Faculty mentors

By Annalisa Purser, communications specialist, University Marketing and Communications

With a campus of more than 31,000 students, the staff at University of Utah Career Services recognizes that their career coaching staff of 10 individuals cannot meet the needs of every student on campus.

“For the majority of students, career conversations are not a one-time occurrence,” said Kelly Dries, associate director of Counseling Services and Operations for U Career Services. “This is why one of our missions is to foster a culture at the U where everyone is engaging in career conversations.”

The office began its Faculty Recognition program in 2016 to recognize the faculty members who contribute to students’ career development and exploration throughout the year. The 2017 recognition breakfast was held Friday, April 7, 2017, at Career Services and recognized 20 faculty and one academic advisor who were nominated by students.

Winners include:

Robert Baldwin
Professor of Music and Director of Orchestral Activities
College of Fine Arts

“Dr. Baldwin has always been deeply involved with the whole spectrum of musical instruction, including career development. He has helped his students explore and understand numerous artistic endeavors within the constantly changing musical world. His passion for music, positivism, encouragement and integrity set Dr. Baldwin as one of the most exceptional faculty I have ever worked with.”

Robert Scott Smith
Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre
College of Fine Arts

“Rob is very passionate about his work and his work as a teacher. He is incredibly generous with his time and consistently works with his students outside of class. If I come to him with a goal in mind, Rob will help me to plan the path to success. He has such a wonderful energy that is infectious and is a great person to be around.”

Jennifer Clifton
Assistant Professor (Clinical) of Nursing
College of Nursing

“Professor Clifton has organized exercises, assignments and readings that help me analyze my career goals and values. She has also provided useful information that will help me be a more prepared leader and political advocate for health care and my profession of choice. I appreciate her commitment to her students, and she acts as a positive and encouraging role model for students that are just developing their professional identity.”

Linda Edelman
Associate Professor and Chair of the Health Systems and Community Based Care Division
College of Nursing

“I started working for Linda while I was applying for nursing school as a research assistant. She talked through what options were available to me, as well as lead me through the research process and talked to me about my goals. Linda was not only a great influence in my professional life, but she was a wonderful friend and mentor.”

Eric Garland
Associate Professor of Social Work
College of Social Work

“Dr. Garland’s investment in my future is unlike that of any other faculty I have ever known. He provides candid advice as I make decisions that will affect my career, and his experience and foresight into what I need to do to achieve my career goals has afforded me with a host of unique opportunities. Dr. Garland is an asset to the College of Social Work and to the university as a whole.”

Kody Powell
Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering
College of Engineering

“Dr. Powell has helped me personally, but I also wanted to recognize how much he has helped our departmental students as a collective. He has made such a direct impact, especially for being a brand-new faculty member. His advocacy to gain technical experience in any way possible has inspired many students to become more competitive in the job market.” 

Michael Free
Professor of Metallurgical Engineering
College of Mines & Earth Sciences

“Dr. Free often shared some examples of my lab-mates who have graduated and successfully received positions in academia and industry. In addition, he has done everything he can as a supervisor. He sacrificed his time with family and wrote a recommendation letter for me, and I was totally moved. I could not have imagined having a better advisor.”

Jan Miller
Distinguished Professor of Metallurgical Engineering

College of Mines & Earth Sciences

“Dr. Jan Miller is an epitome of hard work, dedication and perseverance. Dr. Miller’s knowledge and experience enriched my skills and helped me pursue a research-oriented career. I have gained good traits, leadership qualities and humility, which helped me in my career development, and also being a better person.”

Janice Ugaki
Associate Instructor

Honors College

“My freshman year class with Janice was one of the most influential classes I have had thus far. She taught the small group of us how to construct the perfect resume, write cover letters and personal statements and more. This class helped me learn to set my eyes further and helped me create the plan for getting there.”

Don Herrin
Associate Professor of Family & Consumer Studies
College of Social & Behavioral Science

“Dr. Herrin is the most influential professor I have had in my college career thus far. From the first day of class I knew that he was there for his students and for no other reason. Dr. Herrin has so much to offer his students — whether it’s his years of experience in the field or his willingness to work one-on-one with his students to ensure they grow and develop the skills they need to succeed in life.”

