End of Year Banquet 2024

Welcome to the 2024 ACADAOS End of the Year Banquet! We are honored to highlight the incredible work that advisors and advising administrators are doing across all campuses. We will be using the ACADAOS website to highlight all those nominated for our three advising awards:


Outstanding New Advisor


Keenan Hamilton

  • Keenan joined Ohio State as an advisor in the Fisher College of Business in Autumn 2021 after previously working as assistant director of student leadership & engagement at Muskingum University. Since starting as an advisor, Keenan has been quick to take on new responsibilities to support his advising team, making him an essential part of Fisher’s advising community. Multiple nominators spoke about Keenan’s willingness to take on the processing of Grade Forgiveness petitions for Fisher and to support the onboarding of new advisors in his office. Keenan even stepped in to help refine the onboarding process for new advisors, working with other team members to ensure each new advisor can attend training sessions that accommodate varied experience levels. Keenan has taken an essential role in welcoming new advisors and helping them get acclimated to a new working environment. Keenan’s nominators praised his ability to quickly connect with students, making them feel heard and valued. One nominator shared that they view Keenan as a “leader who operates entirely from the perspective of asking what is best for students.” Keenan creates an encouraging and supportive environment for students and has an “innate ability to defuse difficult scenarios and have students leave a meeting with him feeling that not only where their needs addressed, but that they were truly heard and cared for.”

Drake Hankins

  • Drake joined the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences as a pre-major advisor in January 2023. Prior to joining The Ohio State University, Drake was a College Planning Advisor working with high school students looking to continue onto post-secondary education. One of his colleagues stated, “Drake has left an indelible mark in HRS and Ohio State over the past year. His dedication to fostering a supportive and inclusive environment has contributed significantly to the overall academic and personal development of students within the school. Drake’s proactive efforts to address students’ unique needs and challenges have enhanced students’ experiences and promoted their success. His collaborative spirit and willingness to go above and beyond his role as an academic advisor have earned him the respect and admiration of students and colleagues. In his short time, Drake works on several projects within HRS including but not limited to university orientation liaison, end of term lead, teaching survey, and many more. One of his students mentioned, “Drake has made my Ohio State experience extremely worthwhile. In a huge campus setting, it can be difficult to navigate difficult decision-making processes. Drake always comes to appointments with a smile and is always willing to help. He explains the best courses to take that will help me in my future career and is able to communicate it in a way that is comprehensive and comprehendible.”

Jessica Luttrell

  • Jessica has been an academic advisor at the Mansfield campus of Ohio State since the summer of 2022. One of Jessica’s nominating colleagues wrote “Jessica has mastered the art of both challenging and supporting students as they progress through our program, communicating high expectations and respecting diverse learning talents.” Another co-worker wrote “Her unwavering commitment to guiding OSU Academy (dual enrollment) students through their educational journey – from pre-admission through OSU enrollment, is remarkable. She consistently goes beyond the call of duty, demonstrating a genuine passion for helping students navigate the complexities of higher education.” Another said “what is most characteristic of Jessica that sets her apart from others is her capacity to form meaningful, strength-based relationships with her students. Jessica clearly cares about her students’ well-being, and it is this quality that sets her apart from other advisors. I am in weekly advising meetings with Jessica and her questions and comments related to the students she advises always showcase her care and concern for her students. Any student who is assigned to Jessica is lucky to be working with her.” A nominating student wrote “Jessica really cares about the well-being of all her students and is willing to listen to what we say or need. She provides a safe place for students to go when we need help or someone to have hard conversations with. This says a lot about how much she really cares about her students.”

