Undergraduate advisor wins Gopher Spirit Award

A round of applause for Jacquelyn Burt—who has received the 2021 Gopher Spirit Award from the Academic Advising Network. This annual award goes to a University of Minnesota advisor who “contributes to a positive office culture; is inclusive and brings others up.”

Jacquelyn brings an energy and spirit unparalleled by anyone at the University of Minnesota. She uses her Gopher pride to make sure that the Data Science and Computer Science & Engineering programs are inclusive and welcoming for students, faculty, and staff. Phrases including “Ski-u-marvelous” and “Gopher-it” are a part of our vocabulary because of Jacquelyn Burt.

Since joining the Computer Science & Engineering department as an academic advisor in August 2019, she has shared her unique abilities to engage with our diverse community of students, staff, and faculty. Jacquelyn does so much more than just advise our undergraduate students—she has also stepped up in and out of the office, and has positively impacted the department and community in so many ways, including:

  • designing and facilitating mandatory implicit bias training for all undergraduate teaching assistants each semester;
  • co-teaching CSCI 2980, which brings leadership, communication, and community-building skills to the department’s undergraduate TAs;
  • incorporating a feature which highlights individuals with marginalized identities in the field of computing into the weekly undergraduate mailer, which is sent to over 1,000 students;
  • collaborating with Professor Kevin Wendt to promote and organize CSCI 4950, our senior software project course which provides a unique experience for students;
  • promoting a positive office culture, by creating the “Gopher Gratitude Board”, where staff and faculty can share kudos with one another, and has since moved this into our current virtual environment;
  • volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run, an after-school program that works with 3rd-5th grade girls and uses running as a vehicle to help them develop personal leadership, healthy relationship skills, and community engagement, for the past 12 seasons.

Phil Barry, the Associate Department Head for Instruction and Jacquelyn’s collaborator for CSCI 2980, shared that “Jacquelyn lectured on leadership and communication, which provided the TAs with useful knowledge and skills for working with diverse students. Her presentations included a number of activities that went a long way in promoting community—each one let the students collaborate on a task and gave them fun and interesting ways to share ideas with each other.”

Jacquelyn will be presented with this award at the Tate Conference on March 5. Congratulations to you, Jacquelyn!