with the Department of Visual Arts in multiple roles, and was recently appointed to Student Affairs Manager.

In this role, Jessica administers the Graduate and Undergraduate programs overseeing advising, programming, fiscal administration, recruitment, admissions, and student payroll and personnel. She is a key advisor to departmental administration, as well as faculty committees on graduate curriculum and admissions, graduate student affairs, and financial support, and routinely conducts analysis of curriculum planning and faculty teaching load, all student-related activities and academics for both perspective and enrolled students.

Overseeing the entire student affairs staff, Jessica is responsible for management and academic advising, curriculum planning and development, financial aid including fellowships and block grants, and graduate program admissions, outreach and recruitment.

What do you like most about your job?

The best part of my job is absolutely the people I get to work with! Supporting students is why I work at UC San Diego. I love that in an art department I am constantly getting to see their creativity and passion (and life in Visual Arts is never boring!).

What have you found motivating for your career?

Working in Student Affairs can be tough at times and the biggest motivation for me is to help others, whether it is new staff learning the ropes of UC San Diego or students who are navigating complicated academics, funding and employment. If I am hopefully making life a little better for someone else, then it is worth it.

What have been some of the most impactful lessons you’ve learned from the last two years, during the pandemic?

I am still working on this one but, to give myself more grace and to show myself the understanding that I more easily have for others.

What’s something about you that people might not know?

I LOVE animals. My house is surrounded by wildlife, chickens, goats, and cows. I am constantly sending animal photos (especially baby cow photos) to my coworkers!

Any New Years resolutions to share?

Work-life balance. Put work down when it is time to put work down and take space for a happier and healthier self.


Andrew Liedholm, Dept. of History

Andy LiedholmAndrew Liedholm

Business and technical support analyst
Department of History

Andrew Liedholm has been working in the IT industry in some facet since he was 14 years old, starting in a business support position setting up computers and basic networks for local businesses in his hometown. He has since gathered skills to support networking, sysadmin tasks and programming, and is trained to manage multiple help desks and IT operations that include building websites for both organizations and individual clients.

A transfer student from San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California and the San Diego Community College District, Andy studied philosophy at UC San Diego. As a student, he helped run the Revelle Transfer Student Network, and was the transfer student representative for the Revelle College Council. He was director of technology for Roger’s Urban Farmlab, and has continued working with Computer Science for Agriculture.

Andy began working in the Department of History in 2010 as a student employee, managing technology and the website for the department. When the department moved to the new Arts and Humanities Building, Andy expanded his support to include the Division of Arts and Humanities, Institute of Arts and Humanities and the Analytical Writing Program.

What have been some of the most impactful lessons you’ve learned from the last year, during the pandemic?

To slow down and connect more with people about what is going on, rather than trying to fit interactions into a pre labelled box.

Any constructive advice for staff joining the university?

Its tired, but tried-and-true advice: network.

What’s something about you that people might not know?

In my off time, I enjoy making jewelry, and camping and touring from my bike.

Are you Team Pumpkin Spice, or no?

Most definitely not.

Jessica Flores, Dept. of Music

Jessica FloresJessica C. Flores

Production Manager
Department of Music

Jessica C. Flores is a production and event professional who has worked and toured as a production manager, stage manager, lighting designer and technical director for a variety of artists and companies including the Oregon Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Northwest Dance Project, Tulsa Ballet, Pilobolus, the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, international touring with principal artists from New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre, as well as Harvard University where she served as production supervisor and resident lighting designer to the Dance Program for the Office for the Arts.

While in Cambridge, she served as professional stage manager for Hasty Pudding Theatricals 159 & 160 and designed the lighting for the opening performances of the New College Theatre (now named Farkas Hall). As an AGMA Stage Manager, Jessica has called productions for the Opera Company of Philadelphia, Tulsa Ballet, the Martha Graham Dance Company, and the Joffrey Ballet, among others.

Originally from San Diego, Jessica joined the Department of Music staff in 2011. In her capacity as Production Manager, she supervises live event operations and coordinates production support and technical logistics for performances and recordings for over 250 events a year at the Conrad Prebys Music Center, Mandeville Auditorium, and Warren Lecture Hall Recording Studios. 

What does a typical work week look like for you?

Please define “typical” (insert laughter). As an academic department, our pace and flow follows the academic calendar.

What do you like most about your job?

That it is my job to help people make art. I find this soul enriching. I have always found great satisfaction knowing that my work benefits the work and creativity of others.

Any constructive advice for staff joining the university?

Network! And take to heart the Principles of Community. This is a solid foundation to work from as a UC employee.

What’s something about you that people might not know?

Everyone knows that several coworkers and I founded the Triton Ruck Club — the West’s premier rucking club. Rucking is walking with a weighted backpack to enhance resistance in your cardio exercise.

Are you Team Pumpkin Spice, or no?

Absolutely not. I drink Trident Coffee. Veteran founded and operated. Delicious cold brew coffee! My favorite blend is Stoic Bond.