Liz McCullough

  • Liz joined Ohio State as an advisor and program coordinator for the Linguistics department in Autumn 2022. As the sole advisor in Linguistics, Liz has quickly become a core part of the department. Multiple nominators praised Liz’s ability to adapt department offerings to match student needs. Upon realizing that students desired more career-focused support from the Linguistics department, Liz successfully applied for a grant from the Center for Career and Professional Success to set up a career workshop tailored to linguistics students. Liz also spearheaded a peer mentor program, matching students who need additional support in linguistics courses with peers who have been successful in those classes. Nominators highlighted Liz’s ability to easily connect with students, ensuring they get the support they need to be successful at OSU inside and outside of the classroom. One nominator shared that “the initiative that Dr. McCullough takes to make sure that each undergraduate student receives support and advice that is appropriate to their individual circumstances is remarkable and reflects her highly personal approach to advising.” One student nominator shared that “Every time I’ve met with Liz, I’ve always walked out of the meeting feeling excited about my future in and outside of OSU.” Liz has even become known in her department for keeping a jar of “emergency dinosaurs” to encourage students when they’re having a bad day and to congratulate students when they apply for graduation. As another student shared, “I feel like I have someone to rely on thanks to her kindness and thoroughness.”

Marie Southerland

  • Marie has been with Ohio State since June 2022 advising the students in our Biochemistry major, among her other duties as Academic Program Specialist for the department. With her advisees, Marie uses her own experiences and knowledge of Biochemistry to recommend the most beneficial coursework for each student’s goals while encouraging them to also pursue lesser-known experiential learning opportunities to build their confidence and resumes. She also jumped in to assist the department with revising their website, curriculum sheets, and recruiting materials to bring accurate information to interested parties during her first year in the role. Marie has brought new insights to her department and her colleagues praise her teamwork mindset stating, “She is always willing to collaborate or add thoughts to projects” and “She is hands-on and asks a lot of questions to learn about the Department and makes suggestions for changes as she sees fit.” Her colleague also mentioned, “Marie has the personality, expertise, knowledge, and passion to help others that makes her an excellent member of the advising community and the students are better served by having her as a resource.” Several of her students eagerly sung her praises, “She has an ability to keep you calm even during stressful times, which is usually when I meet with her”, “Dr. Southerland has helped me with every step of my journey so far… She truly is such a pillar to my success”, “She cares about how I am doing not only in my classes, but in my social life, which feels awesome as a student… she always supports my successes.”

Marissa Stewart

  • Marissa began at Ohio State in August 2022 and advises the students in the Department of Art. Her contributions to the department have been highly praised with noted significant impacts on her advisees and a dedication to the success of her students and colleagues. With determination to share valid information, Marissa assisted her department with revisions to their degree audit, and she also advocates for students when curriculum changes are made to the program and ensures that the impact to them is considered by faculty. She uses her own MFA from Ohio University to mentor and guide the rising artists she advises. Her colleague mentions, “She meets with students daily to ensure that their needs are met but Marissa does it with ease and as a practicing artist she can mentor them in their undergraduate career and prepare them for their future endeavors… Marissa always approaches any potential issues in a problem solving, but student-focused, way.” One of her students stated, “There is a wide known stereotype that college advisors are not helpful however, when it comes to Marissa this is the farthest thing from the truth. She really takes the time to thoroughly explain the GE requirements and go over degree audits to make sure every student knows what they need to complete. She also takes the time to get to know each student… She is just a genuinely kind person who cares for their students which I feel now is kind of rare with advisors.”

Jamie Stima

  • Jamie joined the Mansfield campus advising team in the summer of 2022. However, she first began working at Ohio State three years earlier as an instructor for a music education course that she continues to teach. In Jamie’s role as advisor, she works with nearly 200 students from 29 majors and 7 colleges. One of her co-workers wrote, “in just a year and a half, Jamie has already exhibited remarkable abilities and is making significant contributions to the campus. Her impact has extended from her students and her unit to the entire campus and even to Ohio State University overall.” Another colleague wrote “’energy’ is the first word that comes to mind when thinking of Jamie’s approach to advising. She brings such enthusiasm and eagerness to her meetings with students and students truly love having her as an academic advisor.” One of Jamie’s nominating students wrote “She is honestly the reason I have stayed at Mansfield campus for so long. She has composed me a schedule that is accommodating to not only my academic needs but also my emotional needs. She has a welcoming and relatable environment in her office that sometimes I just pop-in to say hey and chat with her. I also have full faith that she has set me up on a path for success for when I transfer down to Columbus.”

