a group of student consultants wearing business attired pose in the stairway of Stephens Hall

Student Consultant Program Celebrates 20 Years

By Laura Braddick

Each year since 1998, a special cohort of CBE students has played an important role in the college.

CBE Student Consultants are at the frontline of student services in the college, providing peer advising and office staff support as well as running programs, the student newsletter and more.

Created by Patricia Atkinson, the assistant director of the CBE Student Center at the time, who went on to become director, the program’s goal was to increase services for students.

“The reality was that we needed to stretch our limited resources to better serve our students,” said Louise Laurence, who served as the center director at the time. “By training other students to assist in general advising, helping to plan events, be present at Admission Open House to answer prospective student questions, etc., were all valuable in carrying out our mission to serve better the student population.”

the exterior of the original CBE Student Center
The original CBE Student Center offices on the first floor of Stephens Hall, circa 1998.

Student Consultants brought more than extra manpower. As peers, they provided honest and relatable advice to fellow students, said Brad Barker, one of the very first Student Consultants.

In its history, the program has hosted more than 185 student consultants and impacted countless others.

“Being able to speak from a recent experience and talk as peer-to-peer I think sometimes carried more weight than it did coming from the faculty advisers,” he said.

Beyond supporting the entire student body, the program itself has a significant impact on the individual consultants as well. While serving their college and fellow students, consultants gain skills in project management, customer service, public speaking and much more.

Many of the program’s 185 alumni look back and say being a student consultant was one of their most formative experiences as TU. It even inspired many of them to go into higher education or student affairs.

Patricia Atkinson (left), longtime director of student academic and career services and the student consultant program with Dana Fries.

“The student consultant program helped me grow my professional voice,” said Deborah Odagbodo ’16. “The tasks and assignments that I partook in aided in the development of the soft skills I have today. The leadership skills that I acquired during that time laid a solid foundation for me as a student and young professional.”

Beyond the skills and life lessons, alumni say the mentorship from Atkinson and/or the current director of student academic and career services, Lisa Michocki, was the best part of the experience.

“Lisa Michocki had a lasting impression on my career, professional and personal life,” said Odagbodo. “She was someone I could go to for advice about anything. Her perspective was mature. Her words were assuring, and her guidance always had my best interest.”

Barker said even long after his graduation year, the lessons and mentorship he received continued to influence him.
“As I’ve moved up in my career,” he said, “I definitely know that a lot of my success has been because of the experiences I had there.”