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Advisement Services Center Staff Recognized with National Awards

June 1, 2009

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Kristen Swaney and Katerine Pais chat near sign for the Advisement Services Center

Academic advisors Kristen Swaney and Katerine Pais help UAlbany students reach their potential. (Photo Mark Schmidt)  

Two award-winning staff members of UAlbany's Advisement Services Center say that helping students discover and fulfill their potential is their reward.

Kristen Swaney and Katerine Pais advise more than 400 students each over the course of a semester. Remembering the degree requirements for all 56 majors keeps them sharp. They also keep up on how to meet general education and minor requirements.

Swaney, who joined UAlbany in January 2007, said the most popular question she gets from students is: "What can I do with a major in (insert major here)?"

"My primary goal is to help the students reach their full potential at the University at Albany," said Swaney. "One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is to see a student major in a subject that they enjoy and excel at, because this is one of the first times in a student's life that they can choose what they want to learn about which is very exciting."

Swaney received the Academic Advising Excellence Award in March at the Region 1 National Academic Advising Association conference in Saratoga Springs. The Schenectady resident was raised in Niskayuna, has a bachelor's from Gettysburg College, and a master's degree in higher education administration in college student affairs from Penn State. Three generations of women in her family her grandmother, mother, and sister - earned either a bachelor's or master's degree from UAlbany.

Pais, who joined the University in July 2007, is being honored with the Outstanding New Advisor Certificate of Merit in Academic Advising.

"My primary goal in working with advisees is to help them become independent, proactive, and lifelong learners," said Pais, a native of Boca Raton, Fla., who earned a bachelor's in English and a master's in women's studies from Florida Atlantic University. "As an advisor, I promote students to become self-reliant, self-directed, and critical-thinking learners who can gain and develop college skills which are transferable to their workplace and personal life."

Pais also serves on the Enrollment Management Communications Committee and is the ASC contact person for Veteran Student Services. Her husband, Jeremy Pais, is a doctoral student in the sociology program at UAlbany.

Pais's award will be presented in San Antonio, Texas, this fall during the National Academic Advising Association conference.

These awards recognize the value of the philosophy that ASC advisors strive to carry out on a daily basis, according to Director Suzanne K. Phillips.

"We are so proud of Kristen and Kathy for the honors they have received. They draw on their passion for academic excellence as well as their belief in their students' abilities to provide encouragement and comprehensive advising to their students. We work hard in ASC to make sure that students feel comfortable using their advisor as a resource at UAlbany. Kristen and Kathy are great examples of how helpful that resource can be," Phillips said. 

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