Member Spotlight | November 2023 - Getting to Know Andrew & Michelle
What are your individual roles at NMU and within planning the conference?
Andrew: I am a Senior Success Advisor for the School of Education, Leadership & Public Service, and the Center for Native American Studies. I am one of the conference co-chairs with Michelle Jacob for the 2024 MIACADA Conference. I worked with my supervisor to prepare and submit the proposal for Northern to be considered as the host of the conference and I am incredibly fortunate to work with Michelle. As they say, teamwork makes the dream work! It has been a fun process, and it has been great to hear the feedback and the excitement about the conference being hosted in Marquette.
Michelle: I am a Senior Success Advisor for Engineering Technology and Technology and Occupational Sciences. In terms of planning for the conference, Andrew is Batman and I am Robin. He has been the driving force to make this conference happen at NMU and I was fortunate that he asked me to assist moving forward. We have been able to bounce ideas off of each other and are really passionate about making this a memorable and successful event.
What has your career path been like up to this point?
Michelle: For most of my career I have been a college soccer coach at the NCAA Division II and III levels. After coaching, I did a little work in construction and then I worked for TRIO Pre-college Programs helping first generation and low-income students make their way to college. My three short years out of the collegiate environment make me realize how much I love working with college students and helping them achieve their goals. This made the position of the success advisor a perfect fit for me.
Andrew: I previously worked with the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program and, later, as a Graduate Advisor in the College of Business Graduate Office at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In addition, I worked as a Graduate Assistant in the Dean of Students Office at Northern Michigan University while working towards completing the Higher Education and Student Affairs graduate program. The time that I spent and the connections that I made while working in the Dean of Students Office really helped me connect to Northern Michigan University, Marquette and the surrounding communities, and the Upper Peninsula. When the opportunity presented itself to work as an academic advisor at Northern, it was an easy decision to work at my alma mater. Being able to support students along their journeys is a gratifying feeling.
What brings you joy outside of work?
Andrew: Spending time with family and friends. Exploring the Upper Peninsula; my favorite towns to visit include Calumet, Ontonagon, and Sault Ste. Marie. Going to Stucko's Pub & Grill in Marquette (one of the best spots in town, in my opinion). Cheering on my alma maters at sporting events (Go Cats! Go Blue!). And, most importantly, spending time with my Golden Retriever, Beau.
Michelle: I love being around my friends, girlfriend and dogs. We could literally be doing anything, nothing or everything. I have always appreciated a line I heard in a movie once, "fun is what you bring with you". Being outside, traveling, working with my hands and making people laugh brings me so much joy.
What has been the highlight of your experience with MIACADA so far?
Michelle: I'm pretty new to everything, but one thing that stands out is our recent Zoom meeting with MIACADA representatives. Just hearing the excitement and ideas from them was absolutely refreshing. They are wonderful people to connect with and just the general kindness and willingness to help is greatly appreciated.
Andrew: I first became a MIACADA member back in April prior to the NACADA Region 5 Conference in Windsor, Ontario. During the conference, I had the opportunity to connect with advisors from throughout the state of Michigan, surrounding states, and Ontario. It was nice to learn about the innovative ideas and approaches that advisors employ at their institutions. Winning the Canadian Trivia Quiz was a highlight. It was a lot of fun attending the Region 5 conference, so it was an easy decision to work towards hosting an advising conference here at Northern.
What are a few goals that you have for the conference?
Andrew: For advisors to get the most of their trip. With this being a "destination" conference, so to speak, I hope that individuals and their families make the most of their time here in Marquette and the Upper Peninsula. Whether it be hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, exploring restaurants, shops and museums in Marquette and the surrounding communities, or spending time along the shores of Lake Superior, there is plenty to do. Otherwise, another goal would be to see increased opportunities for collaboration between advisors in the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.
Michelle: We really want people to enjoy themselves and confirm that the trip was absolutely worthwhile. We hope everyone finds the conference educational, exciting and entertaining. If it's anyone's first time making the trip, we hope this will be the catalyst for people to come back for more.
What advice would you give to someone traveling to Marquette for the first time?
Michelle: First off, it's worth the long ride! Plan your bathroom and gas breaks accordingly. The people are welcoming, kind and worth striking up a conversation with. There's a million ways to spend your time here. Research what you like and go make it happen. You can't go wrong. Find the places you can't get back home and go to them while you're here! There's beaches, breweries, hiking, biking, great food, art and fun.
Andrew: Take time to explore the small towns and local businesses throughout the Upper Peninsula. I first visited Marquette in 2016 and I fell in love with the community and the Upper Peninsula right away. The Upper Peninsula truly is a special place and we feel fortunate to have the opportunity to host the 2024 MIACADA Conference, "Bridging Us Together".
Member Award Winner | 2023 NACADA Annual Awards
Jenny Lee, a member and Webmaster of MIACADA, received the 2023 NACADA Outstanding New Advisor Award in the Primary Role category at the NACADA Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida. She is an Academic Advisor at the University of Michigan School of Information in Ann Arbor, where she advises graduate students seeking to deliever innovative, elegant and ethical solutions connecting people, information and technology. Before assuming her current role, she was as an Academic Advisor in the School of Engineering and Computer Science at Oakland University in Rochester, MI. Jenny fervently believes in the transformative potential of advising as a teaching and learning model. It has strengthened her advising practices and deepened her relationships with her students, forming the bedrock of meaningful advising experiences. In reflecting on her path, Jenny expresses gratitude to her initial cohort of students at Oakland University. Those advising relationships enriched and reinforced her firm belief in the profound influence academic advising can wield in shaping a student's college experience. She would also like to thank her loved ones, mentors, and colleagues for supporting her along her academic advising journey.