DAVIS, Calif.; October 14, 2016–A UC Davis College of Engineering advisor focused on helping first-generation college students has been recognized as the 2016-17 Campus Outstanding New Advisor. Since Laura Hackett’s arrival at the college in 2015, she has advised students in the Leadership in Engineering Advancement, Diversity and Retention (LEADR) Program.
After being nominated by her colleagues and students, the Outstanding New Advisor Award was selected by a committee of advisors. Hackett is universally described as kind and caring and many students say she treats them like her own children.
Hackett received a bachelor’s degree in biology and society from Cornell University in 2012. Directly after completing her master’s in Counseling-Student Affairs and College Counseling from California State University, Fresno she joined the UC Davis College of Engineering.
Tanya Whitlow, LEADR Program Director, says of Hackett, “Students gravitate to her for support and advice, which is provided with true attention to their individual cases and she often tells them, ‘I’ll be whatever you want me to be – your advisor, cheerleader or shoulder to cry on.'”
College of Engineering Undergraduate Advisor and International Academic Counselor, Jordan Dade, pointed out that Hackett has an inherent gift for working with students who are unfamiliar with college life saying, “she is the perfect balance of approachable and knowledgeable…her energy is endearing, her analytical mind is sharp, and her intuition is right on.”
One engineering student described how Hackett saved her from being dismissed from the college. Hackett met her after being put on academic probation and the student says, “I was crying like there was no tomorrow and I thought it would maybe be too much for her since it was a first meeting.” But she says Hackett instead became her support system. And in Spring 2016 when the student was facing a recommendation for dismissal, Hackett helped her get through a Summer Session class and turn an F grade into a B.
Students also commented that Hackett has an ability to call out their potential and recognize their strengths. Other students say without Hackett’s help they would have changed their engineering major or conversely had difficulty switching into an engineering major.
This is the second year the UC Davis Office of Undergraduate Education has given the Campus Outstanding New Advisor Award. The recipient is selected from a group of advisors nominated across the UC Davis campus. Hackett is now eligible to be nominated for a regional and global advisor award through NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.
–By Kelley Weiss