College of Ag Sciences recognizes Shannon for excellence in academic advising

June 09, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Tammy Shannon, academic advising coordinator for the environmental resource management program, has received the 2020 Excellence in Academic Advising Award from Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Sponsored by the college’s Alumni Society, the award recognizes faculty members and staff for overall effectiveness in student advising, individual student goal setting and career planning, and personal counseling. Candidates are recommended by faculty, students, administrators and alumni.

Shannon became the academic adviser for the environmental resource management major in 2012. In this role, she advises 100-110 undergraduates per year on academic planning, internship opportunities and careers. She contends that every student can have a substantial positive impact in the world and that it is her role to help them discover where they want to go with their talents and interests and connect them with the resources they need.

Her related responsibilities include developing and participating in orientation programs for students and faculty, assisting transfer students, serving as program liaison with college and University advising offices, supporting recruitment activities, and coordinating alumni relations. She also serves as the staff adviser for the Environmental Resource Management Society student club.

Tammy Shannon

Tammy Shannon, academic advising coordinator for the environmental resource management program.

IMAGE: Penn State

In addition to advising, Shannon teaches several courses, including a first-year seminar for incoming freshmen that fosters student engagement through visits to University sites such as The Arboretum at Penn State, Frost Entomological Museum and the Sustainability Experience Center. She also has been instrumental in developing and leading study abroad opportunities in sustainable agriculture and natural resources to Costa Rica, New Zealand and Chile.

Her work and leadership have been critical to the program’s strength and vitality and its high national profile, said Matt Royer, interim director of Penn State's Environment and Natural Resources Institute, which administers the environmental resource management program.

Royer, who also directs the institute's Agriculture and Environment Center, described Shannon as the “heart and soul” of the environmental resource management program. He added that she brings positive energy and professionalism to the position.

“She brings out the best in students and instills within them confidence in the academic and career choices she helps guide them to make,” Royer wrote in his nomination letter. “I teach a required course for the ERM major, offer experiential learning opportunities for ERM students, and have employed many as interns. All the students I have gotten to know have nothing but high praise and high regard for Tammy.”

One of those students is Jenna Mitchell, a 2014 graduate who is the Pennsylvania state director of the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay. In her letter of support, she praised Shannon as an “absolutely extraordinary adviser” whose dedication to students is unwavering.

“Tammy’s warmth is clear from the moment you meet her,” Mitchell wrote. “Throughout my college career, I faced many moments of fear and uncertainty in my future. She was always a willing ear, able to offer wise and encouraging words to keep me confident and dedicated to finding my path. Tammy has created an ERM family, where each student is supported in achieving his or her best. Without Tammy’s guidance, I do not believe that I would have had the confidence and passion for pursuing and building my career.”

When another former student, Katie Speicher, was named student marshal for the 2016 commencement ceremony, she was asked to choose a faculty escort. “Without hesitation, I chose Tammy; she had guided me through my four years in the ERM program and was my cheerleader the entire time,” said Speicher, a former Peace Corps volunteer who works for Waterpenny Farm, in Sperryville, Virginia.

“Every time I visit Penn State, I take the time to see her and get updates on her new grandchild, talk about hikes we've done and catch up on any other piece of news in our lives,” Speicher said. “Tammy is hardworking, caring, resourceful and approachable. She pushes her students to excel, encourages exploration of all the University has to offer and offers a wide network of connections. She is an excellent academic adviser.”

Also singing Shannon’s praises is Jim Shortle, Distinguished Professor of Agricultural and Environmental Economics and former director of the Environment and Natural Resources Institute. Shortle said Shannon has been an “exceptionally effective partner” in the management and development of the environmental resource management program at the institute.

“This program provides tremendous opportunities to enrich students’ education at Penn State by engaging them in research and outreach activities of the institute,” Shortle said. “Tammy has been an outstanding partner and leader in realizing this potential. Her work shows her dedication to excellence, a deep interest in the experience and success of students, a genuine enjoyment from working with students, and her understanding of the mission, vision and content of the environmental resource management program.”


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Last Updated June 09, 2020