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Advisor of the month: February 2019

Jason Johnson, Advisor of the Month for February. Advising Matters at Virginia Tech

Jason Johnson

University Academic Advising Center

What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
Working primarily with exploratory freshmen, I truly enjoy watching my advisees grow in self-confidence throughout their first year. At the beginning of the fall semester, they often seem scared of the exploration process. As we guide them through the major exploration process and they begin to find their niche, you can see them become self-assured and even excited students. Nothing compares to seeing their faces light up once they put the pieces together and discover who they are and who they want to become!

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
After seven years of advising in a residence hall, I have helped the University Studies Department take this "intrusive advising" model to the next level. In cooperation with Housing and Residence Life and a steering committee comprised of incredible colleagues in University Studies and Career and Professional Development, I helped to lay the groundwork for a living-learning community to serve University Studies majors. This LLC will allow us to develop a robust community of "explorers" who are dedicated to the process of finding a major that aligns well with their their values, interests, personality, and life goals.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Never underestimate the importance of the personal connections you make with your advisees. On a large campus like ours, some students just need a friendly, familiar face to reassure them that they can make it. Your support and encouragement might be the reason a student doesn't give up on their most challenging day at VT.