Success in college is key to thriving as a student and advisors at Utah State University play an important role in helping students navigate the challenges of course loads. And students at USU are succeeding thanks to advisors including College of Science Advisor Dani Lawrence and College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Advisor Kaylee Roholt, who both received national advising awards from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA).
Lawrence was named National Outstanding New Advisor of the Year and Roholt was named the National Outstanding Professional Advisor of the Year. NACADA is the nation’s leading organization for academic advising. Lawrence and Roholt were previously recognized in March with regional honors at the Region 10 Awards as New Advisor of the Year and Advisor of the Year.
NACADA Outstanding New Advisor of the Year
Dani Lawrence, Academic Advisor, College of Science
Lawrence serves as Undergraduate Advisor for USU’s Department of Biology, in which more than 650 undergraduate majors are currently enrolled. In her role, she advises students bound for graduate schools, including professional health programs, such as medical and dental school, as well as aspiring biology teachers for secondary schools.
“I hope my interactions with students fosters the trust to openly discuss their goals and challenges, enhance their ability to think creatively and critically about problem-solving and instill confidence to reach their highest potential,” Lawrence said.
With a colleague in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Lawrence was instrumental in initiating a peer tutoring center. With her Biology advisory colleague Samuel Rivera, she organizes the Biology Undergraduate Research Symposium each fall and spring to give new researchers an opportunity to present their projects.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Dani and her colleagues developed a virtual symposium experience this past spring on very short notice that was well-received by audiences on and off campus,” Diane Alston, head of USU’s Department of Biology says. “She is a strong advocate for Biology students’ education and mentoring needs, and an engaged member of Biology’s administrative team.”
NACADA Outstanding Professional Advisor of the Year
Kaylee Roholt, Academic Advisor, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences
A USU alumna, Roholt is an academic advisor to more than 400 students currently enrolled in professional pilot and aviation maintenance degree programs.
“In all my interactions with her, she has not only been professional and informative, but she’s cared for me and my education,” said Jake Vause, an aviation peer advisor and student in the aviation technology-professional pilot program.
Roholt’s work ethic is matched only by her compassion. Both traits have been demonstrated as the program has increased enrollment by more than 50% in the past five years, according to Bruce Miller, head of the Aviation and Technical Education division of USU’s School of Applied Sciences, Technology and Education and Roholt’s supervisor.
“I rely on her expertise to guide our students’ institutional interactions, be it with the financial aid, admissions, registrar, global engagement or the veteran’s affairs office,” Miller said. “Kaylee has assisted with including more than 35 international students, and her attention to detail benefits the students and the program due to the additional levels of documentation needed for international students pursuing flight training in the United States.”
USU advisors have been consistently recognized at a national level, being awarded national advisors of the year awards and certificate of merit awards from NACADA from 1986 onward. Roholt was previously awarded the NACADA New Advisor of the Year in 2015.
“Dani and Kaylee represent the best of USU advising through creating quality moments with students in co-designing academic and co-curricular plans to reach their goals,” said Mykel Beorchia, director of University Advising. “Advisors like Dani and Kaylee contribute to the advising community by sharing their strategies. They take advantage of the professional development opportunities and tools provided to them and implement them in planning successful academic careers with their students.”
University Advising offers professional development and training to advisors in all USU campuses and departments. Advisors often implement software tools such as Degree Works to work with students to plan a semester-by-semester path to graduation. Contact University Advising for more information.
The NACADA provides training, networking and funding for support of academic advising members. The association has over 11,000 members with 10 Regional Conferences.
Public Relations Specialist
College of Science
College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences