Award winners Shanna Leipzig and Andrea Poag

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Winners of 2023 Excellence in Professional Staff Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards announced

The second annual Excellence in Professional Staff Academic Advising Awards were announced at a ceremony on campus on Friday, May 19, 2023. The awards were established in 2022 to recognize the critical work of professional staff academic advisors and highlight their integral role in undergraduate students’ experiences and success at Cornell.

Criteria for the awards include demonstration of awareness, belonging, equity & inclusion; advisor development; intellectual curiosity and student development; interpersonal/human relations skills; and professional practices. Each award winner is presented with $2,500 for professional development.

A total of 19 nominations were received for 2023, with 11 moving forward in the final awards process. Nominations and supporting letters came from undergraduate students, co-workers, supervisors, direct reports, and faculty partners.

“I hope this communicates just how central of a role advisors play in the undergraduate student experience and the significance of the collaborative approach we all take to supporting our students’ success and wellbeing,” said Steph Cowling-Rich, Academic Advising Awards Celebration chair and Assistant Director of Student Advising and Engagement, and EOP/HEOP, OADI.

The 2023 award winners, introduced by vice provost for undergraduate education, Lisa Nishii, are Andrea Poag, Charles H. Dyson School for Applied Economics and Management, and Shanna Leipzig, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives.

Andrea Poag joined the newly created Dyson Office of Student Services and Advising in August 2017 after working as an Undergraduate Program Coordinator in the Cornell Department of Communication. She is a proud first-generation college graduate from North Carolina, and throughout her 25-year-plus professional career, she has been focused on creating a positive impact on the student experience with the understanding that each student’s needs are uniquely different.

Shanna Leipzig has worked at Cornell’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives in various roles since the beginning of 2019 and is thrilled to have the opportunity to support students as they work to achieve their academic, personal and career goals. A licensed educator in the state of Colorado, she is passionate about education and has worked in various educational capacities for over ten years including, amongst other things, teaching English and working for Quizlet Inc.

2023 Academic Advising Award nominees also included: Ryan DeLany, College of Engineering; Foula Dimopoulos, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives; Megan Gallagher, Office of Undergraduate Biology; Deanne Maxwell, College of Human Ecology; Erica Ostermann, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Alex Pizzola, College of Engineering; Gabbie Smith, Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives; Lauren Stulgis, College of Engineering; and Jennifer Wright, Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy.

Learn more about Cornell’s Professional Academic Advising Community (PAAC):

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