Colton Weiss

  • Colton began his career at OSU as an undergraduate student, graduating in 2015. He returned to OSU as a lecturer for the Department of Theatre in 2019 and joined the College of Arts and Sciences as an Academic Advisor in the summer of 2022. He began his advising career at OSU advising Computer Information Science (CIS) students. In their nomination letter his nominator stated, “Despite being new to advising, [Colton] was more than willing to jump into orientation sessions that summer and learned the major in record time.” Additionally, they stated that “His service to Arts and Sciences and Denney Hall has gone above and beyond what is expected of an advisor who is new to the advising profession.” Within his first year of advising, he was tapped to additionally advise the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) major. The department in their nomination letter stated that “He has been a welcome addition and invaluable asset to our department in ensuring academic success of GIS students and integrating seamless transition of major changers to GIS from CIS and CSE pathways.” Colton has also had a great impact on the students he advises. In their nomination, one student stated “I don’t think I would have been able to put myself in the position I am in right now without the help of Colton. He always went above and beyond to make sure my academic needs were tended to.” They later went on to state, “There may be other qualified candidates for this award, but reflection on the people who have helped me in my life, Colton sits on top of that list. I can’t think of a better candidate than Colton.”

Samantha Zimmerman

  • Samantha has served as an advisor at OSU for 2.5 years. She completed her M.Ed in Teacher Leadership with a Concentration in Intervention Specialist at the University of Dayton. She currently serves as an Academic Advisor 2 in the Honors Program for the College of Arts and Sciences. In her role, she advises “one of the largest caseloads in the ASC Honors Programs” with degree plans, serves as the Honors Program Pre-Law Advisor, and coordinates the Honors Survey course. Despite her large caseload, her colleague notes that “she knows every one of her students by name is the true embodiment or having an open-door policy.” They also note that Samantha’s experience with teaching at the high school level has had a positive impact on their office, particularly in regard to their survey course. “Samantha took the bones of our previous survey curriculum and revitalized it to be more accessible, up to date with technological advances, and relevant to the student experience.” Samantha’s students comment that she works “hard to make sure all her students and others feel welcome and comfortable so that they know she’s there to help.” They mention that she always gives students “her full attention and energy” and that she “genuinely takes the time to figure out what classes and professors work best for her students.” Her supervisor says that this ability to build rapport with her students “is what makes her an excellent advisor.”


Mary Bailey Advising Award


Ericka Gunn

  • Ericka has been with The Ohio State University as an Academic Advisor since 2011. Ericka is currently a Senior Academic Advisor in University Exploration with an emphasis on working with campus change and transfer students. Ericka previously comes from the field of Social Work prior to working in their roles in academic advising. One of Ericka’s colleague’s states, “whenever a student requires compassionate advising, Ericka is among the first names that come to mind. I trust her implicitly to offer thorough and empathetic guidance to students facing diverse challenges. Her depth of knowledge about majors and careers allows her to assist students across various areas of interest.” Ericka is also a great resource to her peers where she is always willing to help, sharing information on new policies, covering appointments, or even taking last-minute appointments. Beyond Ericka’s advising role, she represents the university at recruitment events nationally which shows her dedication to promoting Exploration. One of Ericka’s students stated. “Personally, I can say that she is the best academic advisor I’ve ever had the chance to work with. Helpful, thorough, caring, exceeding, patient is some of the many words that come to mind when thinking about Miss Ericka. I couldn’t have asked for a better advisor, coming into my first year out of the country.”

Jessica Hall-Ciccone

  • Jessica has been an advisor in the Fisher College of Business for eleven years and is well respected within the academic advising team. Her colleagues consistently turn to her as a resource for advice on challenging student situations, or as a friend to help process through a difficult day. In her work with students, Jess has made an indelible mark in Fisher through the passion she demonstrates for providing guidance for campus change students, in particular. Not only does she help them through the campus change process, but once at Columbus she serves as their primary academic advisor and teaches a special seminar section for them. In a letter of support, a Newark campus advisor stated that Jessica “speaks regional,” which meant that she was an important ally who not only understood, but valued the uniqueness of the regional campus experience. A campus change student said of Jessica, “I learned that someone is there for you. When you transfer from a small campus to Columbus it’s hard. She allowed me to see there are people who care and can help me when I need it.” Jessica transcends the transactional role of advising with her students.