Peggy McCandless
Clinical Instructor for the Urban Institute for Teacher Education
College of Education

“Peggy has been a huge aide to my career preparation and search for the last three years. She not only taught me how to be the best teacher I could be, but she thoroughly prepared me for finding a job after college. She is one of the first people I consult when making decisions about my career. I can think of no other professor who has had such a lasting impact on my life.”

Shannon Jones
Associate Instructor of Nutrition & Integrated Physiology
College of Health

“Shannon has been my number one supporter and co-conspirator in helping my program reduce food waste and hunger in Salt Lake. Her mentorship is crucial to my success in taking my program research to places nationally. Her enthusiasm and encouragement for my projects are a huge support on my way to turning my passion for food justice, climate change resilience and community engagement into a career.”

Ann Engar
Professor (Lecturer) of Undergraduate Studies
Honors College

“Dr. Engar has been an amazing mentor not only inside the classroom but outside as well. Not only did Dr. Engar help my career development by being an amazing professor, but she always went far beyond what was to be expected of her. She reaches out to each of her students individually with opportunities specific to their field of interest.”

Mark Matheson
Professor of English
College of Humanities

“Mark Matheson is one of the most incredible individuals I have met at the University of Utah. He took the time to really discuss my personal path that led me to my interest in law school. He goes the extra mile to get students where they need to be. Without him, my college experience would be completely different, and he has bettered it in a million ways.”

Joseph Mirci
Associate Professor (Clinical) of Biology
College of Science

“Dr. Mirci was the best professor I had here at the University of Utah. He cares about his students and does everything that he can to help his students succeed in and out of the classroom. He helped me solidify my decision to become a dentist, and this upcoming fall, I will be attending dental school. He is an incredible mentor, and I am thankful that I had him as a professor.”

Amy Sibul
Associate Instructor of Biology
College of Science

“Professor Sibul assisted me in forming The Wildlife Society at University of Utah student chapter, where we have provided education, support and networking for students interested in wildlife ecology and conservation. She helped me and many other students build lasting relationships with professional organizations that have resulted in internships and jobs.”

Clayton Williams
Professor of Physics and Astronomy
College of Science

“I have already learned while working with professor Clayton the value of independent thinking, especially while starting off with a beginning project for something that could eventually expand into many different areas of research. It will be a real-life experience, which is applicable for me to acquire a dual-major in biology and business. I can use concepts of business in science-related lab work.”

Elizabeth Clement
Associate Professor of History
College of Humanities

“During the first few weeks of class, professor Clement brought in several guest speakers, a documentation, a representative from Career Services and a representative from the Education Department to help students understand what careers are available to them. I believe professor Clement provided a different career exploration experience that I have not encountered in the History Department before.” 

CoCo James
Graduate Teaching Assistant in Sociology
College of Social & Behavioral Science

“CoCo listened to my work and college experience, my passions, and pointed me in a direction she thought I would excel in. Unlike other professors, CoCo always provided meaningful feedback on all assignments in both of the courses I took with her. No other professor in my four years of college devoted the same time or effort to students that CoCo maintained.”

Traci Thompson
Assistant Professor (Clinical) of Kinesiology and Director of PEAK Health and Fitness
College of Health

“Traci has been one of the most influential leaders in my educational experience. For example, she had gone out of her way countless times to provide me with unique opportunities for learning and personal growth. She truly cares about the quality of the lives of those she works with, and that example of compassion is something I hope to emulate one day.”

Advisor of the Year: Shawn Adrian
Academic Advisor in English
College of Humanities

“Since our first meeting, I haven’t regretted taking his advice any time I’ve done it. He unfailingly works to stay in contact via email and around campus, even when students’ schedules get busy and he doesn’t hear from us for a while. He never stops trying to understand what we’re experiencing and never stops trying to get us involved in things that might benefit us, both inside and outside of the classes we take. I see him start work early and leave work late very often, and I’m never turned away when I need to talk — sometimes just about university life in general and being overwhelmed as a student. He earnestly considers our issues and aids us in brainstorming solutions and constantly acts as a liaison between his students and the world — whether it be for career exploration or personal development.”