Throughout the course of their academic careers, students will make connections with many influential people. It could be a faculty member who presents a lesson that inspires a student to pursue a major in their field of study. Or a coach. Mentors and resident advisors. Alumni who have developed as leaders in the professional world. Every single person makes a difference, but the relationships that endure the longest may be those between students and Academic Advisors.
These dedicated individuals support students as they figure out where they ultimately want to end up, and help chart the path to get there. Deeply committed to the success of all students, these are the folks who keep them on track to graduate on time, offer a dose of realism when needed, and provide the overall support students need to realize their greatest ambitions. They are true cheerleaders and champions for our students, and are undeniably deserving of recognition, every single day. On February 9th, NC State honored four exceptionally deserving advisors from across the university during the 2016 NC State University Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards Ceremony.
2016 Award Recipients
New Advisor Award: Honors an academic advisor who has shown exemplary service and has worked as an advisor for 3 or fewer years with a primary role of professional advisor.
Recipient: Aimee Stright
Aimee Stright is an academic advisor and lecturer in NC State’s Exploratory Studies program. She is a graduate of Virginia Tech with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology. Aimee earned her master’s degree in higher education administration from the College of William and Mary, where she completed a graduate assistantship with New Student Orientation and interned in their Office of Academic Advising. Aimee currently advises a caseload of approximately 94 students, does cross-curricular advising through Academic Advising Services, and teaches Introduction to University Education I & II. As a life-long learner, Aimee looks for ways to develop herself professionally to better serve her students. Since coming to NC State, she has completed the Advisor Development Institute, Equal Opportunity Institute, and Crucial Conversations programs. Aimee enjoys helping her students, utilizing technology to improve student experiences, and working with the parents of Exploratory Studies students.
New Faculty Advisor: Honors an academic advisor who has shown exemplary service for three or fewer years. The New Faculty Advisor’s primary role is teaching/researching faculty.
Recipient: Dr. Lara Pacifici
Dr. Lara Pacifici is Assistant Teaching Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology (FWCB) in the College of Natural Resources. She teaches Mountain Wildlife Ecology and Management, Conservation Biology in Practice, Vertebrate Natural History, and Professional Development in FWCB. In her first semester at NC State, Lara instituted group advising sessions for all FWCB students; faculty and student feedback was that these group sessions decreased confusion about enrollment and increased the overall sense of community. Lara continues to coordinate FWCB group advising each semester and also serves as the individual mentor for 80 FWCB students. She is co-advisor of the Leopold Wildlife Club and the NC State Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association. Lara enjoys identifying meaningful student opportunities and hearing the great things students do during and after their NC State tenure.
Faculty Advisor Award: Recognizes an advisor with primary responsibility as a teaching/ researching faculty member, and additionally has more than 3 years NC State academic advising experience. The winner must demonstrate exemplary service and commitment to undergraduate students through his or her advising responsibilities.
Recipient: Dr. Stephanie Curtis
Dr. Stephanie Curtis is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Sciences. She received a bachelor’s in biology from Florida State University, earned a PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Georgia, and conducted postdoctoral studies in genetics at the University of Chicago. She joined the faculty of NC State’s Department of Genetics in 1983. Stephanie was Head of Genetics from 1993-2008, Director of Genetics Graduate Programs from 1996-2013, Director of Genomic Sciences Graduate Programs from 1999-2001 and Coordinator for the Functional Genomics Graduate Program from 2001-2006. She has focused on undergraduate programs the last decade, helping to develop and implement the B.S. degree in genetics at NC State, which is the only one of its kind in North Carolina. She served as Director of Genetics Undergraduate Programs from 2008-2015, advisor for genetics minors from 2008-2014 and the advisor for genetics majors since 2010.
The Barbara Soloman Advising Award: Given in recognition of Barbara Soloman’s tireless contributions over many years of service to NC State students. This award is given to a professional advisor (primary role academic advising) who exhibits a commitment to advising, advocacy, and going above and beyond expectations to foster student success. Additionally, nominees of this award should have five or more years of academic advising experience at N.C. State.
Recipient: Maria Crockett
Maria Crockett is Assistant Director in NC State’s Academic Support Program for Student Athletes (ASPSA), where she advises men’s soccer, women’s tennis, rifle and gymnastics. She has served as an academic coordinator since 2005 and also coordinates USC 103 & 104: Introduction to University Education for Varsity Student-Athletes. She oversees the Post-Master’s internship program, which was nationally recognized with the N4A Model Practice award in 2013. Prior to NC State, Maria spent two years as an athletic academic counselor at University of Memphis, two years as a graduate assistant in athletic academic support at University of Florida, and a year as an intern at the NCAA national office. A native of Tarboro, NC, Maria earned a bachelor’s in Communication Studies from UNC-Greensboro and a master’s in Student Personnel in Higher Education from the University of Florida. Education runs in the family as her parents are retired NC public school teachers.
Academic Advising Services welcomed Dr. Jennifer Bloom as keynote speaker for the event. Dr. Bloom serves as Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Higher Education Leadership Master’s Degree Program at Florida Atlantic University. She is co-founder of the Appreciative Advising and Appreciative Education movements and also co-founded and serves as section editor for the Journal of Appreciative Education.
In addition to the advising award nominees and winners, approximately 25 graduates of the Advisor Development Institute (ADI) were recognized for their accomplishments. ADI is a professional development opportunity for NC State faculty, staff and emerging professionals that focuses on components of effective academic advising and allows advisors to assess their effectiveness.