Kristin Brewster , curricular outreach program coordinator in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, is the recipient of the National Academic Advising Association’s Region 3 Award for Excellence in Advising – New Advisor.
The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated outstanding qualities associated with academic advising of students or academic advising administration. The NACADA Region 3 is made up of Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. To accept her award, Brewster will be travelling to the NACADA Region 3 Conference in Charleston on March 18 to be recognized at an awards luncheon.
“I’m really enjoying this opportunity to learn and grow as an educator,” Brewster said. “Advising has been a great way for me to connect with students to learn about issues that they face daily and about the ways I can make their transition from high school to college a bit easier.”
In her position, Brewster has her hands in a little bit of everything. Currently, she teaches a section of Engineering 101 (Engineering Problem Solving I) and two sections of Engineering 155 (Spatial Visualization). In addition, she advises between 150-200 students each semester.
“I would describe my advising approach as more teaching than anything, as not one method works with every student. Since I work with primarily freshmen students there is much that they don’t know about how to find information and utilize it.”
When describing Brewster’s advising strategy, Robin Hensel, assistant dean for freshman experience in the Statler College, commended, “Kristin advises the whole person, not just the academic record presented.”
As part of her responsibilities, Brewster acts as liaison between the WVUTeach Program and the Statler College to help interested students become certified K-12 teachers while earning their engineering degrees. She also works to foster the growth of K-12 engineering education throughout the state, specifically working with K-12 educators who teach elementary engineering concepts in their classrooms.
“The WVUTeach program is a way for students earning a STEM degree to pursue teaching certification in an area of high need, especially in the state of West Virginia,” explained Brewster. “Whether engineering students realize it or not, teaching is a large part of what they do, and the WVUTeach program helps to strengthen those communication skills that students will be using on a daily basis.”
In her first year as a new advisor, Brewster eagerly stepped up and took on even more responsibility when the lead advisor position needed to be filled.
“Kristin brings her passion for excellence, creativity, organization, preparation and energy to everything she does,” said Hensel. “She stays abreast of the continually changing academic requirements as well as current research about this generation of student, so she can advise correctly, compassionately and appropriately.”
Brewster also serves as a partner with the Engineering Living Learning Community, where she works to help freshmen engineering students find tutoring services to promote academic success and plans events that focus on teamwork, problem solving and networking. She also assists with New Student Orientation and Welcome Week activities, holds evening advising workshops and maintains advising hours in residence hall for students’ convenience.
“My favorite part about my job is interacting with students on a daily basis,” said Brewster. “I love hearing about their experiences in the program so that I can try to make the experience better for future students!”