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Advisor of the month: December 2022

Ginger Dempsey

Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education

What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I enjoy everything about working with students! Getting to know each one on a personal level and finding unique ways to support their individual efforts keeps me interested and excited to wake up and come to work each day. Engaging with them through FYE creates unique opportunities to offer accountability and encouragement. Also, the advising community at Virginia Tech is a tremendous support and one from which I gain great personal satisfaction. Every time I meet with another advisor on campus, I learn something new that will benefit my department or my career development. I truly feel like I have the best job on the planet!

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
As the Academic Programs Coordinator for ALCE, I offer support to both our graduate and undergraduate students in various ways. Regarding advising, these responsibilities include undergraduate academic advising that complements support from our faculty advisors, keeping students on track with their plans of study, helping them think through ways to navigate personal challenges as they relate to academics and co-teaching two sections of CALS FYE. Above all, I feel that my greatest contribution as a relatively new advisor is helping to build a strong sense of community and support within our department. Simple acts such as encouraging students to stay on the hall between classes rather than eating lunch alone in their cars and reminding them that they are not navigating these years alone is sometimes the component that many of our departments lack. These small efforts of kindness can make all the difference in a student's success and long-term relationship with their department. I want them to know they are genuinely cared for and supported.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Community can make all the difference for a struggling student. Look for those advisors who work to create healthy community and find ways to incorporate what they are doing into what you are doing. And, don't take failure personally. You will make mistakes. Don't be too proud to own them. You can't get it right all of the time! Winston Churchill once said, "Success is moving from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." Caring enough about your students and co-workers to be honest will only build report and respect.