Advisor of the month: December 2020
Engineering Education, College of Engineering
What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
Interacting with students is absolutely the most enjoyable part of my role as an academic advisor. I love having the opportunity to help students navigate their time at Virginia Tech and ease any anxiety they may have. Having personally experienced some of the challenges of college life at Virginia Tech, it's a pleasure to share my own experiences and struggles (and solutions) in an effort to help students find resources available at the university and help them be successful!
Working with first-year students in the general engineering program provides me the unique opportunity to help students analyze different career and major options that best fit their personal interests and goals. The exploratory part of being a first-year student can be overwhelming, so I find it an essential part of my role to help students find opportunities for self-discovery and belonging.
In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
In our department, I am the project lead for a couple different opportunities for students:
First, the Academic Planning Workshops. I create presentations and supplemental material to help students create academic plans for their time at Virginia Tech. We are currently in a partnership with Academic Advising Initiatives to offer workshops so that our students have an opportunity to learn about the Pathways Planner as a tool to create academic plans.
I am also working on early academic intervention opportunities for students in General Engineering. Addressing any concerns or obstacles early can help students be academically successful! Sometimes it's even just knowing where to find established resources on campus.
I also believe that knowledge of university policies signifies the foundational requirement for all academic advisors. The higher outcomes can never be achieved if the advisor is not well-versed and knowledgeable on students' options. Therefore, I commit myself to stay consistently up-to-date with new majors and minors, policies and procedures at the university.
It is also important to stay connected with other advisors on campus and also be involved with initiatives at the college and university level. That's why I am also an active participant in one of the Academic Advising Strategic Implementation Committees.
What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
For students, college life is a delicate balance between their academic performance, personal life, and seeking out the correct path for their future, in order to achieve their career goals. It's important for advisors to not only be knowledgeable about university policies and procedures, but also be an advocate for the student.
It's important for students to know that they are cared for. Advisors often have hundreds of students they are in contact with at any given time, but because every student is unique, and every student is facing different combinations of challenges, as an advisor, you have to be prepared. Passion shows through your actions. Be creative, be compassionate, be empathetic, be kind.