Unlocking Student Success: Importance of Academic Advising

Effective academic advising is key to connecting students’ academic opportunities with their future goals. It provides a supportive framework that helps students overcome obstacles and encourages personal growth, crucial for both academic success and career preparation. Hillary Stone, as the Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) Academic Advisor, has enhanced this role by establishing a proactive collaboration with students by utilizing a holistic advising approach. The small size of the MSE academic program facilitates deeper meaningful connections between the advisor and students, permitting a more tailored and engaging advising process. Hillary’s advising approach, which encompasses degree planning, experiential learning opportunities, time and stress management techniques, and other diverse aspects of college life, not only promotes students’ academic achievements but also cultivates a nurturing and inclusive environment within the department.

The Hillary Stone Method: Personalized Pathways to Success

Hillary’s method is simple yet profound: understand each student as an individual with unique goals, interests, and challenges. “Every student has a different story, a different dream. It’s my job to listen, understand, and help navigate their path to success,” Hillary explains. This personalized approach has proven to be a game-changer for many. By taking the time to delve into the specifics of each student’s aspirations, Hillary crafts tailored advice that aligns perfectly with their academic and career trajectories.

Hillary Stone, M.S.

Advice for Students for Your Academic Journey

  1. Be Open and Communicative: “The more I know about your ambitions and concerns, the better I can support you,” Hillary advises. Effective advising is a two-way street, built on trust and transparency.
  2. Embrace Opportunities: “Experiential learning opportunities are abundant, but it’s up to you to seize them,” says Hillary. She often highlights the myriad of research, leadership, internship, and study abroad opportunities students have available to them in the MSE Department and in the larger campus community.
  3. Build Relationships: “Our department events are more than just social get-togethers; they’re stepping stones to building your future,” Hillary points out. These events are prime opportunities to network with peers and faculty, learn about new developments, and feel more connected to the MSE community.
  4. Plan Ahead: “Look at the big picture; where you are, and where you want to go,” Hillary advises. Discussing multiple academic routes, whether that includes minors, research, study abroad, or an accelerated bachelor’s/master’s program, provides students with a clear path so that there are no surprises. 
  5. Be Proactive: “Ask for support before you need it and utilize the wealth of resources we have at our disposal,” Hillary encourages. Whether students need support with their academics, career aspirations, experiential learning opportunities, or connecting with the right people on campus, don’t hesitate to tap into these resources.

The enthusiastic cheers for Hillary at last year’s graduation underscore the profound impact a dedicated advisor like her can have on enhancing graduation rates and enriching the overall college experience. “It’s not just about the courses; it’s about building futures, one student at a time,” Hillary reflects. Prof. Yaroslava Yingling, Director of the MSE Undergraduate Program, remarked, “Hillary’s advising approach goes beyond simple class schedules and graduation requirements. She forms a partnership with students, genuinely recognizing their potential and dedicating herself to helping them fulfill it.” Recent graduate Ryan Ording commented “I think Hillary is the sole reason I’m graduating on time. She made enrollment fun.”

In Hillary Stone, students find more than an advisor; they find a mentor, a supporter, and a guide who is as invested in their success as they are. “Seeing my students succeed is the greatest reward of my job,” Hillary concludes. Her role in shaping the future of countless students serves as a shining example of what academic advising can and should be.