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Spring 2021 Advisor Recognition

Jason Henderson

May 2021   |   Department of Engineering & Industrial Distribution

What do you enjoy most about working with students?
I enjoy being able to support and see the students transition from when they first begin working with us to college graduates who are ready to take on the next chapter of their lives.

How are you supporting and advancing Texas A&M University’s mission on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I think we are all looking at each and every situation to make sure that our policies and procedures create an environment that makes each of those a priority and that all of our students and staff are successful. Each student has their own unique circumstances and perspective’s that we must take into account when trying to assist them in reaching their goals.

What is one fun fact about you?
I am a lifelong Chicago Cubs Fan

What advice do you have for our Aggies this semester?
Enjoy the fall semester and take advantage of all the opportunities that you have available to you (this time goes by fast).  Ensure that your academics are at the top of your priority list and invest the time to be successful in all that you do.

What advice do you have for new academic advisors at Texas A&M?
Ask questions early and often. The advising community at TAMU is a great resource with people who are more than willing to assist you in your professional journey. We are all here to help you. 
 


Carissa Beamon

April 2021   |   Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

What do you enjoy most about working with students?
One of my favorite things about advising is when students find an interest or field of work that they either never knew existed or never thought about pursuing before. I love seeing their interests and passion evolve and grow as they progress through their academics. I thoroughly enjoy helping students find things they excel at and have interests in and helping them become young functioning professionals in today's world.

How are you supporting and advancing Texas A&M University’s mission on diversity, equity and inclusion?
Student's experiences, backgrounds, and cultures are all different. I tailor my advising to students based on their background, culture, needs, and lived experiences. This means my approach is often different for each student. I want my students to feel seen and heard during their time in my office. I regularly attend diversity training, and my office is an open and safe space that students can come and feel supported, accepted, and respected.

What is one fun fact about you?
I love reading books. Fantasy, Fiction, Supernatural, or anything that creates worlds and builds on those worlds are fascinating (how Ravenclaw of me)! I am currently reading the Empirium Trilogy by Clare Legrand. My love for storytelling probably also explains my excitement for all things Disney and Taylor Swift as well.

What advice do you have for our Aggies this semester?
Don't be afraid to ask for help! If you don't know where to turn to and need help, you can always reach out to your advisors. We are here to help direct you to the appropriate resources, and we are always happy to be a listening ear and nonbiased party if you need assistance. We want you to succeed!

What advice do you have for new academic advisors at Texas A&M?
Get involved in the advising activities on campus and make friends with your fellow advisors! Advising can be a chaotic world, and having connections with other advisors can be a tremendous help. Getting involved in advising activities will be beneficial to you and allow you to create critical connections to the advising world!



Shari K. Chambers

March 2021   |   Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts

What do you enjoy most about working with students?
My favorite part about working with students is getting to build relationships with them. Having a deeper understanding of my students enables me to guide them toward their goals and help them recognize their strengths and weaknesses. I am a mama bear in the office and I try to treat every student as I treat my own kids. I am understanding, compassionate, and real with them but I also make sure to hold them accountable because I want them to be successful contributing members of society. I also have the privilege of being the “go to” for our military affiliated students, which is an absolute joy for me, and I am a better person and a more effective advisor with each interaction. There is laughter, tears, frustration, hard work, (snacks) and perseverance every day in my office. Advisors are fortunate to be in a position to help shape and/or guide the future one student at a time.

How are you supporting and advancing Texas A&M University’s mission on diversity, equity and inclusion?
It is my hope that every student that walks in to my office, my zoom room, and my email correspondence feels a sense of peace, belonging, and home. I have done trainings, read extensively, and often look very closely at myself and whom I want to be in order to maintain and atmosphere of acceptance in my presence.

What is one fun fact about you?
A fun fact about me is that my interests all over the place. One minute I could be making a wedding cake or binge watching serial killer documentaries (don’t judge, the human mind is fascinating), or making the most over the top homecoming mums or I could be sitting in a deer stand for hours. It all depends on the day.

