March 2022 – Nick Russo C’13, G’14 has taken the dynamic relationships we had with his Drew University mentors and applied them in his role at Georgetown University.
Russo, now associate director and advising dean for the undergraduate program in the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown, currently advises more than 200 undergrads. He spoke highly of the close-knit, personal attention he received at Drew.
“The mentorship and advice I received from my two academic advisors, Lillie Edwards, professor emerita of history and African-American studies, and Raul Rosales C’99, professor of Spanish, was so impactful to me in my studies at Drew and beyond,” he said. “I knew I could go to them at any time if I had questions about my semester’s coursework, future goals and aspirations, personal concerns that could have impacted my studies, etc.”
For Russo, these relationships created a model he’s tried to replicate at Georgetown.
“In my role working with undergraduate students, I take in account my own personal experiences with my advisors and the importance of a one-on-one, dynamic relationships, and how much it means to a college student,” he said.
“I strive to create a holistic advising approach in how I work with students to make sure that not only do we talk about academic goals, but how personal goals and aspirations inform the academic experience. You cannot have one without the other. In my career as an academic advisor, my goal is that whenever I meet with students, I try to make our discussions transformational, not transactional, which mimics the same that I received from Drew.”
Advising and mentorship weren’t the only impactful moments for Russo while at Drew. A shortTREC to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands took him out of his comfort zone, which helped him decide to create his own minor in Caribbean studies, and fueled a passion for research he brought to future courses.
Additionally, he discovered a passion for writing in his senior seminar class, which led to him pursuing his MAT in secondary education.
“I was offered admission to Columbia’s M.A. in higher education, but I decided to stay at Drew for one more year in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies—best decision!” he said.
Russo also noted his work with the Orientation Committee, Student Engagement, and Campus Life & Student Affairs departments prompted an eventual career path change to focus on higher education, as opposed to secondary education.
“The mentorship I received outside of the classroom from the Student Affairs staff at Drew was so helpful to me in learning how to get into the field, which graduate programs to consider, the alternate pathways in the industry, etc. Too often University staff go unrecognized for their work with students, and I always thank them for their guidance and support even to this day.”
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