Science Counselor Earns Campuswide Advisor of the Year Award
June 12, 2014
For outstanding efforts as an academic advisor in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Kali Cagnolatti earned the campuswide Advisor of the Year Award during UT Dallas’ annual Honors Convocation last month.
“I love what I do,” Cagnolatti said. “When you love what you do, it reflects in the work that you do.”
As an undergraduate student at California Lutheran University majoring in psychology, Cagnolatti planned to become a professional counselor. Along the way, she was steered toward education, earning a master’s degree in professional development with an emphasis in counseling from Amberton University.
Cagnolatti has been an academic advisor in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics since 2009. For a couple of years, she oversaw class selection, registration and updates to degree plans for all undergraduates majoring in biology, physics, geosciences, chemistry and mathematics. And for a few months in 2011, she was the only academic advisor for the school, training new advisors as they were hired.
Now that Cagnolatti is one of several full-time advisors for the school, she focuses primarily on biology students, but the advising team is handling a growing caseload: In the fall 2013 semester, more than 2,400 undergraduates were enrolled in the school.
“Over the years I’ve had many students write to me and say they’ve gotten into medical school or some job and that they couldn’t have done it without me. It really touches me. Just being here for the students, that’s what my job really entails, and I enjoy helping them.”
“I get students when they’re freshmen and take them all the way through their senior year,” Cagnolatti said, adding that she oversees the active files of between 450 and 500 biology students.
The growing volume of students means that time has become one of the biggest challenges in her job.
“Students have all these questions, and during registration there’s a line, so it’s a challenge to serve everyone like I want to,” she said, noting that on a busy day, as many as 100 students come through her office.
“But being focused and being here when they need me make a huge difference. Over the years I’ve had many students write to me and say they’ve gotten into medical school or some job and that they couldn’t have done it without me. It really touches me.
“Just being here for the students, that’s what my job really entails, and I enjoy helping them.”
Cagnolatti also earned the 2014 Dean’s Award for Excellence from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, an annual recognition of distinguished service to the school and its students.