The University of New Mexico’s Provost’s Committee for Advising (PCA) announced its 2021 Excellence in Advising Awards with the selection of four individuals recently.

The recipients include Ian Drackert, Leticia LaSota, Alejandro Mendiaz Rivera and Dianea “DaDa” Willis-Gregory. They will be recognized for their exemplary commitment to the advising profession and demonstrated excellence in service and dedication to students with the Excellence in Advising Award for 2021 during a virtual ceremony on May 12. 

Ian Drackert, a senior academic advisor in Liberal Arts & Integrative Studies, takes time to connect students to internal and external resources that have not only helped students succeed but also supplied basic needs due to loss of income and/or insurance benefits. Drackert’s nominators shared how “he inspires students to pursue their goals, instills confidence in finishing their degrees, and truly believes in their abilities.”

Leticia LaSota is a senior academic advisor in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Her nominators wrote of Leticia’s “support, advocacy, and encouragement.”  Leticia instills pride in students’ accomplishments and encourages confidence in their pursuit of academic goals. She provides a much-needed support system to her students. She is credited for being in tune with “lost college students” by intuition and connects with them on a human level.

Alejandro Mendiaz-Rivera is a program specialist at El Centro de la Raza, and is described by his nominators as being “fundamentally student-centered and a tireless advocate for systemic changes that provides student access.” He has helped students be highly competitive in graduate programs throughout the nation and has helped them network and connect with research opportunities at UNM.

Dianea “DaDa” Willis-Gregory is a supervisor of Student Success in the Athletics Department. Willis-Gregory inspires students to be their best in their sport and the classroom. She creates a safe space for students so they may get away from the stress of the world, plus uplifts them when they are feeling the ups and downs of life. Many students credit her as “the reason they have persisted in college and gotten closer to their goal of obtaining a college education.”

“Strong dedication to student success is exemplified by the four members of our advising community in this year’s Provost Committee for Advising Excellence in Advising Awards,” said Laura Valdez, director, Office of Advising Strategies.

The Office of the Provost would like to thank members of the selection committee for their time and commitment including Tim Schroder (Provost’s Office), Keri Baca (Human Resources), Amanda Butrum (Accessibility Resource Center), Daniel Noriega-Lucero (Population Health) and Andrea Marquez (Student Activities).

Congratulations to this year’s Excellence in Advising Award recipients!