Academic Advisor of the Year

Congratulations to Michelle Gnoleba Seki, Senior Academic Advisor in the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, 2019 Academic Advisor of the Year Award!

Dr. Jeannie Brown Leonard (left) and Dr. Janette Muir (right) presents Michelle Gnoleba Seki (center) with the 2019 Academic Advisor of the Year Award

On Friday, March 22, 2019, Michelle Gnoleba Seki, School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, Senior Advisor within the College of Education and Human Development, was chosen as Mason’s 2019 Academic Advisor of the Year! Michelle is the 15th person to receive this recognition and the only the second advisor from the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism, to receive this award. The committee considered the following criteria in the selection of the Mason Advisor of the Year:

  • Caring, helpful attitude toward students
  • Provides accurate information regarding university academic requirements
  • Availability to students, faculty, and staff
  • Makes appropriate referrals
  • Knowledge of George Mason University regulations, policies, and procedures
  • Supports student development through advising

Here are just a few of the comments submitted by students in support of Michelle’s nomination:

“Michelle has been kind, helpful, and has answered all of my questions. I remember going in on the first day, sitting down with her and saying, “I would love to graduate early, is that possible?” and she said, “Let’s do it.” …

“Michelle is the kindest person in the entire world. She truly cares about my success and shows it every time I visit. I feel comfortable sharing everything with her and she is always there to help without judgement. At times I’ve felt overwhelmed by school and she has always kept me rooted. She is the best!”

“Michelle has been the absolute best during my time here at Mason. She is so knowledgeable, and provides sound advice for each and every student. She is professional and kind, advising appointments never have been something I disliked because Michelle makes them so interesting with all the help she gives!”

“Michelle is always helping me be the best I can be during my academic career. She helps me to identify the struggles that I am facing in a way that makes me feel empowered to take them on and come through successfully. She constantly makes sure that my well-being is placed before anything else, and that I am truly thriving in my own conditions. She also always makes me feel excited about starting new opportunities through Mason and in my community to ultimately help me grow as an individual. I would not be where I am today without Michelle!”

In accepting the award Michelle noted the pivotal role of MAAN (Mason Academic Advisor Network) and CAART (Center for Academic Advising, Retention, and Transitions) played in her development as an academic advisor.  Prior to joining Mason, Michelle worked at James Madison University; however, it was through her summer practicum in CAART when she was introduced the world of advising.  Today she is Mason’s Academic Advisor of the Year and serving her first term as MAAN co-chair.

An academic advisor can be nominated for the Advisor of the Year award by any faculty or staff member, student or alumnus. The recipient is chosen by a committee of peers based on the quality of the nominations, as opposed to simply the number of nominations received for that person. In addition to naming Michelle as the 2019 Academic Advisor of the Year the following ten advisors were also recognized for their outstanding student support:

Claudia Borke (Bioengineering)

Christy Genova (Information Technology)

Brian Gillette (Community Health)

Yena Kim (School of Business)

Kurt Lazaroff (Bachelor of Individualized Study)

Bradley Morris (School of Business)

Lisa Sevilla (Information Technology)

Kristin Tyburczy (Criminology, Law and Society)

Stormi Woltz (Recreation, Health, and Tourism)

Robert “Bobby” Yi (School of Art)

This year we received more votes (793) than ever before for 108 different advisors representing every college/school. Please find a breakdown of this year’s nominations below.

Academic Advisor of the Year Nominations 2018 – 2019

There were 793 nominations placed for 108 different academic advisors representing every undergraduate College at George Mason University.


College/School/Program Advisors Nominations
Athletics 1 1
Bachelor of Applied Science 1 9
Bachelor of Individualized Study 2 32
CAART                                                                              3 12
College of Education and Human Development 8 111
College of Health and Human Services 9 30
College of Humanities and Social Sciences 16 95
College of Science 14 23
College of Visual and Performing Arts 4 126
Honors College 6 11
Mason Korea 3 7
Schar School of Policy and Government 4 19
School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution 4 18
School of Business 10 116
School of Integrative Studies 6 13