Emily Weigel: 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advising Award – Faculty

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Georgia Tech has named Emily Weigel as the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Advising Award – Faculty. Weigel is an academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences.

Trained as an ecologist, Weigel views the world through organismal-environment interactions, including understanding individuals and how they are shaped by their environment. As she gets to know each student personally, she challenges them to investigate and engage in new ways with their college environment and the broader world. Her goal is to endow advisees with the skills they need to succeed on campus and out in the world.

Weigel cares deeply for her advisees, colleagues say. She empowers students by presenting options rather than prescriptions. She adjusts recommendations on the basis of students’ developmental needs. She is available to students outside of usual times when needed. She looks out for students in trouble. She keeps tabs on paperwork students need to advance and graduate. She cares about her students beyond their academic activities.

"Sometimes it can be a challenge to let students struggle in weighing their options, but it has been so rewarding to watch the growth in students that results."

Students hold Weigel in high esteem. “She not only exhibits the qualities of a great advisor, but also exemplifies what is meant to be a mentor: Someone who sees what you are capable of and encourages you to take risks,” says one former advisee. This advisee adds: “I have always left an appointment with her feeling confident about my decisions. There is no doubt in my mind that the attention and support she has given me is widespread among the students she advises.”

A student who is not an advisee credits Weigel for opening her eyes to an ecology career after getting a biology degree. “She always made herself available to answer any question I have regarding ecology. She never made me feel bad for asking questions even though I was not among her advisees,” this student says.

Weigel has had a strong impact on students who deeply value their interactions with her as an advisor, a colleague observes. This colleague adds: Weigel’s “extraordinary effort and effectiveness as a faculty advisor are evident throughout her work at Tech.” 

"I’m honored to be recognized, particularly in encouraging my advisees to find and forge their own paths,” Wiegel says. “Sometimes it can be a challenge to let students struggle in weighing their options, but it has been so rewarding to watch the growth in students that results.

“I am delighted to hear that students, too, recognize the effort it requires to provide them the tools and space to tackle problems on their own. Thanks, too, go out to my colleagues for helping foster such a collectively positive, exploratory environment for our students to define and reach their goals.”


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