University Affairs

Provost Office Awards 2024 Academic Advisors of the Year

By Marcus Jensen |

Tylan Dee (left) and Jordan Truex (right)

LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University’s Office of the Provost, along with the USU Advising Awards Committee, is pleased to announce the 2024 Academic Advisors of the Year. Tylan Dee has been named the Outstanding New Advisor of the Year, while Jordan Truex has been named the Outstanding Professional Advisor of the Year.

Dee and Truex were selected by the committee based on the advisors’ accomplishments and service providing academic advising centered around student needs, implementing tools and technologies and contributions to advising colleagues.

Dee is an academic advisor at USU Blanding campus. He is a member of the Diné (Navajo) tribe and grew up on the Navajo reservation in Monument Valley before recently settling in Blanding.

“Tylan has consistently proven himself to be a self-starter with an exceptional talent for problem-solving,” said Priscilla Arungwa, director of students at USU Blanding. “Tylan's reliability, intelligence, and amiable nature make him an invaluable asset to our team and a significant contributor to the positive trajectories of our students' careers. His dedication, expertise, and collaborative spirit set him apart as an exceptional candidate for this honor.”

Dee began attending USU in 2012 and worked in the school’s cafeteria beginning that year. After taking a hiatus from school in 2014 due to struggling with classwork and facing academic suspension, Dee joined the staff as a full-time employee, eventually working his way up to Day Shift Manager. Knowing it was time for a change, he returned to finish his bachelor’s degree in 2021, majoring in Integrated Studies, graduating in 2022. During this time, Dee also applied and was accepted for one of the Student Services Coordinator positions through USU Blanding working with the admissions and registrar’s office. It was here that he got into helping other students.

While working on his bachelor’s degree and remembering the struggles of leaving the reservation for the first time, Dee came to the realization that he knew what he wanted to do with his life: be an academic advisor at USU Blanding and help other students succeed who come from this similar background.

“Advising at USU Blanding has been such a fulfilling experience that has allowed me to focus on helping students experience their own empowerment, develop their work ethical mindset, and discover how their resilience can contribute to self-improvement,” Dee said. “I challenge my students to channel those aspects into succeeding in their coursework, programs, life goals, and career ambitions. Being able to see my students believing in themselves and achieving their goals is beyond rewarding. I have a huge passion for working in higher education and advocating for my students because I know how it felt to be in their shoes at one point. Also being from the Navajo reservation, I wanted to help other Native American students succeed while coming to USU Blanding, as I personally know how it is being away from the reservation for the first time.”

Working with students, Dee strives to help them create plans, guiding them into their programs of interest, and helping them achieve their educational and career goals. He strives every day to help educate others and help them find their full potential beyond their own expectations.

“Tylan has been a very supportive and resourceful academic advisor,” said Shania Paul, a student majoring in elementary education at USU Blanding. “With his motivating words and guidance, he helped me overcome my academic challenges and struggles which played a crucial role in my academic success. I’ve seen how he prioritizes and communicates with each of his students and shows genuine interest to support and help them succeed in their academic journey with Utah State University.”

Dee is praised by his supervisor for being proactive at identifying and addressing inefficiencies. He is also commended for his leadership and work with students.

Dee continued his schooling and was admitted into the Educational Technology and Learning Sciences, Master of Education program, graduating in 2024. He will continue to work for USU Blanding as he works toward a doctorate degree in Higher Education administration from the University of Utah.

Truex is the senior academic advisor for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and was the department’s first professional academic advisor when she joined the department in 2018.

“Being an academic advisor has changed my life in ways I never imagined,” Truex said. “I am in awe of the strength of my students and their passion and drive to make their dreams realities. I truly work with the best students. They inspire me. Helping them to navigate through their college experience has been one of the greatest joys and honors of my life. I am truly honored to have been selected for this award amongst the amazing advisors in the USU community. Aggie advisors are truly the best of the best!”

A graduate of USU and native of Logan, Truex holds four degrees: a bachelor’s in history with a minor in chemistry, a bachelor’s in business administration, a master’s degree in instructional leadership and an MBA.

Truex has worked at USU since 2014, working in several positions before becoming an academic advisor for the chemistry and biochemistry department. She is deeply passionate about student success and achievement and strives to help each of her students find success in both their academics and life journeys.

“Jordan has completely revolutionized the advising structure for our 300+ majors since her arrival,” said Lance Seefeldt, department head of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “This includes creating an online appointment system, meeting with all of our majors yearly to build their degree programs, creating an advising Canvas page to share information, updating degree maps and recruiting materials, and participating in curriculum development committees. These changes have been widely applauded by students and faculty alike, leading to a high student retention in our degrees.”

Truex’s students regularly report positive feedback on their interactions with her. Said one: “Jordan has been an incredible advisor. She is always so helpful in not only making just making sure all my requirements are being met, but also recommending other types of courses that may be useful to take based off of what I want to pursue for a career. She truly wants all her students to succeed here and works to set them up as best as she can to make that happen!"

In addition to her role as an academic advisor, Truex heads the Chemistry and Biochemistry Undergraduate Student Association (CABUSA), for which she received a grant from the American Chemical Society in 2023, to reinstate USU’s student chapter. Rebounding from pandemic-era inactivity, the group has been incredibly active in promoting science and chemistry through service, teaching, and leadership by providing classroom demonstrations and participation in STEM nights at more than 15 local elementary schools, participating in Science Unwrapped, hosting an American Red Cross Blood Drive, and running a food drive for the Cache Community Food Pantry.

“This program picked up the old Chemistry Club that had been idle for years,” Seefeldt said. “CABUSA is engaging our majors in science-related activities. It is an honor to work with someone who is so dedicated to her craft and who is making such a difference in the life of our majors.”

This summer Truex will begin a Ph.D. program in Leadership in Academic Advising at Kansas State University.

WRITER

Marcus Jensen
News Coordinator
University Marketing and Communications
marcus.jensen@usu.edu

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