I would like to welcome all the first year students to FAU and all the upper class students back. I am in my 6th year as Associate Dean for University Advising Services (UAS) and we have been very busy making changes to the academic advising model in UAS. Every student who is supported through our office is assigned a personal academic advisor and career coach. In addition, should you have some academic difficulty and end up on academic probation, you would also have a personal success coach assigned to work with you throughout the semester.
Our advising model is called APPRECIATIVE ADVISING and looks like this:
All our academic advisors in UAS have gone through extensive training in the model and have earned their certification in Appreciative Advising. If you are interested in learning more about the model, I would love to meet you and walk you through how we use it to support our students at FAU.
I join you from Cincinnati Ohio and Miami University (of Ohio). I have over 30 years of advising and retention experience working with students of all majors and backgrounds. First and foremost, I am a student advocate. In an effort to DISCOVER the campus and our students, I lived in a first year residence hall my first on campus. It was a great experience and allowed me the opportunity to live with some of our first year students.
Students often struggle with choosing a major when attending college. While the decision is important, it is not nearly as limiting as many students believe. Students fall into the trap of believing the myth that a major = a career in certain areas. For the majority of majors and careers, that = sign is not the case. In an effort to get to know you and to have an opportunity to talk with you about your DREAMS for your future and how best to DESIGN a path to reach it.
Liz was born and raised in western Pennsylvania and came to FAU via northern New York. She has professional experience in both higher education and in community mental health and has been at FAU since 1998. She holds two master’s degrees: Student Affairs & Enrollment Management in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and Counseling Psychology from Slippery Rock University. In her spare time, Liz enjoys photography, traveling, and cooking. Liz coordinates the First Year Experience classes
Kirk started working part-time for Freshman Academic Advising Services (now known as University Advising Services) in 1989 while pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Business Management and Master's Degree in Business Administration at FAU. Kirk is currently an Associate Director of Foundation & Associate Completion Specialist & Technology for University Advising Services. He is commonly known as the "office computer guru" for any software and hardware issues. His hobbies include traveling, computers, web designing, and involvement within the community through local non-profit organizations, and especially spending time with his wife & family of four daughters, one son & five grandchildren. Kirk is the liaison to the Schmidt College of Science.
Mary Downing is the Associate Director of the University Honors Program and also works with retention and academic intervention programs and liaison to the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters. Before joining the University Advising Services team, she worked in higher education serving students in a variety of areas, such as student accounts, student jobs, residence life, and housing and was an Adjunct Instructor. Mary Downing earned her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Belhaven University and received her Master of Arts in Higher Education from Geneva College. In her free time, Mary Downing enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, and finding great local places to eat.
Morgyn is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services. Originally from Cincinnati, OH, she attended the University of Kentucky, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Wanting a change of scenery and a new adventure, Morgyn applied to the Florida Atlantic University’s Master of Higher Education Leadership program where she completed her Master’s degree in 2016. She has been with FAU ever since! Outside of higher education, Morgyn enjoys reading, running, UK basketball, University of Michigan football, and exploring the different and exciting opportunities South Florida has to offer.
Rebecca joined the UAS team as a coordinator for Academic Programs after completing graduate school. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Florida International University and a Master of Education in Higher Educational Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. She worked in a variety of departments as a graduate student at FAU such as the Career Center and the Center for Student Learning and Success. She is also a member of the higher education honor society, Chi Sigma Alpha. Rebecca loves helping students reach their fullest potential. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, writing, binge-watching TV shows on Netflix and movies.
Dalel is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services (UAS). She co-manages the Pre Law University Services initiative (PLUS) with Joe Murray and serves as pre-law advisor. She also serves as UAS liaison to the College of Arts and Letters. Dalel earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Florida, her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami, and her Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. Her higher education experience includes recruitment and admissions, career services, student affairs, and advising. Before transitioning to education, Dalel practiced litigation in Florida for five years. When she is not advising students, she is working on her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research Methodology at FAU…or cooking!