Christie Lukegord

  • Christie became an academic advisor in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences in 2013, where she now serves as a Program Manager. In this role, Christie balances co-advising 600 students in the Health Sciences program and pre-major along with department responsibilities, such as developing and teaching “Introduction to Healthcare Professions” as an online course for upper-class students. Christie also recently completed a second master’s degree in public administration and leadership, and her ability to balance responsibilities has not gone unnoticed by her peers. As one nominator wrote, “Christie’s organizational skills and attention to detail are exemplary”, including that she “also still manages to consistently seek out opportunities for professional development, staying abreast of evolving trends and best practices in higher education advising and being an active and engaged team member”. Another nominator highlighted that Christie fiercely advocates for her students, both in her own advising philosophy and by serving on the HRS Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. Christie keeps her colleagues informed of relevant legislature and media trends and “allows us to rethink how we approach advising appointments and […] how day-to-day life can be affecting [students]”. Finally, one of Christie’s current students shares that “Christie is an excellent advisor and works hard to help students succeed. I couldn’t have asked for a better advisor during my time here at The Ohio State University”.

Liz Riter

  • Liz has been an advisor in the College of Engineering for 13 years, first as an academic advisor and Program Manager for the Green Engineering Scholars Program, and then as Senior Academic Advisor for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Liz’s nominator states that she “elevates the performance of everyone she encounters and that there has never been a task she hasn’t offered to help with, or that she has considered to be outside of the scope of her responsibilities.” Another nominator writes “What sets Liz apart as an advisor, is her unwavering dedication to students’ success. She approaches each interaction with students with empathy, patience, and a genuine desire to assist.” Her student nominator agreed stating, “After four years as an OSU student I am confident that I have reached my academic goals because of Liz and her guidance and dedication.” Whether it is hosting welcome events for students, managing the scholarship process for her department, onboarding and mentoring new advisors, or being there for colleagues during challenging times, Liz’s supervisor writes that “Ohio State is exponentially better for having her as a staff member and alumnus, and the advising community is incredibly fortunate to call her one of our own.”

Trisha Ritter

  • Trisha has served as an advisor at OSU for 7 years. She completed her M.S. in Student Affairs and Higher Education at Wright State University and currently serves as a Senior Academic Advisor in the College of Public Health. When she transitioned into her advising role in Public Health, she was the unit’s only advisor. She assumed a wide array of responsibilities, including, but not limited to, advising all students (including Honors students) in the college, teaching survey, serving as an OnCourse ambassador, and more. Her supervisor notes that Trisha managed to perform all of these duties “at the highest level” in spite of the heavy workload. Once the department hired a second advisor, she took on the added role of mentor and friend to the new advisor. She has also contributed to the efficiency of the advising unit by working with her colleagues to streamline certain administrative tasks. One of her students commented that Trisha “is kind, caring, and makes a real effort to get to know her students” and that “she never made me feel like I was asking too many questions.” Another student says that she is an excellent communicator who responds to “emails and requests super quickly.” Her supervisor highlights the fact that “it comes naturally for her to be kind, compassionate, and an innate leader.”

Shannon Romey

  • Shannon has served as an advisor at OSU for 5 years. She completed her M.Ed in Higher Education and Student Affairs at Ohio University and currently serves as a Senior Academic Advisor in the College of Education and Human Ecology. In her role, Shannon advises a diverse student population of 550 undergraduate students pursuing teacher-licensure programs and other minors in College of Education. Shannon also processes graduation applications for all graduating seniors in her college, which is a role that her colleagues say she handles “with grace [and] professionalism”. Her supervisor recognized her incredible ability to “[build] rapport with students despite the sometimes-transactional nature of advising.” One of her advisees confirms this ability in their nomination: “It has always been clear that she was very dedicated to helping me succeed at OSU as a student and person.” A professor in the College of Education and Human Ecology remarked that Shannon “is the advisor you want your child to come into contact with at Ohio State.” Although one of her nominators says that she “is not one to draw attention to herself”, they insist that “she is the model of student support and raises the bar for academic advising excellence.”