What advice do you have for our Aggies this semester?
My advice to all students this semester was do not be afraid to reach out. There is no weakness in attaining the knowledge necessary to succeed. We have a large department and with everything being virtual due to the “2020/2021 apocalypse”, our appointments and drop-ins fill up fast, leaving students a window for stress and panic. There is no need to panic we are one email away. We are here to help your time at TAMU go as smoothly as possible. I do not care how many times you ask me the same question; keep asking it until I find a way to answer it in a way that you understand. Help me help you.

What advice do you have for new academic advisors at Texas A&M?
My advice to new advisors at Texas A&M is to lean on your fellow advisors, do not try to do this alone. We have amazing teams all across this campus and we are a wealth of knowledge. As the veteran liaison in my department, I would like to urge new advisors (all advisors) to familiarize yourself with this unique population, and the resources placed on campus designed to address their needs and promote their success. Our military affiliated population often check several boxes such as, first generation, nontraditional, freshmen, transfer, parenting, minority, etc. Do not assume they know all the ins and outs of higher education, or that they are broken or damaged in any way, or even that they want to be associated with fellow military affiliated students. Instead, look for the amazing and unique qualities they bring to our campus. Finally, find a silver lining each day, there will be times when the level of compassion fatigue is overwhelming; these days you must find the humor in it all. If you ever struggle to find your smile, give me a call or shoot me an email and I will find it for you.
 

Rachel Ball

February 2021  |  Marine Biology & Marine and Coastal Environmental Science Department, Texas A&M University at Galveston

What do you enjoy most about working with students?
I enjoy being a part of their journey. It's so fulfilling to watch them grow and know that I was a part of their success. My absolute favorite part of the job is getting to know each of them on a personal level. I love learning about their various backgrounds and listening to their hopes and dreams. I think this next generation is working hard to make this a better world.

How are you supporting and advancing Texas A&M University’s mission on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I am currently teaching a Hullabaloo U course for Transfer Students in Galveston. Through this course, I hope to help students feel more connected and excited to be a part of the Sea Aggie family. I am also currently working with our local community college on an NSF grant to provide advising and workshops for Hispanic students entering into STEM education at Texas A&M University at Galveston.

What is one fun fact about you?
One fun fact about me is that I am a cruise enthusiast. I've been on 15+ cruises and can't wait to go on more someday! Disney Cruises are my current favorite : )

What advice do you have for our Aggies this semester?
My advice to Aggies for the spring semester is to follow your dreams! Let your passion be your guide. When you feel like you want to give up, think about what you want to ultimately achieve and let that give you the strength to keep going! You got this!

What advice do you have for new academic advisors at Texas A&M?
My advice to new advisors would be to know that you're going to fail and that's ok. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. What matters is that you learn from those mistakes and keep going. I truly believe in progress over perfection!


Neva Hughes

January 2021  |  Transition Academic Programs

What do you enjoy most about working with students?
For those of you who don't know, I handle the students in THRIVE which is a program that  is designed to assist students to get "back on track" academically. Every single day is something new. I have laughed and cried with my students. I have celebrated their small wins and been there to support them when they suffer a defeat. I enjoy watching them "light up" when they find something that they are passionate about.

How are you supporting and advancing Texas A&M University’s mission on diversity, equity and inclusion?
I believe every student has a story, as we all do. I embrace their heritage and  the lessons the students have taught me about their upbringing. I never take for granted that every student is cut from the same mold. I feel that they have known from the beginning that I am the "safe zone." They have shared their innermost secrets and fears and it becomes more evident that we all need to work together to make everybody feel included.

What is one fun fact about you?
I am a Disney freak.  Most of my students know that.  (It is all over my office.)  I have participated in the Run Disney Princess weekends every year since 2017.  I participate in the 5k on Friday, 10K on Saturday and Half Marathon on Sunday.  If you ever have the opportunity to do it in person, DO IT!  I will be doing it virtually this February.

What advice do you have for our Aggies this semester?
I am hopeful for our future.  I am hoping that things will return to "normal" sometime in 2021. I am a hugger. It kills me not to be able to give hugs and tell them it is going to be okay.

What advice do you have for new academic advisors at Texas A&M? 
Without being redundant and following all the previous recipients, listen. It sometimes is in non-verbal communication that they [students] are telling you things. We are here to help and give encouragement but I am also not afraid to not sugar coat things. Every single one of my students says they appreciate that I don't sugar coat anything.