Providing central coordination for the undergraduate advising, career services & learning support communities

Congratulations to the 2023 Advising, Career Services & Learning Support Award Recipients!

At the end of the spring 2023 semester, over 200 UW–Madison advisors, career services professionals, and learning support staff gathered to celebrate the closing of another academic year and hand out some much deserved accolades. 

Advising, Career Services, and Learning Support Awards were presented to members of the three communities in recognition of their exceptional contributions to our campus and community.

Winners of the 2023 Advising, Career Services & Learning Support Awards gather with their framed awards.

Commitment to Social Justice Award

Madison Hartup

Academic Advisor, Department of Economics

From the nominators: “Ms. Hartup is passionate about improving the undergraduate experience in the Economics department and actively listens to students’ concerns. Collectively her work with [the] Economics Inclusion Board, Women in Economics, international students, and her general advising position, is irreplaceable.”

Collaborative Impact Award

Jordan Berken

Academic Advisor, Letters & Science Academic Advising Services

Alyssa Pon-Franklin

Academic Advisor formerly with Cross-College Advising Service, now with the School of Education

Carmen Pitz

Assistant Director for Study Abroad Advising, International Academic Program

For their work with the UW Global Launch in London program

From the nominators: “We are so grateful for all the ways in which Jordan, Alyssa, and Carmen have collaborated across campus units to create and ensure a positive, engaging, and life-changing experience for some of our first-year students.”

Outstanding Achievement Award

Lupe Kettleson-Ahedo

Associate Dean, Center for Academic Excellence

From the nominators: “Ms. Lupe’s name is consistently mentioned at the CAE graduations by her students with words of gratitude. One such quote is from one of her recently graduated students: I am beyond grateful for my CAE advisor Lupe, who made this big campus feel like home and supported me in navigating the college journey and beyond.””

Outstanding Achievement Award

Sarah Schaefer

Associate Director for Career Education and Advising with the School of Education

From the nominators: “Over the past seven years, Sarah has contributed to the success of hundreds of UW undergraduate and graduate students as they navigate their career journeys across the arts, education and health fields.

Community Leadership Award

India Viola

Academic Advisor, Department of Integrative Biology

From the nominators: “She is attentive to and supportive of her students as they make their way through the bioscience curriculum, she shares content with her peers in order to support their work, and more importantly, India advocates for the advising community by demanding that campus leaders recognize the vital role that advisors play in helping students chart their course and career plans, their campus involvement and their community engagement.

Early Career Excellence Award

Kim Vue

College Advisor, PEOPLE Program

From the nominators: “The contributions she has made in her less than two years of service with PEOPLE College have shaped and improved our programming and outcomes for years to come…her dedication, compassion, and expertise have made a significant impact on the college experiences of the first generation and low-income college students that make up PEOPLE.

Keystone Award

Dr. Shawn Peters

Writing & Study Skills Specialist & Instructor, Center for Educational Opportunity

From the nominators: “He is an extraordinary instructor, learning specialist, student advocate, and ceaseless proponent for equity, inclusion, and belonging in higher education.”

Keystone Award

Brandon Spoon

Associate Director of Marketing and Communications, SuccessWorks

From the Nominators:

“Brandon is a smart, reliable, good-natured, professional colleague and leader who truly cares about students’ learning and campus experiences; these traits always shine through whenever I work with him.

Keystone Award

Albert Muñiz

Advisor, POSSE Program

From a POSSE Scholar: “Thank you [Albert] for being there for me in my brightest days and in my darkest ones, always ready to give advice, freshman year all the way through graduation. Even though I left for a while, I knew I could always count on you to steer me in the right direction.

Outstanding Student Employee Award

Hope Ngirwe

Center for Academic Excellence

From the nominators: “In her role as a lead peer mentor, Ms. Ngirwe consistently advocates for the needs of other peer mentors and students in the program. She does not hesitate to speak her mind and challenge authority when it comes to moving the needle in service and advocacy for those who are marginalized.”

Outstanding Student Employee Award

Akshay Kalra

Center for Educational Opportunity

From the nominators: “As a Peer Navigator he has an innate ability to make our first-year scholars feel like they have quickly found a community at UW. Our first-year students know that with Akshay they have a fierce supporter, advocate, and incredibly knowledgeable mentor on their side.”

Outstanding Student Employee Award

Shreyam Taneja

DoIT Student Tech Trainer

From the nominators: “He has been consistent in his commitment to taking on new challenges throughout his time at STS, as well as delivering quality work in the workshops he teaches and the resources he diligently creates to help fellow UW-Madison students amplify their software knowledge to succeed in their personal and course projects.”

Outstanding Student Employee Award

Aishwarya Gouthaman

DoIT Software Training for Students

From the nominators: “Her skill, her dedication, and her generosity of time and spirit are what I hope for any student employee, and having all of those together in a package that is also friendly, kind, and intelligent is hard to top.”

Outstanding Student Employee Award

Caitlyn Se

DoIT Software Training for Students

From the nominators: “Caitlyn is without a doubt, one of the most thoughtful students our team has had; and we are so excited to see what further impacts and contributions she will make in our community after graduation through her critical lens and mindfulness for inclusion and diversity.”

Campus Partner Award

Omar Poler

Each year, the Office of Undergraduate Advising chooses a campus partner to recognize, honor and thank for their contributions to the UW Advising, Career Services, and Learning Support Communities. 

Omar has provided tremendous support, wisdom, and insight to help build awareness within the three communities about the history of and contemporary relationships between the First Nations of Wisconsin and UW–Madison. 

Omar Poler stands in a circle of students by the lake

Awards Sponsored by the Graduate School

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Support

Kristin Cooper

Graduate Program Manager in the Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology Program

From the nominators: “The program has flourished, and Kristin has developed a strong reputation within the School of Medicine and Public Health for her commitment to student advocacy, her strong collaborative nature, her ability to problem-solve, her efficacy as an administrator, and her talents and creativity in modern graduate training program development.

Outstanding Graduate Student Employee Award

Caroline Hensley

PhD student in English with an emphasis in Literary Studies, and Undergraduate Career Advisor in the English Department

From the nominators: “Her enthusiasm and dedication to the work of supporting English majors as they pursue interest in humanistic work is contagious. …I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to witness her in action.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Support

Catherine Ryan

Graduate Program Manager in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry

From the nominators: “Kate is the heart and soul of the IPiB program… Her calm, relaxed approach has been an anchor against tumultuous times… Her door is always open for all of us, and we are all thankful for that, because without Kate, I don’t know how the program would go on.


Outstanding Graduate Student Employee Award

Emma Hinker

Graduate student in the Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis program and student services project assistant in the Department of Life Sciences Communication

From the nominators: “It is not uncommon for me to hear weekly (at least) how much people appreciate Emma and enjoy working with her…She demonstrates excellence daily and is exactly the kind of young professional we want leading the next generation of higher ed professionals.

Award recipients were honored during the Spring Celebration & Awards Ceremony hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Advising on May 15, 2023. 

These awards are a recognition of not only the hard work and dedication of each individual recipient, but also of the collective work of hundreds of advisors, learning support staff, and career services professionals who strive every day to make UW-Madison a more equitable, inclusive, and innovative place where students and staff can succeed.