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The Center for Student Engagement recently hosted a Student Organization Advisor Appreciation Breakfast to recognize and celebrate the hard work and dedication of student organization advisors. At the event, five awards were presented to the following advisors; Mercedes Jones, Laura Stansell, Holly Jackson-Sullivan, Lori Robinson, and Nan Moore. 

Commitment to Organization Excellence: Laura Stansell (UT Ambassadors), Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions

Nomination: “Laura has been an influential part of my college career for the past three years. She is an incredible woman who advises our organization all while working to get her PhD and being a mom to her two elementary aged children. Not only is Laura consistently looking out for every one of our ambassadors, she is always trying to bring out the best in us. She wants us to be the best representatives for the campus and she expects nothing but the best out of us. She works in any way she can to ensure that we put our best faces forward for the university. Not only does she do so much for our program to make sure we always have great uniforms and training events, but she also goes the extra mile to make sure we can be comfortable coming to her with anything. Laura is seriously my family away from home and I couldn’t be more thankful for such a caring and supportive advisor for our organization!”

Commitment to Student Development: Lori Robinson (UTK NAACP), Learning Specialist/Academic Counselor in the Thornton Center

Nomination: “During her short time as NAACP’s advisor, Lori Robinson has consistently challenged our executive board to improve the way we operate as a team. Using her experience in organizations that she is currently in or have previously served in, she has provided guidance that challenges our members to be the best that we can be. She never allows us to go along with the status quo that is expected of student organizations, but she encourages us to be the best that we can be and this includes holding higher standards for all of our members. Through the frustration of making these changes, we have come to the realization that she has only wanted the best for us and only wants to see the best of what we can offer.”

Commitment to Campus and Community Engagement: Holly Jackson-Sullivan (Tennessee Speech and Debate Society), Director of Development for the College of Arts & Sciences 

Nomination: “Holly Sullivan has not only done an incredible amount of work to ensure that our members have the best experience possible with the TN Speech and Debate Society, but she has also gone above and beyond at reaching out to alumni, members of the campus community, and members of the greater Knoxville community. Every year, she puts on an Alumni Clinic in which members of the organization can connect with alumni and learn from their experiences. Since we are a student-run team, Holly is the closest thing we have to a coach, and we think of her as the debate team “mom.” She has even connected with other coaches across the state to figure out how our debate team can function better and more smoothly.”

New Advisor of the Year: Mercedes Jones (Student Political Alliance), Office Manager in the Center for Leadership & Service

Nomination: “Since the beginning of the Student Political Alliance’s founding, Mercedes Jones has been one of the main catalysts in the growth and performance of the organization. Beginning in the summer of 2016, she has made it one of her every day missions, to assist the organization in their needs. Her involvement spans so wide, from sitting down with members to develop budget sheets critical to SPA’s financial growth, all the way to making sure she is forming personal relationships with each of the members. We are lucky to have Mercedes with us, and expect nothing but continuous growth for the future under the advisement of her.”

Advisor of the Year: Nan Moore (Delta Gamma), Community Member

Nomination: “Nan Moore serves as Delta Gamma’s Honor Board Advisor, meaning she oversees and assists in helping our organization maintain social and scholastic excellence. Nan continually supports our Honor Board by helping us develop ideas and programs to help educate our members on self responsibility and personal development. She has helped us in creating programs and presentations to educate our members on how to be safe on campus and also on how to develop strong academic programs to help us succeed in the classroom. While sometimes we face challenges with members dipping below organization scholastic requirements, Nan always takes a developmental approach when dealing with the situation to identify the root of the issue and ensure that the members have a support system in place to help them to achieve their highest scholastic potential. During Nan’s time as a Delta Gamma advisor, she has truly helped us to create programming and ideas to not only address social and scholastic issues, but to also provide support and member development that lasts well beyond a one-time event or meeting with the members. Because of Nan, Delta Gamma is a better organization.”

If you are a faculty or staff member interested in serving as a Student Organization Advisor, submit an Advisor Interest Form.