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 Assistant 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.
Ms. Angel Nevin is the very first Advisor-in-Residence (AIR) in the entire state of Florida. Ms. Nevin received a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2005 and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership in 2010-all here at Florida Atlantic University. As an Assistant Director in University Advising Services, Ms. Nevin provides academic advising and coaching through the Appreciative Advising model. In addition, she oversees the Get Wise initiatives on campus. Angel can be found on campus from the residence halls to the Student Support Services building, to the garages. Ms. Nevin truly believes in meeting our students where they are.
Ms. Nevin enjoys taking part in many on-campus programs. In 2016, she and her mentee were awarded the highest honor-Match of the Year- in the inaugural year of The Mentoring Project. In her SLS 1503 course, first-semester students are guided through the highly rigorous high-impact practice of research and inquiry. In addition to an exceptional advising experience, Ms. Nevin is excited to bring co-curricular opportunities to our first-year residents as they take the first steps in their academic journeys as FAU Owls.
Mary Downing is the Assistant 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.
Tracyann is the Assistant Director of the Educate Tomorrow at FAU program with the University Advising Services. She attended the University of Technology (Utech), Jamaica where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) with a focus in Marketing. Later after moving to New York City, she completed a Bachelor of Science in Management and Finance at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY). While completing her undergraduate degree she became active in advocacy, student government and college administration. These interests led to her being awarded a graduate assistantship that sparked the beginning of her career in student services. She went on to attend the Graduate Center, CUNY where she completed a Master of Liberal Studies degree with a concentration in International Studies, sociology focus. Prior to joining UAS, Tracyann worked in the areas of honors and undergraduate academic advising at various state and local tertiary institutions. She has also worked as an instructor and researcher throughout the K-16 continuum. She is currently completing an MBA at FAU, Go OWLs!. Tracyann was born in Jamaica and is especially excited to be in South Florida, which has been a long desire of hers! Tracyann is an avid foodie. She loves trying different cuisines. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, arts and crafts, traveling and binge watching her favorite shows and reading.
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.
Andrea attended the University of Central Florida where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and her Master of Arts degree in Counselor Education with a School Counseling focus. Prior to joining UAS, Andrea worked in the areas of multicultural student services and undergraduate academic advising at both the state college and state university level. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys traveling, reading a good book, shopping, and watching sports.
Originally from Ohio, Justin attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he earned his bachelors in international business and a minor of Spanish in 2012. He continued to earn his Masters of Education in Higher Education Administration from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in May 2016. Justin is known around the office for making students and fellow advisors laugh and have a passion for assisting veteran and military-affiliated students. When not in the office, you can find him watching anything sports related to including his hometown Cleveland teams. Overall, Justin considers himself a simple man who enjoys the life he shares with his wife and family
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-founded the Pre Law University Services initiative (PLUS) with Joe Murray, serves as pre-law advisor, and teaches the Pre Law SLS course for first-year students. 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!
Ra’Von is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services. Ra’Von was born and raised in West Palm Beach, FL. He is a fellow Owl as he attended Florida Atlantic University and graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. In 2017, Ra’Von received his Master of Arts in Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida. He has a wide range of experiences working in higher education ranging from orientation, parent programming, career services, residential education, and academic advising. In his spare time, Ra’Von enjoys longboarding, movies, TV shows, exercising, and everything involving popular culture.
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.
Melissa Keogh is a Coordinator of Academic Programs with University Advising Services and joined the UAS team in June of 2018. She was born in New York and raised in South Florida. Melissa is a fellow Owl as she attended both FAU High School and Florida Atlantic University. She received both her Bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice in 2016 and her Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership in 2018 at FAU. Her higher education experience includes working in orientation, transfer student services, student mentoring, and advising. In her free time, Melissa enjoys movies, attending FAU football games, and cooking with her family.
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.
Dr. Jess E. Tuck serves as the 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 is 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 working with students. Currently, she works as a Coordinator of Academic Programs with the ACCESS Program. In addition to her work, Monica enjoys to travel and spend time with her family and friends.
Marsha Saddler is an Academic Coach for ACCESS. Marsha was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She earned her first college degree in Sociology from the University of Florida. Afterwards, she sought her master's degree in Postsecondary Education & Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, and graduated from the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). The opportunities for employment at various colleges and universities, including Miami University of Ohio and the University of Iowa, allowed her to gain a myriad of experience in helping students transition to Higher Education. She taught students who were pursuing the same master’s degree that she gained at UNI, and provided support to students and parents in two K-12 school systems. She is married with three children, and enjoys reading and listening to books as well as singing.