Thursday, March 6, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Debi Elliott

Hometown – Raised in San Antonio, although I was born at the new Austin airport  — Bergstrom Air
Force Base.

College(s) attended – Our Lady of the Lake University, Worden School of Social Service (BSW, MSW)

Job title(s) and department(s) past and present — Coordinator, Teenage Parenting Services, Child & Family Services, Clinical Director, Workers Assistance Program, Senior EAP Consultant, Motorola, Inc., Social Worker, Travis County Health and Human Services, Academic Advising Coordinator – “Non-academic Counselor”, College of Natural Sciences, Owner/Sole Proprietor, SOULutions Counseling

What are your hobbies — I love reading, writing, blues/jazz, dancing!, cooking!, throwing dinner parties, and dabbling in various kinds or art.

How did you end up at UT in the first place? My girlfriend from the Motorola days, Robbie Albracht, was leaving this position and suggested I apply.  The world of academia was totally new for me, and In all previous jobs I’d worked with adults, children and teenagers, never really with this age group. The opportunity of working  with young adults in this setting was very appealing to me. 

What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA?  The energy! So many talented, excited, young adults, proud of their profession, and excited about changes towards making a difference for our students! Given my position, I am not able to participate as much as I’d like, but I  really enjoyed meeting advisors face-to-face that I may have conversed with on the phone. 

What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT?  Ask questions, attempt to build relationships with other schools/departments, because you will end up working with people across campus in your everyday, and advocacy roles, with your students. ACA is one quick way to begin to do that.  It is also always nice to belong to a professional group of your peers — to learn and grow together in your chosen profession.

What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT?  Just that I made a difference in the life of the students with whom I met, that  I was able to be there when needed, with the correct information, or listening ear, and it helped students along their path.

Anything else you want to tell us?  I love my job! I have certainly had other jobs that paid better, where I was boss, that allowed me much travel, the fun things — but — for some reason this one pulls at my heart strings in a different way than all the others. These students are at such an important and vulnerable stage in their lives. The smallest clarification, piece of missing knowledge, supportive listening, ability to assess during a crisis and get the student to the right place for self care — then being able to assist with their academics so that the current crisis didn’t completely ruin their future possibilities — can make SUCH a big difference for these students — and to see them grow, and turn things around over the years here, is extremely rewarding.

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