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Advisor of the month: March 2019

Maia Green-Havas, Advisor of the Month for March. Advising Matters at Virginia Tech

Maia Greene-Havas

Engineering Education, College of Engineering

What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I enjoy having the opportunity to help students navigate their way through both their transition to college and through the process of identifying their preferred academic path. Since the transition to college can be such an overwhelming adjustment, I find it especially meaningful to be able to work with first-year students. Throughout sessions with these students I have found that acknowledging the challenges during this transition helps to normalize the amount of stress they may feel over the struggle of balancing all aspects of their lives. It is also rewarding to talk with students about their interests and future goals to help them determine the major they most want to pursue.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
I have contributed to advising within my department by creating a Canvas advisor training program. One purpose of the program is to provide new advisors with information on all of the fourteen engineering majors. Another purpose of the program is to provide new advisors with information regarding Virginia Tech’s most relevant policies and procedures.

I also create Advising Tips of the Week that are shared with new engineering students in their Foundations of Engineering courses. The tips provide students with reminders of important dates and deadlines, as well as with information about resources and supports available through our department and across campus. The Advising Tips of the Week also serve as a bridge between the advising team and the Engineering Education instructors.

Additionally, I am working on a research project that sets out to gain information concerning the challenges first-year international students face throughout their first-year at university abroad. It is my hope that the information and feedback we gain from these students will inform future support services for this population of students.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
I have found that listening to students and seeking to understand their experiences can significantly impact their time in college. When we work with many different students each day it can be easy to get caught up in the routine of answering questions while sometimes rushing through sessions. However, taking the time to listen to students’ encountered situations, successes, and concerns will ensure the students feel respected and cared for, and will also allow us to provide the information that is most relevant. Students are able to recognize whether we are giving them all of the attention they deserve or whether we are distracted. Whenever possible, I find it helpful to treat each student as if they are the only student with whom I am meeting that day.