Student Highlight: Nadine Abu-Seraj

Nadine is expected to earn her Masters in Higher Education this August 2017

I entered the University of Redlands, School of Education knowing that my career goal was to become an academic advisor. During my first year in the program, I applied for a graduate assistantship. I was thrilled to be placed with Mrs. Kristin Grammer, who is an academic advisor in the School of Education. In my work with Mrs. Grammer, I saw her interactions with students and this further solidified my career goal. I learned much from her extensive experience and was given the opportunity to work with students on their various academic needs. It felt wonderful to assist students with their career goals. My work felt even more fulfilling because the students in the School of Education were highly qualified and dedicated students.

The second year of my graduate program, I had the privileged of being assigned as Dr. Matthew Witenstein’s graduate research assistant. In my work with Dr. Witenstein, we looked at the experience of immigrant college students. Our focus was on the experience, challenges, and career aspirations and how this impacted their professional development.

As an immigrant student myself, it was validating to see the common experiences we face and the unique needs of this student population. This experience made me even more driven to become an academic advisor and a desire to look more into how best to serve students. 

I had the great opportunity to reflect on my role as a graduate student and a future academic advisor while attending the 2017 Region 9 NACADA Conference in Reno, Nevada with Mrs. Grammer and Ms. Sabrina Wilhelm, a faculty member and the Assistant Director of Academic Success at Redlands. Together we presented a session on “Utilizing Invitational Leadership Theory with Heightened Reflection, Advocacy and Collaboration to Transform College Students’ Advising Experience.” Not only was it an excellent opportunity to expose myself to the advising community, I also enjoyed learning from higher education professionals from many different institutions. As a presenter, I related my own experience as a graduate student to raise awareness of the need to provide mentoring opportunities for students in the advising community.

As I approach the end of my program, I am so excited to put to use all the theories and experience I have gained into practice. I feel well-prepared and knowledgeable about the needs of college students and the services they require. I look forward to becoming a professional and hope to be a source of inspiration for success in others.