Advisor of the month: September 2022
School of Neuroscience
What do you enjoy about your role in advising?
I enjoy many aspects of advising; however, the most meaningful aspect of this position has been getting to know the students I work with on a personal level and helping them address their advising concerns or needs. Each student has their own story, and I enjoy learning about each student's individuality and exploring how their college experience plays into their personal narrative. By attempting to understand and view problems from a student’s point of view, I am able to best serve my students and make sure they feel supported, understood, and valued.
In what ways have you contributed to advising in your department/area?
As a new advisor, I wanted to get involved and contribute to my department as soon as possible. Currently, I am serving on the College of Science Staff Association as a Staff Senate Alternate. Within this role, I hope to observe and learn more about Virginia Tech’s Staff Senate and advocate for staff members as needed; therefore, ensuring that staff members have all the needed resources to best serve our students. I am also involved in the College of Science Board of Advisors. This is a recently developed board with the intention of improving advising initiatives within the College of Science (COS). Within the COS Board of Advisors, I serve on a subcommittee dedicated to creating a COS advising website. In addition, I will help craft an advising handbook, focusing on academic information, judicial information, and transfer credits.
I also believe it is imperative that advisors participate in professional development opportunities to help us grow and learn new skill sets that we can utilize to assist students. This semester, I have participated in the Mental Health First Aider Certification offered by Hokie Wellness. In addition, I am currently participating in the Career Champions Program offered by the Office of Career and Professional Development. I hope to implement the knowledge gained from these programs to help students explore different careers options or address any mental health concerns they may be facing.
What advice would you give to other professionals who want to a make a difference in the life of their students?
I would advise other professionals to view students from a holistic perspective. Within higher education, it can be easy to view interactions with students as strictly transactional; however, this prevents professionals from forming meaningful relationships with students. As attending college is a pivotal period in many students’ lives, it’s important that we consider more than just their academic needs. We can do this by inquiring about various aspects of their lives, taking the time to actively listen, and refer them to additional resources if needed. I’d also advise other professionals to think back to an individual who made a difference in their lives and use that memory to contribute to the work that they are doing now. For example, during my undergraduate education, my advisor had a significant impact on my life as she took the time to get to know me and went above and beyond to help address my needs and concerns. When I fall into a stagnant routine or start to feel unmotivated, I think back to my advisor and channel that memory to help me go that extra mile for the students I work with; I’d encourage other professionals to use this same mentality to make a meaningful impact on our students.