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Advisor of the month: January 2017

Natasha Smith, Advisor of the Month for January, Advising Matters at Virginia Tech

Natasha Smith

Department of Engineering Education, College of Engineering


What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
My current role in the Department of Engineering Education allows me the opportunity to work with a wide range of students, most of whom I will only work with for a semester or a year before they move on. These students are at a very pivotal point in their academic career and often facing issues they have never before encountered. I offer them support and encourage open-mindedness as they go through a time of true self-reflection. The highlight moments of my position are when a student has gone through this process and finds their passion and regains their confidence and excitement for their future. Their persistence inspires my own.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
Through my background in information technology I have been able to streamline many of the processes within our unit. The two most notable developments are an electronic advising log and a robust website. The two work hand-in-hand as I am able to use data analytics from the advising log to determine the primary reasons students are scheduling appointments with their advisors. From this data I can determine where additional content should be developed and placed on our website. With such a large advisor-student ratio, it is not possible to meet with all students; by developing these materials for our website, we are expanding access to all students in our program.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Be collaborative, be passionate, and be sincere.

As you collaborate with your students, fellow advisors, faculty, and administration you will increase your knowledge, understanding, and confidence. Your level of passion towards your career resonates with those you interact with. And your sincerity increases trust. Individually these will provide opportunities to make a difference in students’ lives, collectively I believe they lead to exceptional student-advisor interactions that will leave lasting impacts on all involved.