Ashley Sweaney

  • Ashley has been involved in higher education for the past 14 years. Before joining the Department of Psychology at The Ohio State University as a Senior Academic Advisor in 2018, Ashley held many positions within Career Services at Columbus State Community College including Interim Director as well as a supervisor. Their colleagues stated, “Ashley consistently provides excellent service that extends beyond just academic advisement. Her unwavering guidance and encouragement come from a genuine interest and desire to see each student succeed and thrive. Her commitment is evident in the countless hours she spends addressing concerns, providing mentorship, and fostering an inclusive and supportive environment.” Ashley makes a large impact on her students with her willingness to go above and beyond to make sure that they feel informed and equipped with the information needed for their future career path. Ashley also volunteers for things outside of her initial duties including but not limited to hiring committees and teaching the department’s survey course. Ashley’s colleagues state “Ashley’s sense of humor is one of her best attributes and our favorite; she has a knack for creating smiles in anyone. Her ability to diffuse a situation with humor is always greatly appreciated, especially during stressful times or frustrating situations. Many things Ashley says have become catch phrases in the office, which just shows how fun and approachable she is as a person.”

David Zach

  • David joined Ohio State in 2019 and quickly established himself as an invaluable asset to the Department of Astronomy and Department of Physics. As a Senior Academic Advisor, David provides guidance to hundreds of students across multiple majors, minors, the Planetary Science certificate, and is described by a student nominator as “the lighthouse with which I and many of my peers have navigated college”. This includes that David “fights to remove barriers and to make our program equitable” and students consistently report in senior exit surveys that they would not have been successful without David’s expertise. By supporting students on both an academic and personal level, David also helps students succeed on the national stage, such as being selected for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship, Astronaut Scholarship, Brooke Owens Fellowship, and research experiences through the National Science Foundation. David also facilitates the Department of Astronomy’s Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which has grown substantially during David’s tenure. His colleagues also recognize the hard work that happens behind the scenes, such as tracking course enrollment data, serving on department committees, and pre-emptively addressing student concerns, such as incoming credit during NFYS orientation. One nominator even wrote that “this letter is a difficult one to write, and not because it is hard to speak about David’s accomplishments, but rather because there are far too many accomplishments to speak of”.


Melinda McDonald Advising Administrator Award


Brenda Dinan

  • Brenda started her career at Ohio State just over two decades ago when she received her Master’s degree in Anthropology in 2001. She began advising in The College of Arts and Sciences in 2006 and went on to become an Advising Manager in 2009. As an advising manager, she has many responsibilities including supervising advisors, helping manage two advising clusters, coordinating pre-health advising, coordinating orientation, and bringing a wealth of advising knowledge to the College of Arts and Sciences. Brenda can be relied on to be a source of information and answers from her colleagues across the college. In their nomination letter her nominator states that “Brenda has been an outstanding role model for dealing with different staff personalities with both grace and humor. She is willing to let me talk through concerns and offers advice and assistance as necessary, but can also just serve as an empathetic ear.” Her supervisees in their letter stated, “Whether it is a complicated student scenario, an issue of logistics with orientation, questions about professional next steps in our advising career, or just needing to vent to a trusted person, she is always there to help in whatever way possible.” They go on to state that “She goes above and beyond what an Advising Manager is expected to do, and we are all better off both as academic advisors and as employees of The Ohio State University for having been supervised and supported by her.”


Want to showcase another advisor doing excellent work? You can nominate them for one of these awards next year or submit a nomination for our Advisor of the Month here.

ACADAOS Elections & 2024-2025 Committees


To all current ACADAOS members – Don’t forget to vote in the elections for next year’s ACADAOS Executive Board!

The ballot will be open until 11:59pm on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, and can be found here: go.osu.edu/ACADAOSelection

Also, if you’d like to be part of an ACADAOS committee next year, you can volunteer here: go.osu.edu/ACADAOScommittees

Now, enjoy the banquet!!

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