Tuesday, May 27, 2014

30 for 30 Member Spotlight: Andrea Gonzalez

Hometown: Royal Oak area of Michigan, St. Charles, Missouri and Killeen, TX
College(s) attended: Central Tx Comm College, Central Michigan Univ., UT Austin
Job title(s) and department(s) past and present: Past: Undergraduate Academic Advisor at McCombs School of Business / Present: 360 Program Coordinator in the First-Year Experience Office in UGS
How did you end up at UT in the first place? I was interested in leaving my position at Ford Motor Company and working in higher education in some way and some McCombs Academic Advisors  (Cole Holmes, Cindy Bippert, Michael Schuetz, Jeff Jackson) I worked with when I was an undergraduate business student and Peer Advisor suggested I consider applying to an Academic Advisor I position that was posted.
What is your favorite part or being a part of ACA? The people who participate in ACA meeting and events are people who care about what happens to students as they navigate their undergraduate degrees. Because of this common interest, no matter what ACA event or meeting I attend, I know that I will have something in common with someone there. Being around other ACA members makes me feel like I am with "my people". :-)   
Here's where we'd like an anecdote about a favorite ACA memory or a memory that includes another ACA member. I cannot name one single favorite memory of time spent with another ACA member, but here are some that come to mind: walking through the old, original "strip" in Vegas (I don't remember what that area is called!) during one evening of a NACADA conference with Lovelys Powell, Theresa Thomas, Cindy Bippert, Melva Harbin, and so many other members who were able to attend. Getting to visit with and meet advisors and ACA members around campus through Advising Expo days as we all staffed tables around West Mall, FAC patio, South Mall, or Speedway. Answering random questions of students registering during the last day of new student orientation each summer, in whatever computer lab students are able to register in, alongside other advisors and ACA members. We are all delirious and tired by this time in the week of orientation, but we are wired on energy and one time I accidentally fell out of a chair I was sitting in, in the McCombs reading room and Andi Poag laughed so hard which started us both laughing uncontrollably.
What advice would you give to new advisors or new staff members at UT? Go to any event on campus you see that you are able to fit into your schedule and your supervisor allows you to attend. This allows you to explore campus and get to know not only your surroundings, but people who work in different capacities that you will inevitably interact with at some point. If you really want to build a network, join a professional organization, like ACA, and join a committee.  By working on a committee to bring an event to life, faces in a room turn into acquaintances, and very quickly, these acquaintances evolve into friendships or enriching professional relationships. UT Austin is a campus rich with heart and this heart is revealed through relationships made with colleagues.
What legacy would you like to leave behind at UT? I would like leave a legacy of having heart. In whatever way I have engaged on this campus as an undergraduate, professional, and graduate student, I have engaged fully and devoted as much of my heart as possible to every endeavor. Completing a task is something that people do all day long and what I work to do is always complete a task with heart. I suppose I would define "heart" with these characteristics: passion, compassion, and strength. 

Anything else you want to tell us?  Even when I am not at a meeting, conference or event with other ACA members, I am supporting you all. I believe in the mission of the organization and value the work each member does on this campus. We all work in varying, unique capacities and that is what I find amazing. Together, the members of ACA are wealth of expertise and an incredible force. Thank you for the work you do to enrich the experiences of the students on this campus!

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