2019 Curtis P. Lawrence Award for Excellence in Advising

2019 Advising Award Selection Committee

  • Mandi Muse, Criminology, Co-Chair
  • Melissa Remley, Darr College of Agriculture, Co-Chair
  • Linda Trinh Moser, English
  • Brittany Wise, Psychology Advisement Center
  • Korra Ackerson, Student Representative

Faculty: Daniela Novotny, Dietetics

Dr. Daniela Novotny has earned the respect and admiration of students, faculty and staff as an excellent academic advisor and as an instructor focused on student success. Daniela has been a faculty advisor in the Dietetics program in the Biomedical Sciences department for four years. She has developed a reputation as a passionate, kind, knowledgeable advocate for students and an advisor who is firmly committed to preparing her students for success in the competitive profession of Dietetics.

A truly special part of Daniela’s advising style is the way she prioritizes advising and mentoring. In reading her students’ letters and evaluation summary results, the words mentor and role model occur over and over. Students see her as a mentor because she goes to lengths to make them feel comfortable and safe. As Daniela explains, “Inclusive and caring environments allow students with differing ideas, backgrounds, and experiences to feel supported and valued. Likewise, inclusive environments allow students to open up and have meaningful conversations with me about their academic, career, and life goals. When meaningful conversations occur, students are more likely to achieve higher levels of academic and personal success.”

Daniela prides herself on knowing campus and community resources that can help her students. She encourages her students to participate in Study Away programs to strengthen their cultural competence. She encourages her students to participate in Citizenship and Service Learning because, “Working in the community enhances their critical thinking and communication skills while teaching them the importance of addressing civic/societal issues.”

The program director for Dietetics, Sarah Murray, describes Daniela’s role in this way, “You often see her mentoring other faculty and sharing her ideas for success.” Sarah goes on to say, “She is a natural educator and mentor—inside and outside of the classroom. She serves her students and the University with high academic advisement standards, knowledge of the campus, and commitment to student success.”

Staff: Jessica R. Bendure, Education

Jessica R. Bendure excels in a challenging position as academic advisor to about 450 advisees who are pursuing teacher certification in Early Childhood, Elementary Education, Middle School, and Special Education. Jessica also advises new first-year students at Student Orientation, Advisement and Registration (SOAR), meets with transfer students and prospective students who are interested in teaching, teaches a First Year Foundations course specifically for first generation education majors, and serves as a partner for the College of Education Living and Learning Community.

Jessica works hard to build relationships with her students. She clearly connects strong advising relationships with student success and retention. “One of my favorite aspects of the job of advising is building relationships. I firmly believe that it makes a difference in a student’s perspective on college choice and retention of students. I genuinely love getting to know a person and for that reason I am purposeful in knowing something special or unique about each advisee. Students are always amazed when I remember where they work or what is going on with their family. This level of personalization also builds rapport and trust which is important to attain.”

Jessica describes her approach to advising, “As a professional academic advisor, I believe my work to be a form of teaching critical and creative thinking about a person’s future. I want the advisee to learn how to navigate the university system in a confident, self-reliant manner. I am here to provide accurate information that will guide the student in the right direction and help them reflect on interests and skills, and think critically about goals. When I advise students, I aspire to provide students with a welcoming, supportive and inclusive environment that inspires candid conversation.”

Jessica describes her favorite part of her role, “What I value most about working with students is the chance to be a witness to a very exciting time in a person’s life. College is full of opportunities to mesh past knowledge and experiences with new knowledge and experiences. Whether the student is a traditional college student leaving home for the first time or a non-traditional student returning to college after many years it is certain that college will bring about a change in the person’s life and as the advisor I am able to witness the process of an advisee growing.”