Engineering Staff Spotlight: Carrie Chown, Executive Analyst and Information Wrangler

By Bonnie Dickson

DAVIS, Calif.; July 16, 2018 – The College of Engineering is comprised of more than 200 faculty, 4,500 undergraduate students and 1,200 graduate students and 180 staff who support many of the day-to-day operations of the College. One of these staff members is Carrie Chown, executive analyst to the dean of the College of Engineering and a self-described information wrangler.

Carrie began working for UC Davis in 2009, first with the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and then for the Office of Research. She joined the College of Engineering in 2012 as the executive analyst to the dean, first with former dean Enrique Lavernia and now with Dean Jennifer S. Curtis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in animal science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where she was also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, Sigma Kappa, the ski and snowboarding team and the equestrian team.

Carrie Chown, executive analyst and information wrangler. Photo: Reeta Asmai/UC Davis

In our first College of Engineering Staff Spotlight, Carrie explains what a typical day in the dean’s office looks like and where you can find her outside of the office.

What are your major job functions?

I manage the administrative support team that assists Dean Curtis, Jessie Catacutan, Manju Kaul and three associate deans and oversee the day-to-day operations of the administrative offices of the dean in Kemper Hall. I also provide executive-level project support for Dean Curtis, coordinate College leadership team responses to campus-wide requests and collaborate with fellow dean’s office managers on process improvements. Additionally, I support the College’s Faculty Executive Committee, including oversight of all of the standing committees in the College. 

Some of my special projects currently include participating in the implementation of the College’s strategic plan, piloting DocuSign for potential use college-wide, ongoing dean’s office transition to, organizing the 2018 UC Engineering Dean’s Meeting, assisting with planning the upcoming ABET site visit and developing health and well-being initiatives in the College.

Describe a typical day on the job.

Fueled by a lot of coffee, it’s email, email and more email (just like everyone else, I’m sure!), a few meetings and, if I’m lucky, a couple hours to work on projects. Inevitably, something unexpected pops up. I start every day with a plan for what I want to accomplish but I never get too attached to it!

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Interacting with colleagues in the dean’s office and across the college, both professionally and personally. We are a great group!

What skill is most important for your job?

It’s a tie between the ability to communicate effectively and resourcefulness. 

What activities do you do outside of work that you enjoy or that you are proud of?

Spending time with family and friends, exercising my dogs, meditating, spa days, gardening, Giants’ games, boating, snowboarding, and traveling with my husband…we are going to Italy and Sweden this summer!

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

I would like to be able to eat anything I want – mainly lots of sugar – and still stay healthy.

Describe something about yourself that most people do not know about.

I was diagnosed with a heart/lung disease when I was 20 years old and was told that I had two years to live. But my life was saved when I received a double lung transplant at UC San Francisco 14 years ago. I do a lot of volunteer work in support of organ donation awareness and transplantation including speaking at support groups, hospitals, universities and conferences and telling my story via print, radio and television. I love meeting with fellow lung transplant patients to provide encouragement and hope along their journey. I am forever grateful to my donor and his family for the gift of life they gave me.

Is there anything else you would like to share about yourself?

My husband and I were featured on TLC’s “Incredible Weddings” in 2010. I enjoyed the 15-minutes of fame a lot more than he did!

Carrie Chown is located in the Dean’s Office Suite, Kemper Hall 1121. Do you know of a staff member who we should feature in our next Staff Spotlight? Let us know.