UCSB Latin American and Iberian Studies Program

Interview with LAIS Financial and Academic Manager Iryna Zdanovich

Iryna Zdanovich, LAIS Financial and academic Manager, joined us to talk about her work with LAIS faculty and students. Read below to learn more! 

What do you like most about your job? 

What I like best about my job is the financial aspect of things. I love working with data, analyzing, developing, and revising action plans to improve efficiencies, providing insights and feedback to process improvements. I love working on budget forecasting and reporting with my wonderful financial team. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles and I love discovering new Excel or UCPath features, which is always evolving and it’s fun to continue exploring their these programs and their full capabilities. The Academic side is an entirely different world with its own policies and procedures but is also fun. I am choosing to enjoy every aspect of it.  

What has been the most rewarding part so far? 

I love the personal progress and lifelong learning within my job. To know, to be just a little bit more sophisticated every day is my motivation.  I love the interactions with employees on all different levels of the organization and across all functional areas. I have been fortunate to receive an opportunity for career growth in my prior positions at the Phelps Administrative Support Center (PASC). I have attended multiple trainings and not only strengthened my skills, gained the knowledge but also met other outstanding professionals.  I enjoy working collaboratively with the PASC management team, the financial/academic, and the advising unit. I love being a part of team to plan future goals and develop “best practices” to address our customers’ needs.  

Is there anything you have learned in this position you would like to share?

 This year has been unique and challenging for me due to remote work. I am very grateful for having a dedicated team that I could rely on. I appreciate my co-workers and management team for their support and constant communication and collaboration.  This unique time has reemphasized for me the importance of team work, collaboration and flexibility. We were able to meet and/or exceed our goals because everyone leaned in, listened and learned together. 

 Do you have any interests or hobbies you’d like to share with the LAIS community? “Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken.” – Frank Herbert. I love traveling, exploring new places, and learning new things. It helps me to recharge, energize my spirit, inspires me, and that simply makes me feel happy. A few weeks ago, I was stunned by the legendary “Firefall“ which happens when the sun hits Yosemite’s Horsetail Fall at just the right angle, creating the illusion that the waterfall is on fire. It was breathtaking! I love California for fantastic weather and spectacular nature (the ocean, mountains, varieties of National parks). Hiking is one of my favorite hobbies. The fresh air and sun, aerobic walking, and up-close exposure to mountainsides and the ocean help me reduce the physical and mental stress during these challenging times.