Meet Academic Advisor, Leanne Castillo
Samantha Toth conducted the following interview with Academic Advisor Leanne Castillo.
- What is your explanation of the job title "academic advisor"? (as a student, I imagine it means you talk to students all day and help them plan out their path to graduating. Is there more to it / other things you do that people don't realize?)
I consider us academic advisors to be the academic tour guides of the university. We assist students with the academic side of things such as what courses to take and what fulfills graduation requirements. However, in our roles, we do more of the counseling part, which includes discussions about career exploration and connecting students with other support services that are free for them to use. For example, if a student is struggling with a subject area, I will connect them with our tutoring and academic support services that can be done remotely. All of the advisors also teach the First Year Experience course that all freshmen need to take in their first year at Kent State University.
Lastly, some advisors advise specialty programs such as the Associates of Applied Science in Nursing (ADN), the Middle Childhood Education program, or the College Credit Plus students. These programs have selective admissions and require students to complete specific prerequisite courses before applying to them.
- Do you only work with students studying psychology? If not, what other majors?
Yes, I work with the following majors:
- Associates of Science /Associates of Arts Degrees (can be completed in 2 years)
- Aeronautics and Engineering (first two semesters before they transition to the Kent campus)
- Architecture & Environmental Design (first two semesters before they transition to the Kent campus)
- Arts & Sciences (Sociology, Psychology, English)
- Exploratory (undecided)
- If you had to guess, how many students do you see on average per semester?
Depending on the time of year but collectively as an advising team, I believe we have appointments with approximately 700-1000 students within a semester during our busiest season times.
- Did you attend college? If so, what did you study? How did you find yourself in this career? Yes, I graduated with my Bachelors in Communications and my Masters in Education Adult Learning and Development from Cleveland State University.
I actually was a student worker while in college in many different offices at my Alma mater. I fell in love with working within higher education and realized my passion for helping students navigate college. I owe my success in college to a wonderful advisor, and I asked her how do I get her job. The answer was to work hard and then pursue a master's degree. That is exactly what I did. I went back to graduate school full time, worked full time, and earned my Masters's degree in 2017.
- Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?
Yes, I love to spend time with my family. My one-year-old keeps us very busy she just learned how to walk! I really enjoy watching anything Marvel and vacationing to beaches.
- Any advice to students who are unsure about their career path / do not know exactly what they want to do after graduation?
My advice would look up different degrees or jobs that you find interesting and figure out what degrees they require. You can do this by looking up the careers on the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics website; this will allow you to view many occupations and salaries and different projections of how needed the jobs will be in the upcoming years.
Also, I suggest for students to talk to their professors regarding their respective career fields.