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Advisor of the month: May 2020

Brandy Hayden, May 2020, Advisor of the Month, Advising Matters at Virginia Tech.

Brandy Hayden

Department of Statistics, College of Science

What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I love the collaborative aspect of advising. As a first generation college student, I know how confusing this environment can be without support and a community to lean on, that is why it is so rewarding for me to successfully help my students navigate their time here. I also get to work with colleagues across the university with whom I’m able to learn and grow both personally and professionally; there is never a shortage of people that I can turn to for advice.

In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
Being the first full-time professional advisor within the Department of Statistics has afforded me plenty of opportunities to create and grow programs for our students. In my nineteen months in my role, I have developed a peer mentor program for our incoming first year and transfer students, created a weekly newsletter to cut down on the amount of emails sent, and implemented a progress towards degree tracking system that requires students on PTD warning to reflect on their academic status. I also serve on the department’s diversity and undergraduate committees where I advocate and give voice to student concerns.  However, my main contribution is serving as the point of contact for all current and prospective undergraduates.

What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
Be curious! Many of us shy away from asking certain questions around race, ethnicity, or culture, but these aspects play an integral part in a student’s experience on a college campus. Choosing to strictly focus on our similarities can lead to missed opportunities to empower, understand, and support students. Instead, create connection by broaching these topics with a welcoming smile, an encouraging attitude, and empathetic listening. Above all, appreciate the time and information that is shared with you.