This archived article was written by: Terlynn Westphal
Utah State University Eastern students meet regularly with academic adviser, Liz Prettyman, who was named adviser of the year at the Utah Advising Association in 2016.
Her hard work and love for advising made her deserving of this award, says her advisees. She acknowledges the supportive environment from the staff of USUE including Jan Young, a supervisor who pushed Prettyman to create a portfolio to submit to the UAA committee. “We have awesome people that work on this campus and encourage each other,” she said.
While working with students at USUE, Prettyman earned a master’s degree in academic advising from Kansas State University; another accomplishment in 2016. “It was really hard for me to decide to go back to school because I have two kids and work full time.”
Gypsie Everett, a coworker and friend to Prettyman, provided motivation to achieve this goal. “Gypsie was a huge supporter, we both went back [to school] at the same time.” Despite how busy Prettyman kept while acquiring her degree, she retained a 4.0 at KSU.
“It was good for me to go back to school. It helped me because I had been out of school for seven years before I went back. As an advisor working with students, it made it easier to relate.”
Before her career as an academic advisor, Prettyman attended the College of Eastern Utah as a low-income, first-generation college student. “I did not know what I was doing.” Her first day of school, she signed up for Student Support Services, which had an influence on Prettyman’s college experience.
“My advisor was awesome. I totally credit her for me completing a Bachelor’s degree. It wasn’t my plan, I didn’t think I was capable of that,” Prettyman said.
Upon earning her associate degree from CEU, Prettyman transferred to Utah Valley University and obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She stayed in contact with her SSS advisor, Tracie Noyes, and decided to go into advising in 2009. “[CEU] ended up having an opening in their office. She told me about it, I applied, and that’s how I ended up working for my first advisor.”
Prettyman experienced CEU merge into USUE. She explains the advantages the university gained because of the transition, “it’s awesome, the resources we have, that we didn’t have before. We have a great networking opportunity for our students. We had a lot of students transfer to USU anyway, so with the merger, I know who they are talking to. We transfer so many students that I like seeing that transition to someone that I can follow up on.”
Advising has been a rewarding career for Prettyman. “My favorite thing is when a student I have seen through the whole process comes to me when they’re graduating. I like the good stories. Students have struggles too so we hear about frustration and the ‘not fun’ parts of college.” She loves hearing about the progress previous students make in their lives after graduation.
Watching so many people go through college and having experienced it herself, Prettyman’s advice to a student is, “Enjoy where you’re at and take the time to explore. Enjoy the whole journey. Make your decisions based off of what you want, what makes you happy. Don’t think you’re life starts when you graduate because it is happening right now.”