Innovation award recognizes heroic advising during the pandemic

Twenty-seven employees with student services or academic advising roles are recipients of Iowa State's Innovation and Exceptional Advising During COVID Award. The recognition, organized in the provost's office, honors employees who "went above and beyond in their academic advising from spring 2020 through fall 2021" in response to the COVID-19 world pandemic.

Last month, associate deans nominated advisors from their colleges for the award. The award distribution reflects each college's ratio among all P&S academic advisors at the university.

"There are many deserving advisors. This award recognizes advisors who may be unsung heroes, who went above and beyond expectations, who found novel ways to engage with their advisees and help them navigate through the uncertainty and changes that COVID brought to campus," wrote associate provost Ann Marie VanDerZanden in the call for nominations. Excellence could include both virtual and in-person advising, she noted.

Each recipient receives a $1,000 award. A generous donor provided the funds to support advisor innovation and excellence.

Below are the recipients of the Innovation and Exceptional Advising During COVID Award, with an excerpt from their nomination:

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Amy Brandau, economics
    "Amy cares about each student's well-being and inspires her advisees to be the best all-around. Her skills and diligence were on full display as she creatively attended to individual student needs and well-being to help them endure the challenges caused by COVID-19."
  • John Burnett, natural resource ecology and management
    "John is a dedicated advisor who is especially well known for his work with learning communities and retaining struggling students."
  • Kelsey Powell, animal science
    "Kelsey's individual attention and dedication to student well-being has made a significant impact on the daily lives of ISU students during the uncertain and difficult time of the pandemic."

Ivy College of Business

  • Stephanie Larson and Michele Tapp, undergraduate student services
    "During the COVID-19 pandemic, Stephanie and Michele were able to balance very demanding advising loads while leading important business functions and staff supervision within the Ivy undergraduate programs office."
  • Kelly Pistilli, undergraduate student services
    "In all facets of her work, but especially in Honors student advising and orientation, Kelly strives to provide all students with outstanding support, while also encouraging them to take on new challenges and opportunities."

College of Design

  • Malinda Cooper, landscape architecture
    "Malinda demonstrates sustained excellence in undergraduate advising."

College of Engineering

  • Matt Brown, chemical and biological engineering
    "Matt has gone above and beyond to build relationships with his advisees during the pandemic and to continue to provide our students with as many opportunities as possible to learn more about the chemical engineering profession."
  • Brad Eilers, aerospace engineering
    "Brad seamlessly led a team advising more than 900 students through a dramatically changing role during the pandemic, while continuing to personally support his own students."
  • Jason Follett, Engineering student services
    "Jason managed to keep us afloat in a very student-centric manner despite significant advisor transitions."
  • Lindsay Frueh, agricultural and biosystems engineering
    "She has a single-minded focus on student needs and the infrastructure required to support those needs."
  • Mindy Heggen, mechanical engineering
    "Mindy found a way to meet students where they were when they needed it most during the pandemic."
  • Andrea Klocke, materials science and engineering
    "Andrea is a foundational stone to MSE undergraduate students."
  • Brandi Moormann, civil, construction and environmental engineering
    "Brandi co-developed and taught a new learning community in a new major during the difficult fall 2020 semester, all while maintaining her outstanding advising."
  • Ashley Morton, Engineering student services
    "Ashley has gone above and beyond to support our engineering students during the challenging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on student success."
  • Jessie Neal, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering
    "Jessie developed and implemented an advising process that enhances students' remote onboarding experiences."

College of Human Sciences

  • Liz Harris, human development and family studies
    "Liz demonstrated admirable leadership in helping her department navigate several changes through the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably a departmental name change."
  • Stacey Wertzberger, apparel, events and hospitality management
    "Despite major departmental staff turnover, Stacey has prioritized the support and success of her students throughout the COVID-19 pandemic."
  • Marsha Wissink, kinesiology
    "Marsha has provided exemplary leadership for her staff within the COVID-19 pandemic -- and long before."

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

  • Whitney Baker, psychology
    "Whitney went above and beyond in structuring ways for students to help their peers successfully navigate their academics during the COVID pandemic."
  • Taylor Anne Barriuso, communications
    Patrick Johnson, English, communication studies
    Christiana Langenberg, women's and gender studies, communications
    "Each made an above-and-beyond effort to continue face-to-face advising to support their students not only during the COVID pandemic, but also when Ross Hall was closed due to the fire."
  • Lauren Henry, computer science
    "Lauren found ways to engage prospective students during a pandemic and increase the incoming class significantly."
  • Sarah Wehner, biology
    "Sarah developed and generously shared new advising tools to facilitate more successful virtual registration appointments."
  • Elizabeth Zimmerman, natural and physical sciences
    "Elizabeth made sure the summer 2020 orientation was a successful experience for new students."

College of Veterinary Medicine

  • Monica Howard, veterinary student success
    "Her knowledge of the college and its students, combined with her unwavering commitment to student success, make her a truly outstanding and effective advisor."