Heather Smith is a coordinator of academic programs with University Advising Services and joined the UAS team in March of 2018. She previously worked at FAU in the Student-Athlete Center for Academic Excellence as an Athletic Academic Counselor for the football and beach volleyball teams as well as coordinating the tutorial program. Prior to FAU, Smith was in a similar role in athletics at Eastern Michigan University. A Midwestern native, Smith earned her bachelor’s degree in sports administration from Ball State University in 2011 and her master’s degree in sports management from Eastern Michigan University in 2013. In her free time, she enjoys attending sporting events and Broadway shows, exploring South Florida and spending time with her family and friends.
Heinz Alfredo Fernandez is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services and joined the UAS team August of 2020. He previously worked at FAU in the Department of Housing and Residential Education as a Residential Education Coordinator in Indian River Towers, overseeing the academic and professional development of First Year students. Originally from Miami, FL, he attended Florida State University for his Bachelor of Science degree in Criminology. Immediately after graduating, he came to pursue his Master of Education degree in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University. During his Master’s program, Heinz was a Graduate Assistant with the Urban Male Initiative and The Mentoring Project. During this time, Heinz stayed engaged in campus life by presenting at the iLead and WeLead conferences and joining Alpha Psi Lambda Co-Ed Latin Fraternity. Heinz is a student advocate and is passionate about student development. As a First-Generation Latino, he understands the pressure of navigating college and wants to help others navigate that experience to avoid the pitfalls he encountered during his time. He is currently going through the Ph.D. program in Higher Education Leadership at FAU and hopes to one day become a Dean. In his spare time, Heinz enjoys reading comic books (Marvel & DC), watching his alma mater’s play football (Go Noles & Go Owls!), and enjoying time with friends and family.
Chris is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services (UAS). His higher education experience includes recruitment and admissions, financial aid, athletics, tuition & billing, and advising. Chris earned a Bachelor of Science degree in both Finance and Real Estate from Florida State University and a Master of Science in Higher Education Administration from Florida State University. In his spare time, you can find Chris working on his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Research Methodology at FAU.
Nick Jones is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services and joined the UAS team in January of 2022. Nick grew up in rural Wisconsin and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater from Southern Illinois University, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati – College Conservatory of Music in Costume Design and Technology. Nick has served in several roles in higher education, including instruction, program, and academic advising. In his free time, Nick loves being outdoors and is an avid hiker.
Natasha is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services. She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education and earned her Masters of Education in Higher Education Leadership at Florida Atlantic University. Some of her previous experiences include Career Development and Housing and Residential Education. She also interned with University Advising Services. During her graduate studies, she discovered her passion for helping students obtain their educational goals. During her free time, Natasha enjoys spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and exercising.
Michelle Murry is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services and joined the UAS team in June 2022. She’s originally from Franklin, Tennessee and attended the University of Tennessee, Knoxville where she earned both her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Master of Science in College Student Personnel. Her higher education experience includes career services, academic advising, and academic coaching. Outside of work, Michelle loves to read, travel, and spend time with her dog, Stella. You will likely find her wherever the coffee is and if so – please say hello!
Amber is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services. Originally from Fort Myers, Florida, she attended Florida Gulf Coast University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Being a first-time generation student and a commuter student, Amber prides herself in helping students feel connected and on track during their college experience. Outside of higher education, she enjoys health and fitness, podcasting, and spending quality time with her family.
Dr. Jess E. Tuck serves as the Executive Director of the ACCESS Coaching Center and University Advising Services. Dr. Tuck was the Project Director of FAU's U.S. Department of Education Title III Grant from October 2010 to September 2016. He was also an Adjunct Instructor with University Advising Services and FAU Global Student Success Program (GSSP). Dr. Tuck's experience began at FAU in 2003 advising freshmen and sophomores with undeclared majors, providing guidance to students through developmental advising strategies. Dr. Tuck received a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership: Higher Education from FAU, where his dissertation topic was Students' preference for online versus face-to-face academic advising based on individual learning styles. He received a M.Ed. in Counselor Education, also from FAU. Dr. Tuck attended SUNY Plattsburgh and holds a B.A. in Sociology.
