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Member Spotlight | June 2024

Introducing our Member Spotlight, where we celebrate outstanding individuals making significant contributions either on their campus, within their field, or to the MIACADA organization itself. Each spotlight showcases a member who stands out for their dedication and impact. Discover more about their inspiring journey and the valuable work they do. Join us in recognizing these members for their outstanding contributions and commitment to advising. Have someone in mind for our next spotlight? Nominate them today!

Introducing Robert Hellar, Academic Services Officer at Wayne State University, our June 2024 Member Spotlight!

What has your career path been like up to this point?

I have been at Wayne State University (WSU) for 27 years. I started as a student assistant in the Department of Psychology and the time came for me to get off my parent’s insurance, so I applied for a receptionist job in the Department of English. I transitioned to a job doing teaching contracts. I then became an administrative assistant in the College of Nursing working for the Dean, where I eventually began to recruit and advise graduate students. When I started, I worked with 40 students and when I left I had over 300 students. I moved to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and have been there for 11 years. I have since earned a master’s degree in educational psychology from WSU.

I also teach and am a part time faculty in the mortuary science program. WSU is one of the few bachelor’s programs in the country. I have a degree in biology with an emphasis in anatomy. I teach anatomy and have a cadaver lab. 

What brings you joy outside of work?

Outside of work I enjoy camping. I used to enjoy sports and playing hockey and softball, but recently retired from sports. We camp every weekend from April to October and have a seasonal spot at a campground here in Michigan. 

What has been the highlight of your experience with MIACADA so far?

I have been a member for years, but not an active member. I went to a conference when WSU hosted, and I volunteered working registration. I had such a great time connecting with advisors across the state and collaborating on techniques and ideas. That has got me more involved in NACADA where I served on two regional planning committees. I enjoy seeing how people network, connect, and collaborate and it has inspired me to get more involved. 

What would you share with folks considering applying for a regional conference grant?

If you have the opportunity, do so! I have met advisors ins Regions 5&6 from North/South Dakota and Canada. I would never cross paths with these folks in my life. The conference experience was excellent. There were 65 breakout sessions and an amazing keynote. There are a lot of topics of interest to different advisors (adult learners, LGBT, etc.). There was also an opportunity to network and even do state meet ups. I was even able to meet with advisors who are looking for mortuary science and share with them that we had an online program that they could share with their students. 

It was my first time ever applying for a grant. I was scared thinking it was too much work. It     was so simple. People should take advantage of it. It helps with funding and allows you to take advantage of professional development. 

What advice do you have for new advisors?

I would tell them not to be afraid to ask questions. I tell my students, don’t act like you know everything because the worst thing you can do is give wrong information. There are still things after 27 years that I don’t know, and I have to ask students to come back after I’ve looked into it.

Find a mentor. I’ve had several in my career who have molded me. They have helped with advising, professional development, and personal development. Some of those relationships will last forever.

Member Award Winners

Margaret MacKeverican, Academic Advisor at Wayne State University, has been awarded the 2024 MIACADA Academic Advising Award - Primary Role! Her dedication and commitment to student success have earned her this recognition. Congratulations to Margaret on this well-deserved honor!

MIACADA Advising Awards Information

Philip Himebaugh, an Academic Advisor from Ferris State University, has been awarded the title of "Best in State" at the 2024 MIACADA Annual Conference! Philip's captivating presentation, "Motivational Interviewing for Academic Advisors," not only caught the eye of attendees but also earned him this recognition. Despite it being his first MIACADA Annual Conference, Philip's expertise and delivery left a lasting impression on attendees!


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