Seeing students at West Virginia University overcome obstacles and follow through to success is what motivates two academic advisers.
Julien Nguyen, an adviser with University College, and Elizabeth Levelle, a teaching assistant professor in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology, have both received this year’s Nicholas Evans Award for Advising.
Nguyen, who received the professional adviser category, said it’s the end goal of watching students accomplish their dreams that keeps him involved with student advising.
“I believe that to show excellence in advising that an adviser must have a desire to help students,” he said. “The success of my students and seeing that I am making a difference in their lives excites and inspires me. So, when they are successful, I also feel like I am successful because I had a hand in their successes.”
Nguyen, who was born and raised in Saigon, Vietnam, immigrated to the United States with his family in 1991. He received his bachelor’s and master’s in social work from WVU. He has spent nearly a decade advising undergraduate students. And his success often stems from having a close relationship with his advisees.
“It is imperative to establish good relationships with my advisees. Maintaining often and professional contact with them encourages my students to strive to reach their goals and to remember to study,” he said.
Levelle, who received the faculty adviser category, uses advising as an opportunity to make students more well-rounded.
“For undergraduate students, the college years are a time of increasing self-knowledge and self-definition,” she said. “As they learn to shoulder adult tasks and choices, they learn so much about their skills, talents, interests, and motivations. It is a daunting and exciting time.”
Levelle earned her Ph.D. in life-span developmental psychology from WVU in 1997. She worked as an adviser for the Department of Psychology, where she advised roughly 200-300 students each semester. She currently teaches three classes each semester, supervises a multi-section course in psychology and shares an adviser role.
“I see my role as adviser as one who can help students look around the curve in the path of life and see how their college experiences can help them develop the skills they will need to be successful professionals,” she said. “These skills include being future oriented, developing initiative and dedication, seeing jobs through to completion, being strategic, learning how to deal with those in positions of authority, and much more – I am invested in the students and enjoy watching them become graduates.”
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