The School of Undergraduate Studies was well-represented at this year’s President’s Staff Awards ceremony. Five staff members were given the Outstanding Staff Award, which honors those who have made significant contributions to the university.
- Alexia Apollo, Senior Academic Advisor, Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling
- Lynn Chang, Career Counselor, Vick Center for Strategic Advising & Career Counseling
- Jess Miner, Senior Program Coordinator and Curriculum Specialist, Center for the Core Curriculum
- Erin Thomas, Associate Academic Advisor, Bridging Disciplines Programs
- Kristin Tommey, Communications and Marketing Manager, Dean’s Office
Additionally, Dean Brent Iverson was on hand to congratulate the school’s recipients. “I am very aware of the phenomenal staff we have working in Undergraduate Studies,” Iverson said. “This acknowledgment sends a strong message about how devoted these employees are to the important and student-centered work they do. Considering the relatively small number of staff in UGS, being presented with five of these awards is fitting recognition of the ways in which we help students navigate the university.” Three Undergraduate Studies staff members won the award last year.
About the Winners
Alexia is a senior academic advisor in the Vick Center and has been helping students find their majors since the center opened in 2009. Alexia created and facilitates the training for all new advisors and advising interns, manages the center’s First-year Interest Groups, and coordinates the center’s summer orientation programs.
“Alexia is a strong, outstanding advisor who is extremely student-focused and goes the extra mile, whether she’s helping a student, assisting with a UGS production like Research Week or volunteering for a large UT event like graduation,” said Melva Harbin, academic advising coordinator in the Vick Center. “She’s a perfectionist, but in the best way possible. She provides the very best information available, whether it’s for the students she’s advising or the people she’s supervising.”
Lynn is a career counselor in the Vick Center, where she helps students across UT explore career possibilities. Additionally, she supervises graduate students in a counseling internship placement and serves as the career assessment coordinator.
“Lynn has a profound level of caring and appreciation for students that is deeply infused in her everyday moments at the Vick Center,” said Lynne Levinson, career counseling coordinator in the Vick Center. “She is very “zen” about her work.”
Jess works with faculty across campus to oversee the implementation of the flags into their courses and to work with them to improve teaching in these areas. She oversees the flags in Ethics and Leadership; Cultural Diversity in the United States; Global Cultures; and Quantitative Reasoning.
“A look at other universities makes it clear just how challenging it is to implement a meaningful, across-the-curriculum ethics requirement,” said Jeanette Herman, assistant dean for academic initiatives and director for the Bridging Disciplines Programs. “Because of Jess’s persistent, thoughtful, and diplomatic work with faculty and departments across the university, we are on the verge of successfully doing that at UT.”
Erin was an academic advisor for the Bridging Disciplines Programs. She also served as alumni coordinator for all of the BDP certificates and created the BDP newsletter, The Bridge.
“Erin distinguished herself as an advisor by thinking beyond the classroom to internship, research, and career opportunities for her students based on the specific subject matter of her BDPs,” said Herman. “In so doing, she provided an exceptional experience for her students and makes this huge university seem personalized and individualized for their interests.”
Erin recently transitioned to a position at the Cockrell School of Engineering working as a development specialist for the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
Kristin is the Communications and Marketing Manager in the School of Undergraduate Studies dean’s office. She designs promotional materials, maintains the school website, and manages Wayfinder, a major and career exploration tool for current and prospective students.
“Kristin is always innovating ways to showcase what the School of Undergraduate Studies does,” said Lara Harlan, director of communication and special projects for Undergraduate Studies. “She has an impressive drive to learn new things, train herself to use new tools, and then apply those skills to her job and to the work of improving our communications. The school and our students benefit from her attention to all we do.”