Monday, February 17, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Mandy Davidson

Hometown: Born in Dubai, started moving at age 5, lived in several countries (oil company brat) so my true adopted hometown is really Austin.

College(s) attended: UT Austin (BA Government), Texas State (paralegal certificate), St. Edward's (current MA in counseling)

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Several since 2001 (I am comfortable with change ;)) but some highlights are Legal Assistant in UT System's Office of General Counsel,  Administrative Associate in the Office of the President and Dean of Students Office, and Academic Advisor at Mccombs School of Business and School of Architecture.

How did you end up at UT in the first place? UT was last on my list of colleges (I was 17 and didn't know better) and I am forever grateful that I was able to come here for school. I never really left, except for a brief period at UT System downtown.

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  I love the strong sense of community and support we offer each other. ACA energizes me to be the best professional I can be.

Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member.
   I was always curious about ACA and always had great interactions with advisors in my previous roles, so I attended an ACA Professional Development Day to see what ACA was like. LOVED it. I also adore Lovelys Powell (who doesn't?!) and hearing his enthusiasm for his job and ACA Involvement also influenced me towards exploring academic advising and ACA. 

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?
UT is a very large, very siloed institution so I would advise any new staff member to join a community to make UT a smaller, more intimate place to be. I would encourage every advisor to join ACA, not only for the support and professional development, but to learn to advocate for themselves and their profession, because advising is integral to student success and we need to ensure that faculty, staff, and the administration are always aware of that. 

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? 
I hope to be remembered as someone who gave 110% to her department and students, and mainly I hope that each student I interacted with, from my student org support days to advising, felt supported both academically and emotionally. Sometimes people just need to know that you care about each part of who they are, not just their grades and org membership, and I hope I created a safe space for each student to just be themselves.

Anything else you want to tell us?  
 I am going to miss this group and UT so very much! I leave on 3/7 for full time graduate student life. Advising helped me solidify my skill set and realize I wanted to be a professional counselor, and ACA helped me learn how to be both a competent and compassionate professional. Also, if anyone ever needs therapy, come see me in 1.5 years when I graduate and I'll give you the ACA discount ;)

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