Congratulations to this year's inaugural award winner for the Distinguished Advising Award- 

Melissa Fenn

Melissa Fenn, an academic advisor from Kent State University's College of Nursing, stands in a sunny spot outside holding her Distinguished Advising Award for the 2023-2024 academic year

Melissa is a Senior Advisor II in the College of Nursing.  She has been an advising professional for 24 years, 16 of which have been at Kent State.  She works specifically with honors students and assists in-program students through to graduation.  She is kind, compassionate, and has been described by many as the best listener anyone could ask for.

The Distinguished Advising Award is the most prestigious honor in academic advising.  Academic advisors across all colleges and campuses were nominated by fellow colleagues, staff members, and students who believe they provided extraordinary advising and showed exemplary dedication in the work that they do and how it impacts the lives of their students. We received 190 overall nominations submitted and 57 unique advisors were nominated. 83% of the nominations came from our students. We had a committee representative from all our colleges and campuses that reviewed the nominees.


Prior Award Recipients 


  • Advisor - Irene Skleres, Coordinator of Academic Services & Student Accessibility Services, Kent State Ashtabula
  • Administrator - Kathy Zarges, Assistant Dean of Advising, Student Success & Licensure, College of Education, Health, and Human Services


  • Advisor - Layne Crow, Senior Learning Community Coordinator, Exploratory Advising Center
  • Administrator - Ellie Hansen, Director of Academic Advising, College of Communication & Information


  • Advisor - Shaunte Rouse, Academic Advisor II, College of Public Health
  • Administrator - Dr. Curtis Good, Director of Operations & Student Services, College of Nursing


  • Advisor - Kristofer Braxton, Academic Advisor II, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Administrator - Mandy Anderson, Director of Academic Advising, College of Arts & Sciences


  • Advisor - Rachel Ruic, Academic Advisor II, College of Communication & Information 
  • Administrator - Nicole Kotlan, Director of the Exploratory Advising Center, University College