Abdula is originally from the Bahamas and holds Bachelor's Degrees in Accounting from Florida Metropolitan University and Nursing from Florida Atlantic University. Additionally, Abdula holds a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Florida Atlantic University. Abdula has been working at FAU since 2001 in academic advising and previously worked as a Coordinator of Academic Programs in the office of Freshman Academic Advising Services. While Abdula enjoys assisting students with course selections and adjusting to college life his hobbies/interests include traveling, technology, reading, theater, and music.
Monica earned her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and her Master of Education in Counseling. For nearly a decade she worked as a Defense Contractor in support of the Department of Defense and State Department. Through her extensive volunteer work, she realized that her true passion was to help others achieve their highest potential. She went into the counseling field and ultimately discovered her love of advisement and working with students. Currently, she works as the Assistant Director for Academic Coaching & Advising with the ACCESS Program. In addition to her work, Monica enjoys to travel, spend time with her family and friends, and dote on her Chihuahua.
Chandini earned both her Psychology, B.S. and her Counselor Education, M.A. (with a focus in Clinical Mental Health Counseling) from the University of Central Florida. She started working as a Peer Advisor in UCF’s Psychology Department during her undergrad and discovered her passion for helping students achieve their academic and career goals. Chandini worked simultaneously as an academic advisor and graduate student at UCF while completing her counseling internship in community mental health, focusing on trauma counseling, self-compassion, and mindfulness. Through these experiences, she recognized that she found the most fulfillment when working with students as a guide to help them on their academic and career journey. Outside of work, Chandini likes to spend her time with her family, and enjoys reading, writing, and dancing.
Allison grew up in upper east Tennessee and the Pacific Northwest – from the Appalachian to the Cascade Mountains. She earned her bachelor of arts in business management from Hope International University (Fullerton, CA), earned her master of arts in organizational leadership from Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, CA), and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in educational leadership (higher education) at FAU. Allison’s passionate for fostering students’ growth – exploring their interests, goals, life aspirations – began in her undergraduate experience serving as an orientation leader, alternative spring break coordinator, and student worker in the university controller’s office. She thrives in curating gathering spaces for meaningful conversations. Currently, Allison serves as an ACCESS Academic Coach/Academic Advisor. Her hobbies include exploring south Florida and its cultures and cuisines, watching basketball and baseball, coloring, reading and listening to audiobooks, and spending time with her family.
Linnsey earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a Master of Science in College Student Personnel Services and Administration from The University of Central Arkansas. (Go Bears!) While her career in higher education began in housing and residential life, she's also had the honor of working with orientation, student activities, athletics, and even teaching courses for first-year college students. Because of those experiences, she learned to deeply value the power of strategic cross-campus collaboration. By taking a holistic approach to student development theory, Linnsey is able to curate conversations that help empower students educationally, personally, and professionally. Outside of work, Linnsey enjoys creating playlists, working on interior design projects, making charcuterie boards, caring for plants, watching ESPN, going to the theatre, and traveling. Linnsey is also a registered yoga teacher (RYT-200).
Eric Foster serves as an ACCESS Academic Coach in the ACCESS Coaching Center as a part of University Advising Services. Eric is a first-generation college student earning his Bachelor's degree at Florida International University. He would then go on to receive his Master's Degree from Florida International University as well. During this time, he realized his passion for helping others become the best version of themselves. Eric specializes in speaking and life coaching, leading him into his role at the university. Currently, Eric is enrolled in the Higher Education Ph.D. program at FAU. His philanthropic involvement with his organization Get After It Now Inc. has earned him notoriety in the communities he serves, being named to the Legacy Miami Magazine 40 under 40 list in 2019 along with other Miami-Dade County leaders and public figures. Eric enjoys cooking in his down time as a form of relaxation.
Cassidy earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Lees-McRae College, a small private college in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. As an undergraduate student, through her experiences as a student-athlete, a resident assistant, and an orientation leader, Cassidy found that she has a passion for helping college students achieve their dreams. Cassidy earned her Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership from Florida Atlantic University where she gained experience in various areas of Higher Education including orientation, student activities, and career services. In her free time she enjoys exploring the Florida beaches, reading, and taking her dog Emmy on long walks.