Advisor of the month: February 2022
Aerospace and Ocean Engineering
What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
My favorite part of advising is getting to know students! I really enjoy learning about my students’ interests, goals, and the pathways that have led them to study aerospace and/or ocean engineering. Getting to know students within the larger context of their lives is also helpful, because so often external factors impact academics. The better I know students, the better I’m able to help them evaluate academic options. I enjoy helping students problem-solve, and providing them with support and resources as they figure out how to make the most of their time at Virginia Tech. It’s so rewarding to watch my advisees grow as students!
In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
My primary role in the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace & Ocean Engineering (AOE) is to support and advise current students as they progress through our curriculum. One of my advising initiatives was to develop a monthly advising newsletter for the department. This newsletter, which I continue to maintain, provides students with answers to timely advising FAQs, along with information about upcoming events. I also assist with keeping the advising, curriculum and prospective student pages of the AOE website updated. I have created new content for the website, including pages dedicated to internship/co-op search resources, academic support resources, and the AOE force-add process.
In addition to advising current students, I also communicate with prospective students and their families. I work with the department’s student AOE Ambassadors to provide tours and promote AOE at events. With the onset of Covid-19, I quickly learned how to use online resources such as Zoom webinars and Brazen booths to interact with prospective students. I created a slideshow and taped a video introduction to the department, which we used for online Hokie Focus and continue to showcase on our website. With the return of in-person visitors to campus, I took the initiative to create an AOE department self-guided tour flyer with information about locations that families can visit on their own.
What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
First and foremost, advising is about listening. One of the most valuable things we can do for our students is to actively listen to them and get to know them as individuals. Developing positive relationships with students allows us to better assist them. Advisors serve a unique role at the university. An advisor is often the first person a student approaches when faced with a difficult situation. As such, it is important for us to support students by providing clear information, and teaching them how to access resources.
Virginia Tech provides a wealth of professional development opportunities for advisors! I have learned a lot from advising chats and student advocacy sessions. In Spring 2020, I took part in the Academic Advising Academy. This was a fantastic way to learn about advising resources available on campus. It also helped me network with others in the Virginia Tech advising community. I highly encourage Virginia Tech advisors to take advantage of these professional development opportunities.