In her new role as an academic advisor in the College of Business (COB) at Illinois State University, Jennifer Whitcomb hopes to “give students the tools and information they need to make decisions that best suit their personal goals and dreams.”
“My goal isn’t to ‘tell’ students all the answers but to assist them in realizing the answers and solutions that are best for them,” she continued. “I want students to walk away from our meetings inspired to make the most of their time at ISU. I want to encourage them to take advantage of the opportunities that come their way but also make it a point to seek out new challenges and adventures.”
Dr. Terry Noel, associate dean of academic programs and curriculum, welcomed Whitcomb to the COB and stated, “As an advisor, she is able to not only help students with their study plans but also give them a sense of institutional belonging. ISU is a special place, and we think Jen will help students appreciate and benefit from being a Redbird.”
To begin her career in higher education, Whitcomb worked in housing and residential life and later earned a master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration from ISU with the goal of becoming an academic advisor. In fall 2019, she became an office assistant in the Juila N. Visor Academic Center on campus and in January of this year transferred to her new position working with Marketing majors in the COB.
“I enjoy the energy that students bring the office and the campus as a whole. Students are so excited about their goals and dreams, and I appreciate the joy of seeing them succeed in meeting or surpassing those goals,” Whitcomb observed as she described how she likes helping other succeed both personally and professionally.
She developed an interest in and appreciation for the role of advisors during her undergraduate years attending a small school that did not have staff members who specifically filled that role. As a student, she discovered that she enjoyed keeping track of her course options and planning future semesters as she moved toward graduation. Later, when Whitcomb began researching what career field she wanted to pursue after housing, she recalled that experience and felt herself being drawn to a position in academic advising.
A career in higher education also attracted Whitcomb because it gave her the opportunity to work with both students and colleagues.
“I enjoy the ongoing team effort of helping an institution, in this case ISU, be the best it can be through the support of students and staff alike,” she said. “I really enjoy the campus culture and environment of ISU, and I’m so happy to be back ‘home.’ It is such a welcoming environment, and it has so many special things to offer. I look forward to learning and growing in my advising career. Go Redbirds!”
Speaking of Whitcomb joining the advising staff, Ginny Smith, the COB’s coordinator of academic advisement, shared, “I am very excited about the unique experiences and background that Jennifer is bringing to the Advising Center. Her personality and attention to detail are already proving to be an asset to our team and to her students. As a previous student and staff member at ISU, she has firsthand knowledge of how to best serve our student population.”
When not in the office, Whitcomb enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, as well as coaching, watching and playing volleyball. She also is “a Disney addict” and can typically “be found dreaming of a future trip to or just returning from a visit to the Mouse.”