Student Advising at its Best

5 smiling people, four of them holding round, glass awards, stand in a line in a building atrium.
At the Academic Advisement awards ceremony are, from left, Marcelle Martens, Brandon Lewis, Kathryn Fore, Provost Carol Kim and Zakhar Berkovich. (Photo by Patrick Dodson)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 11, 2023) — Four “torch bearers” for students were honored this week with the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Academic Advising at a ceremony in University Hall.

The winners — Zakhar Berkovich, Kathryn Fore, Brandon Lewis and Marcelle Martens — were selected for their dedication and achievement in advising undergraduate students.

Provost Carol Kim said that in addition to serving as academic guides, liaisons to faculty and staff, career counselors and support system, advisors can be seen as torch bearers. “If our students suddenly find themselves in the dark, they are there to seek them out and shine a light on their path ahead,” she said.

This is the seventh year the University has recognized excellence in academic advising. Winners were selected through a rigorous process that began with nominations from students, faculty or staff, and included reference letters, CVs and personal statements, and finally evaluation by a committee of advisors, distinguished professors, campus leaders and past winners.

“This award ceremony is meant to recognize advisors for their tremendous contribution to academic, personal and professional success, and building the sense of belonging and connection for our students at the University at Albany,” said Kristen Swaney, assistant vice provost and director of academic advising. “They exemplify the greatest characteristics of an advisor: They are kind and caring to all students they advise; they are committed to student success; and they operate with the utmost integrity and professionalism.”

Here are the winners, along with an excerpt from one of their student nominations.

  • Zakhar Berkovich, Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy

“Mr. Berkovich has been a tireless champion for students in Rockefeller College for years, providing them with academic and emotional support, connecting them to appropriate campus resources and personnel, facilitating more effective faculty-student relationships, and ensuring that their accomplishments receive recognition.”

  • Kathryn Fore, Academic Support Center, Honors College

“Kathryn is a compassionate, kind, and understanding advisor. She works with a cohort of students with diverse academic goals and expectations, Kathryn has found ways to best support each individual student in a way that is tailored to their needs.”

  • Brandon Lewis, Academic Support Center, School of Public Health

“Mr. Lewis is attentive and responsive to all of his students’ needs and, most importantly, he embodies a motivational spirit that encourages students to put their best effort forward in every facet of their lives.”

  • Marcelle Martens, Academic Support Center

“During my time at UAlbany, she has proven to be passionate, proactive, dependable, driven, and very patient. She has the ability to assist people in a way that makes them feel comfortable and at ease.”