AUSTIN, Texas – The winners of the 2013-2014 Texas Exes James W. Vick Awards have been announced.
Classics advisor Susan Somers is one of only five advisors across The University of Texas at Austin campus to be recognized with this honor.
Recipients of the award are selected by undergraduates and coordinated through the Texas Exes. Vick Awards are provided annually to promote quality advising at UT by publicly recognizing advisors who have had an effective, positive influence on the educational experience of university students, according to the Texas Exes website. In addition to being recognized, recipients also receive a $500 prize.
Somers, a North Carolina native who completed her bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy at Washington and Lee University in Virginia, has been an advisor at UT since 2010.
It was during Somers’ time as a UT history graduate student that she realized that academic advising was the path she wanted to pursue. In her third year, she realized that while she liked working in a university setting with faculty and students, but that being a researcher was too solitary of a lifestyle for her. That’s where advising came in.
After earning her master’s degree, Somers worked as an advisor for the history department from 2010 until she migrated to classics and philosophy in February of 2013. In a few short years, Somers has established herself as an outstanding employee, earning an Advising Excellence award from her peers in the College of Liberal Arts.
“One of the greatest things about being an advisor is that pretty much every day you get to go home feeling that you have helped at least one person. There’s not a lot of jobs that put you in that position,” says Somers. “You also get to do a lot of problem solving and learn about almost every aspect of the university as you try to guide students through different situations.”
In her work, Somers is always encountering new circumstances and challenges. On any given day, she could be advising students on registration, helping with scholarships, running orientation sessions or assisting students in adding or dropping classes. Most of her work is based on who comes through her office door and what they need.
Somers’ dedication and flexibility are what made her a standout candidate to students nominating advisors for the Vick Award. Somers says the award is “definitely up there” as far as her biggest professional achievement is concerned.
“Because the Vick is nominated by students, reading what they had to say on their nominations was quite meaningful,” Somers says. “The fact that they took the time out of their extremely busy schedules to write up nominations is really moving.”