Ferrara, Nwranski receive Excellence in Advising Award

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -– Irene Ferrara, senior instructor of engineering at Penn State Altoona, and Ro Nwranski, academic adviser in the College of Health and Human Development, have been selected to receive the 2012 Penn State Excellence in Advising Award.

The award, established by the former Undergraduate Student Government’s Academic Assembly and sponsored by each college, annually honors one full-time faculty member and one full-time professional adviser from any Penn State location who have at least two years of advising experience. Selection criteria are based on excellence in general advising, academic and career guidance, enthusiasm and assistance in decision-making, and goal setting.

Ferrara is coordinator of the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology Program, a bachelor’s degree program in which students complete all four years at Penn State Altoona. As the sole advisor for EMET students, she has established procedures such as creating and updating program grids for each student, contacting students before scheduling begins each semester and following up to ensure that students are taking appropriate action.

“I believe that developing a positive rapport with students is essential,” Ferrara said. “I genuinely enjoy working with young people, and I sincerely do want to see each and every one of them succeed. I go out of my way to create a comfortable and accepting environment. “

An instructor at Penn State Altoona since 1995, she is a member of the campus’ Advising Task Force. She received the 2011 Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Advising Award.

Before becoming an academic adviser in the College of Health and Human Development in 2001, Nwranski was a student aid adviser in the Office of Student Aid. She said that experience influences her current work.

“As I listen to students, I hear the need for help not only with academic questions, but also in their personal, financial and career lives,” she said. “I believe that we no longer have the luxury of advising in only one area, such as academics. Student issues include all pieces of their lives and should be tended to collectively, not in portions.”

One student said, “Over the years, I have learned that there is nothing she can’t handle. Whether I’m having problems with my classes, family, health or finances, I know I can go to her for a pep talk.”

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Last Updated April 17, 2012