About Approaching Stanford

Approaching Stanford, required for all new undergraduate students, is the process that will guide you in your preparation for Stanford. Beginning in May for first-years and June for transfers, new students will receive weekly communications with information that will help transition you to the Farm. In the months leading up to your arrival to campus, you will learn more about academics and course enrollment, housing assignments, health requirements, student communities, opportunities, resources, and more. The information provided will culminate in your attendance of New Student Orientation (NSO), which will run in the days leading up to the start of Autumn Quarter. NSO is required for all incoming first-year and transfer students. The Approaching Stanford team is made up of both student and professional staff, all within the office of Academic Advising.

2020 Orientation Coordinators

Orientation Coordinators (OCs) are the Stanford student staff in Academic Advising who serve on the Approaching Stanford team. We are dedicating our summer to help incoming students prepare for Stanford and to plan New Student Orientation (NSO). Watch our video to meet the OCs and follow @approachingstanford on Instagram!

Photo of Isaac Garcia

Name: Isaac Garcia '22
Pronouns: He/him
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Major/Academic Interests: Product Design and Electrical Engineering minor
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Sunbathing on Meyer Green with my besties during Spring Quarter.
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: It's super easy to establish new habits in new environments, so make sure you create a routine (academic, social, physical, etc.) you're happy with from the beginning!

Photo of Victoria Hart

Name: Victoria Hart '22
Pronouns: She/her
Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Major/Academic Interests: Psychology and Human Biology minor
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Having movie nights with face masks and nail painting with my roommate and our closest friends when it's been a long week! <3
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: Attend more guest speaker lectures/talks, etc.! Stanford is so blessed to have such a wide range of experts and great thinkers visit our school and talk to our community (usually for free, too!)

Photo of Britney Ky

Name: Britney Ky '22
Pronouns: She/her
Hometown: Holland, Michigan
Major/Academic Interests: Product Design and Computer Science minor
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Meeting some of my closest friends during the Leland Scholars Program the summer before frosh year!
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: Stanford can sometimes feel incredibly fast-paced, so don't forget to slow down, breathe, and take time for yourself, too. :)

Photo of Maiya Mao

Name: Maiya Mao '23
Pronouns: She/her
Hometown: Closter, New Jersey
Major/Academic Interests: Management Science and Engineering (MS&E)
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Watching movies and eating ice cream with my friends after finals.
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: Each quarter, take one fun/wacky class because you never know what you will find interesting!

Photo of Jessica Okpara

Name: Jessica Okpara '23
Pronouns: She/her
Hometown: Raleigh, North Carolina
Major/Academic Interests: Communications and Computer Science
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Late night walks with my friends and making TikToks.
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: Advocate for yourself, especially in your dorm where you'll be sharing a space with one or two roommates!

Photo of Kasen Stephensen

Name: Kasen Stephensen '23
Pronouns: He/him
Hometown: Lawrence, Kansas or Niceville, Florida
Major/Academic Interests: Management Science and Engineering (MS&E) and Computer Science
Favorite Stanford memory so far: Crashing into a bush the first time I mounted my bike.
One piece of advice you'd give your frosh self: Don't take Math 51 after a two-year gap year...and sleep more.

New Student Programs Team

Joanie Ly

Joanie Ly headshotJoanie Ly (she/her/hers), Associate Director of New Student Programs, is responsible for developing and executing New Student Orientation and supervising the student OCs. Throughout the academic year Joanie advises Frosh Council, the leadership group of the first-year class made up of elected representatives from each frosh residence. Frosh Council plans quarterly events and activities, builds class community and identity, and communicates information throughout the first-year class. Joanie completed her Bachelor's degree in Political Science at UC San Diego. She went on to recieve her Masters in Education at Rutgers University. Joanie was an involved student leader at UCSD, including being an orientation leader and resident advisor. Through these experiences, she most enjoyed connecting with students and then connecting these same students with campus resources.

Diana Suedbeck

Diana Suedbeck (she/her), New Student Programs Manager, is responsible for implementing the Approaching Stanford program, which provides support to first-year and transfer students as they transition to life at Stanford. Being one of the first points of contact for these incoming students, Diana is focused on making sure they feel well-equipped to begin their academic experience at the university. Receiving her Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota, Diana's passion for higher education grew as she coached women's lacrosse for her alma mater.


Edith Wu-Nguyen

Edith Wu-Nguyen (she/her), Associate Dean and Director of New Student Programs in Academic Advising, oversees the preparation, welcome, and transition of new first-year students and transfers to Stanford through the Approaching Stanford process and New Student Orientation. She is also the Resident Fellow (RF) for Okada House, the four-class Asian American ethnic theme house located in Wilbur Hall. Edith earned her Master’s degree from the Harvard School of Public Health and her Bachelor’s degree from Stanford where she studied Human Biology and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. Prior to returning to Stanford in 2006, she worked in community-based programs in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, including Head Start/Early Head Start, the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children's Health, Asian Americans for Community Involvement, and Public Allies-Silicon Valley.