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Advisor's past makes her a 'people person'

My aunt was trying to teach me the ABCs, and I didn’t understand why I had to learn them.  It was very hard.”

During Lou’s first few years in New York, a lot changed for her, including her name. It wasn’t always Kathy.

In elementary school, her Chinese name was Bet Tuey Lee.  Lou soon realized that to completely fit into American culture, she’d need a name that would fit in as well.

Bet Tuey was difficult to pronounce, and she wanted her own American name.

“As a sixth grade student, I didn’t know many names,” said Lou, who knew she wanted a name that ended in a “y” but was having trouble thinking of one.  Her sister soon suggested “Kathy,” and Lou took her new American name to school with her the next day.

Eventually, she went through the naturalization citizenship process, and Kathy became her legal name.

Coming to America was tough, and it has since helped Lou to effectively communicate with all students.

“I fully empathize with the international students that I advise, and I always share my difficult experience with them,” she said. “They appreciate it because I think they don’t feel so alone.”

Part of her job, Lou said, is to “lend an ear.”  Part of that often lets her draw from her own experiences when advising students.

“My job is to get students to graduate,” Lou said, “but along the way, we enjoy a sort of journey together. Each student is different, and I enjoy the opportunity to steer them in the right direction.”

Lou plans to work as an academic advisor for as long as she is able.

“I just want to keep going,” she says. “I’ve never thought about not coming to work. I love it that much.”


The power of empathy truly has no bounds. UGA academic advisors are some of the most important staff members on campus and here's a fresh example why. Our thanks to Sydney Devine, graduate assistant in the office of public affairs, for sharing this profile of Kathy Lou.

Image: Photo by Dorothy Kozlowski

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