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Staff Spotlight: Allison McElfresh is a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program Awardee

Congratulations to IET Advising’s Allison McElfresh for being a 2022 NOVA Reward and Recognition Program awardee!

The Reward and Recognition Program recognizes administrative and professional faculty, classified staff, teaching faculty, and adjunct faculty who have demonstrated outstanding contributions and exemplary performance.

Allison McElfresh is the strategic lead for advising for students in any of NOVA’s Seventeen Information and Engineering Technology associate degrees and career studies certificates. She brings 14 years of experience as an Advisor and Program Analyst at NOVA to her role.  According to Allison, “One of the greatest challenges of the advising position is finding a balance between responsive advising, where we provide support to students who contact us because they know they need help vs proactive advising, where we try to anticipate problems our IET students might encounter and then attempt to solve those problems before the student even becomes aware of them.”

Her vision is to use data more effectively when advising students and to create resources that help students more easily find the information they need regarding course selection and transfer planning.

So far, she has been able to combine Python programming and Excel to produce tracking sheets that show which students have completed which requirements for their degrees or certificates, so the IET Advisors could identify students who had completed a CSC without being aware of it, so they could be contacted to apply for graduation.  The sheets have also been useful in identifying students who had applied for graduation but forgotten to transfer classes in from another college, allowing those students to complete the transfer process in time.

Allison regularly takes IT classes at NOVA herself in order to acquire the skills to better solve advising problems.  She has been taking courses in Python Programming and Advanced Database Management, and will be working towards the new Data Analytics Specialist CSC which should be added to NOVA’s curriculum sometime in 2023.

“I can’t wait to see the ways in which Machine Learning and Data Analytics can help me find creative ways to advise my students better.”  If you have any advising questions for one of the IET degree or certificate programs, you can reach Allison McElfresh and the other members of the IET Advising team at iet@nvcc.edu.