LOGAN, Utah — Utah State University’s Office of the Provost, along with the USU Advising Awards Committee, is pleased to announce the 2023 Academic Advisors of the Year. Maygen Simm has been named the Outstanding Professional Advisor of the Year, while Madison Rasmuson has been named the Outstanding New Advisor of the Year.
Simm and Rasmuson 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.
Simm is the lead academic advisor at USU Uintah Basin, having joined the campus in 2017.
“Utah State has so many fantastic advisors,” Simm said. “As a Statewide Advisor, earning this recognition means a lot.”
Simm enjoys working with students to develop and utilize their strengths, helping them identify and achieve their educational goals. Simm is always striving to improve her advising practice and to learn more so she can better serve USU students. She says one of the most rewarding parts of her job is working with students who are undecided on their career path and seeing them find a major that gets them excited.
“When I work with undecided and exploratory students, I love when they go through the major exploration process and find a major that clicks for them — one that gets them excited to continue on and set new goals,” Simm said. “My students’ stories inspire me. I love that I get to work with students from varying backgrounds and get to know them while helping them reach their academic goals.”
Simm is a first-generation college graduate, earning her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Utah in 2013 and a master’s degree from USU in 2020. Simm was raised on the Uintah and Ouray reservation in Northeastern Utah. She attributes her work ethic and success to her daughter, grandma, mother and the rest of her family's support over the years.
Since 2021, Simm has been USU Uintah Basin’s Ute Indian Tribe Liaison, creating connections with the tribal departments to ensure that USU is meeting their needs. She works closely with the Ute Indian Tribe Education Department to provide academic advising to Ute Tribe members, descendants and employees of the Ute Tribe who attend USU.
As an undergraduate, Simm utilized academic advising and saw the difference an advisor could make in a student’s life and their college experience.
“I was lucky that I had a great advisor for my first year of college,” she said. “They helped me navigate a system I didn’t feel I belonged in as a first-generation student. During that first year, I had some significant personal struggles that I would have given up on school if I didn’t have that advisor who let me know early on that they were someone there for me. Without them, I would not have completed my first year in school and likely not be where I am today.”
Rasmuson has served as an academic advisor since September 2021, working in USU’s Exploratory Advising Office as a business and communications advisor.
“I am truly just honored by this award,” Rasmuson said. “This award not only honors me, but I feel that it honors all the work that is being done by our Exploratory Advising team. They are such dedicated, passionate advisors and I would not be here without their support, mentorship and partnership. I would also not be able to receive this honor without my students. I thank them for collaborating with me, meeting with me, and allowing me to be a small part of their academic journey.”
Rasmuson is an alum of USU, beginning her schooling in the fall 2018 semester. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in human development in 2021 and would later go on to earn a master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in school counseling education.
When first starting at USU, Rasmuson said, she didn’t know in what she wanted to major. She credits her academic advisor at USU’s Exploratory Advising Office in helping her come to that decision. Now, she does the same for others.
“Working in the Exploratory Advising Office has been a full-circle experience for me,” she said. “I started as an undecided student at USU and was actually advised here. Especially because I was unsure what I wanted to study, I was and still am so appreciative of the support that I was given by my academic advisor and the resources that they shared. I think having someone who was dedicated to helping me find the right fit and selecting a major that would support me in accomplishing my goals had a monumental impact on my trajectory throughout my degree.”
Rasmuson enjoys meeting with students who are exploring their option of majors at USU and said her favorite thing about being an advisor is helping students declare their majors and find their passion.
“There is truly nothing more rewarding than meeting with a student and hearing them say that they are ready to declare their major,” Rasmuson said. “It is so gratifying to see their increased confidence and know that they have found a direction and something that they are passionate about pursuing as their academic career.”
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