PENN STATE UNIVERSITY
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Jana Peters, advising coordinator and undergraduate adviser in the Department of Animal Science, is the recipient of this year's Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Excellence in Academic Advising Award.
Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences 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.
In her current position since 1999, Peters has mentored many students in the Animal Science major. She coordinates all undergraduate advising in the department; provides academic, educational and career counseling to students at all Penn State campus locations; coordinates student recruitment efforts; assists students with career placement; conducts faculty adviser training; and maintains as many as 40 personal advisees, while assisting many others on a walk-in basis.
For more than 25 years, she also has been secretary/treasurer of the Penn State Stockmen's Club, which is the oldest affiliate group of the college's Alumni Society. She has been instrumental in this group's efforts to create and procure funding for undergraduate student endowments.
Peters earned two degrees from Penn State: a bachelor's in animal production in 1979 and a master's in dairy science in 1984.
"She is beloved by our students," Terry Etherton, distinguished professor and head of the Department of Animal Science, said of Peters. "Jana's impact as an adviser with respect to course planning and career guidance is huge; she has touched so many students' lives."
Etherton also cited Peters' role in attracting students to the department's academic programs. "When I started as head of the department in 1998, our undergraduate enrollment was about 160 students," he said. "Since then, our enrollment has grown to more than 400 students. In many substantive ways, Jana played a key role in the growth of our Animal Science undergraduate program."
Colleague Dale Olver, instructor in dairy and animal science, noted Peters' skills in guiding students towards personal and career goals. "I am always amazed at Jana's ability to discover students' strengths and then to help them find success," he said. "She assesses each student's situation by asking questions about their goals and career options, and then she recommends classes, work opportunities or extracurricular activities that will enhance the student's skills."
Kristina McAllister, an alumna who now works as a loan officer for AgChoice Farm Credit, said Peters served as a positive influence during her academic career at Penn State.
"Her knowledge of the Animal Science curriculum helped me to develop a class schedule that allowed me to achieve my academic and personal goals," she explained. "She encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and participate in extracurricular activities, such as the Ag Advocate program and the livestock judging team. My success professionally can be directly linked to her commitment to developing well-rounded students who are able to apply the skills they learn to their careers post-graduation."
One of Peters' current advisees, Morgan Heller, credits Peters' guidance for helping her to enter her senior year both motivated and prepared for success.
"Ms. Peters continues to encourage and challenge me in both my academic and extracurricular endeavors," Heller said. "She has gone above and beyond to help me reach my goals. Her ability to ascertain what a student is hoping to achieve from his or her time at Penn State is unmatched, and her talent for developing her advisees into successful graduates has certainly not gone unnoticed. I owe much of my success both now and in the future to Jana Peters."