A couple weeks ago I was featured in the UNT InHouse Portrait gallery for my one of many hats I wear on campus. Here’s a bit more about the Portrait Gallery and my interview for the online publication:
It’s not possible to know everyone on a big, busy campus. So InHouse periodically publishes Portrait Gallery features to help us learn about our colleagues and their contributions to the university’s success. Send suggestions for Portrait Gallery subjects by email to InHouse with “Portrait Gallery” in the subject line.
Portrait Gallery: Laura Pasquini, Academic Counselor
Laura Pasquini helps students find an academic home as a mentor for undeclared majors. She’s also the first UNT representative to be chosen for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising.
What is your official title, and how long have you been at UNT?
I am an academic counselor and instructor for the Office for Exploring Majors in Undergraduate Studies and I have been working at the University of North Texas since June 2009.
What is your background?
I have been supporting students as an academic advisor/counselor with major or career decision-making since fall 2003. I have been fortunate to support a variety of student populations at Niagara University, Miami University, University of Toronto Scarborough, University of Texas Arlington and UNT. Before joining the new office for exploring majors team, I was an academic advisor with the College of Business Advising Office.
What will you do as a mentor?
I was selected as a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program with The Global Community for Academic Advising for the 2012-2014 class. As a mentor, I will collaborate with other advising professionals and faculty within the association from other institutions. I will help emerging leaders develop their connections to the advising profession, encourage leadership opportunities, assist colleagues in working toward their professional goals and give back to the professional association that has helped me thrive personally and professionally.
Has any of your experience at UNT helped you prepare for this position?
Both as an academic advisor in the College of Business and in my current role, I have been fortunate to connect with students, staff and faculty to support my own personal and professional development. As a former executive officer and member of the University Counselors Advisors Network, I was able to collaborate, learn, and connect to a wide variety of ideas that will enhance my mentoring. Most recently, I had the opportunity help coordinate the Spring 2011 Advising Retreat, the UNT Advising Conference and the Advisor Spring 2012 training day. I appreciate interacting with and learning from a variety of staff and faculty who love working with students on a daily basis.
Are you the first UNT representative to be a mentor for the Emerging Leader Program?
I am the first person at UNT to be an ELP Mentor; however Carol Pollard, senior counselor in the College of Music, was part of the inaugural ELP cohort in 2007-2009 as an Emerging Leader.
What do you do as an academic counselor for undecided majors?
The Office for Exploring Majors supports students in their journey to learn more about their major/career options. As a counselor, I help support students who are undecided, undeclared and uncertain about their degree options. We often work with new students who want to learn more about their academic choices; however we frequently work with students who want to change their major or transition to another path. I enjoy providing academic/occupational resources and information to empower our students to make choices, and support them in their exploration.
What commonalities/differences do undeclared majors share?
Our undeclared/undecided students are very intelligent, bright and interested in a number of options. These students often have too many choices and are undecided to allow some time to explore majors, meet faculty, understand degree requirements and discover more about their own interests. Over the last year, I have come to really appreciate the interest and enthusiasm that our students bring to the First Year Seminar, during workshops, or counseling.
Do you have success stories?
A recent one would be with Lisandry Ortiz, who was in my First Year Seminar class Fall 2011.
Lisandry came into the class with different ideas about her major/career from her family, friends and others. During the course of the semester and in her first year, Lisandry went out to interview professionals, research occupational trends, and tried out a few classes to help her find her direction that would be best for her. She was interested in Biology, English, Creative Writing, Journalism, Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Studies with a double minor in Kinesiology and Addictions.
Although she had a challenging second semester at UNT, Lisandry managed to stay on top of her studies and credits the connections to friends and resources from the first year seminar class.
I am happy to say that Lisandry has earned junior class standing and has officially declared Rehabilitation Studies as her major with the College of Public Affairs & Community Service.
Along with her academic progress, Lisandry is working on campus as a housing ambassador in Maple Hall and she is now an Office for Exploring Majors Student Ambassador who will support undecided students with their major/career journey.