Two Virginia Tech faculty members were recognized for outstanding academic advising by the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) at its 2017 annual conference held in St. Louis, Missouri, in October. 

Gordon Yee was awarded the Outstanding Advising Award – Faculty Academic Advising. Yee serves as the associate professor of inorganic chemistry and director of undergraduate programs for the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science.

Daniel Marron, a chemistry student, wrote in a letter of support: “Since coming to Virginia Tech, I, like many millennials my age, have suffered a myriad of existential crises about my career plans. The time between these decisions was saturated with indecision, uncertainty, and most of all fear.”

Daniel continued: “Truthfully, I wanted someone to tell me what to do, and at first was errantly frustrated with Professor Yee for refusing me this comfort. However, I was surprised at the reflective value of discussing the uncertain and confronting the uncomfortable. He excels at helping students sort through their own minds by asking questions and patiently deciphering the answers until reaching a coherent conclusion.”

Marlena McGlothlin Lester was awarded the Outstanding Advising Award – Academic Advising Administrator. Marlena serves as the director of advising for the Department of Engineering Education in the College of Engineering.

“Her strong interpersonal skills have helped her be recognized as a strong leader within and outside our department and university,” wrote David Knight, assistant professor, assistant department head of graduate programs, and director of international engagement in the Department of Engineering Education, in a letter of support. “And most importantly, her support for students forms the foundation of everything she does — from traditional advising activities, to expanding the definition of 'advising,' to volunteering for extra high-impact practices like study abroad to serving on university committees and acting as a respectful, but fierce, advocate for undergraduates in those settings.”

NACADA is a representation and advocate of academic advising and those providing that service to higher education. You may read more about them on its website.

Written by Chenaye’ Blankenship.