The College of LAS has named the winners of this year’s teaching and advising awards, and Kimberly Powers, an academic advisor for the School of Chemical Sciences since 2018, has been selected to receive the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising.
"The College of LAS is enormously proud of the recipients of this year's teaching and advising awards," said Venetria K. Patton, Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of LAS. "Teaching and advising has always required devotion, and in today's environment the challenge has been even greater. We're fortunate to have these compassionate, adaptable, and creative individuals working to make futures brighter for our students."
Known for her personable, friendly, and accessible style, Powers is also responsible for implementing several innovative services and programs that directly impacted students. They include expanding express advising availability, a new student registration model to engage admitted students, a new student welcome event to foster more connections between students majoring in chemistry, and the creation, in conjunction with the Division of General Studies, of a peer-mentor based first-year experience course.
Said one student, “From the outline of course material to the intensive trainings we received it was immediately apparent to me how much effort was put into the design of this course. It seemed that Kimberly was always trying to find new ways to deliver course material and more importantly, making it fun and relevant.”
Powers said she loves advising undergraduates for many reasons, but she finds two aspects especially enjoyable.
First, she said, college is a time when young adults start to figure out who they are and who they want to be.
"As an advisor, I get to work with students from the summer before they step foot in a classroom to their final exam in their senior year. Helping students along their short journey at Illinois and seeing who they become academically and personally is incredibly rewarding. I especially love it when students share their next steps with me, whether it’s a first job or a graduate program," Powers said.
And the second aspect is that she is always learning new things from her students.
"I do not have a background in STEM, so I really enjoy when students share what they’ve experienced in class, research labs, or during internships. I also appreciate learning more about who students are as individuals. Knowing what students find interesting or motivating helps me be a better advisor. It also reminds me of how wonderfully varied and rich human lives can be," she said.
Learn more about Powers.