(Photo courtesy of Lisa Chung)


Q&A: Meet Ms. Lisa Chung, La Cañada High’s first college and career counselor

<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/bmjuniorr/" target="_self">Lauren Lee</a>

Lauren Lee

December 3, 2022
During the summer of 2022, several new teachers and counselors joined the staff at La Cañada High School. One of the new staff members is the school’s first College and Career counselor, Li-Hsiang (Lisa) Chung. Luckily, Ms. Chung was gracious enough to sit down for a get-to-know-you interview. 

Lauren Lee: Hello, thank you for sitting down for an interview! To start with, can you tell us more about yourself? 

Chung: I’m originally from Taiwan and moved to El Centro, California when I was seven years old. I didn’t know any English except “apple.” I grew up in Haystacks, a rural desert — it was fun but I didn’t realize that I was Asian until after I watched “Joy Luck Club” and saw that the protagonists were Asian. 

LL: What college did you attend? 

I attended UCSD and received my MA from the University of Redlands. 

LL: How do you like to spend your free time? 

I would say that I’m pretty outdoorsy. The family loves to snowboard together! All five of us would go. My six-year-old would tell me, “Hurry up mommy!” I love snowboarding and overlanding and have enjoyed snorkeling as well, it’s like another world. 

Once we went camping in a rooftop tent in Baja California next to the beach. That was a lot of fun.

I had the opportunity to go to Turks and Caicos once. It was amazing! As if those travel magazines came to life. 

LL: What is your favorite cuisine?

Cuisine is hard to decide on because I’m a foodie. I enjoy Korean food, spicy Chinese food, Italian,Taiwanese, Mexican, American … I love it all! We switch it up; my husband makes most of the food, he’s the chef around here! Carne asada and kimchi jjigae are our favorites. 

LL: I saw that you had run a half-marathon at San Diego on the linked Canva page in your introductory email blast! Do you plan on running a full marathon?

Yes, I did it last year! I have a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out). I have bets with my husband, and one time he suggested running a half-marathon. I actually got injured before that, but I would like to do another half-marathon if possible.

LL: What interested you in this field? 

At first, I thought that I was going to be a pharmacist. It was when I was in college and taking chemistry when I realized that I hated touching pills — it makes me kinda gag. I was reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” at the time and I pondered over the question of “What do you want people to say about you in your obituary.” I thought that I really wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, which led me to counseling! But, I’m sure pharmacy is important too. 

LL: Where did you counsel before joining the staff at La Cañada? 

I worked in many different fields before getting into counseling — I was a program manager at a non-profit organization and I helped kids who were getting adopted and grandparents to help take care of grandkids. One of my very first jobs was at juvenile hall as a mental health counselor. Oh, fun fact: the best chile relleno Mexican dish that I have ever eaten was from Folsom prison. 

I also worked at UCSD as senior learning skills counselor in the Psychiatry department. I have trained and taught counselors, criminal justice professionals such as judges, and probation officers about how drugs impact your brain as I traveled across California and the United States, presenting, training, and providing workshops. 

I did elementary school counseling for a bit, and then worked at Granada Hills Charter High School, which was one of my first high school counseling experiences. I loved it there as a comprehensive counselor for twelve years. I then moved to the college and career counseling department. 

I worked the last five years at John Burroughs High School, because my family lives in Burbank. 

I was an adjunct professor for the School of Education at California Lutheran University before as well. I taught College and Career Counseling to graduate students.

And here I am at LC! 

LL: What interested you in working at LCHS?

When you see that success is intentional, it’s powerful. I have worked in a few districts already and I know the culture and possibility in each district. And I’m in love with La Cañada’s! I think that it is so lucky to have leadership supportive of their students and believe in putting students first and providing resources to support them. That’s why I brought my kids here, to this beautiful, wonderful community. 

LL: What are you looking forward to in the future? 

I am looking forward to support teachers, counselors, students and the community. I know the college and career search and process can be overwhelming and confusing, so I’m ready to roll up my sleeves and help everybody! The college and career program is thoughtful, concise, and most of all, manageable. I hope to support everybody and make a difference here as well.