The Honors College has hired Jessica Sanders and Marybeth Smith, two new Academic Advisors who will help Honors students make the most out of their time at LSU starting in the fall.
Jessica Sanders, a Murfreesboro native, studied Sociology at the University of Tennessee before earning her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from LSU. Sanders worked as a graduate assistant for two years in Career Services, where she met with students and counseled them with career-related issues.
“I really enjoyed that one on one interaction with students, so I was looking for advising type positions,” she said. “And when I was at the University of Tennessee, I was actually in their Honors College … so that was neat to have that connection.”
Sanders said that she is looking forward to the academic diversity that the Honors College student body has to offer, since she will be advising students from every major.
“My favorite aspect of advising is that every student is unique; I love being able to see what their interests are and helping them to set goals,” she said. “I’m going to be working more closely with the freshman and sophomore students … I like that group of students specifically because they have two or three years to make their goals a reality. If you can show them the opportunities available, you can open up a lot of doors for them.”
While Sanders will be working primarily with freshmen and sophomores, Marybeth Smith will work most closely with third and fourth year Honors students, helping them to navigate the Upper Division Honors Program and prepare their thesis research.
An Orlando native who studied English and Psychology at Flagler College before earning master’s degrees in English and Higher Education Administration, Smith’s interest in higher education stemmed from her original dreams of becoming a college counselor.
“I really like college students because I think it’s such a cool period of development,” she said. “When I talk to a college student, I feel like I’m talking to somebody who’s doing a lot of really deep investigating about themselves, and it’s cool to be a witness to that.”
Smith said that her background teaching college English has helped her more than she ever thought possible.
“I think English gives you a really good framework with which to interpret other things, so I can take that framework and analyze a lot of issues in a way that a lot of people who don’t have a background in the humanities can’t.” she said. “Particularly for the duties with thesis work, a background in English certainly lends itself to working with people who are working through sustained, really deep projects.”
Both Sanders and Smith said they are eager to work with Honors students, who they each described as being highly motivated and committed to learning, and both advisors said they want to encourage Honors students to take advantage of the many services that the University has to offer.
“I think it’s empowering if you can let students know where those tools are to set them up to be able to follow their dreams and their paths,” said Sanders. “Ultimately, I want to be helpful. I want someone to leave my office and think, that was very beneficial.”
Honors College Dean Nancy Clark said she is excited for the students who are going to get to work with Sanders and Smith.
"The Honors College is very pleased to welcome our two new advisors. Both Jessica and Marybeth come to us with outstanding academic credentials, as well as advising experience at some of our peer institutions — University of Tennessee, University of Kentucky, and University of Alabama," she said. "Their contributions will benefit our students and will also help to further the goals of the Honors College."
Story by Elizabeth Clausen, LSU Honors College
For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831