By Cameron Smith
University of Mississippi
Georgianna Mann, an assistant professor of nutrition and hospitality management at the University of Mississippi, has been awarded the Certificate of Merit of Region 4 Excellence in Advising award from National Academic Advising Association, known as NACADA.
UM officials nominated Mann, winner of the university’s 2020-21 Excellence in Advising Award, for the honor.
Mann said that the award is an honor she owes in part to working with outstanding students. She loves the enthusiasm, spirit and energy they bring to the table.
“They add to the excitement that I already have for our program,” she said. “Investing in students is why I chose this career.”
Mann hopes to leave a lasting impact on every student with whom she works.
“I try to emphasize to my students to know that every experience serves a purpose and to take advantage of the time they have in college to explore all UM has to offer,” Mann said. “I hope my students know that I am invested in their success and will always support them in any way I can.
“It always brightens my day to see an update from a former student.”
Kritika Gupta, a doctoral candidate in nutrition and hospitality management, joined Mann’s research group in fall 2019. Mann was instrumental in helping Gupta navigate an unfamiliar university’s systems and culture when she arrived at Ole Miss as an international student, she said.
“Dr. Mann has been always available as a teacher, mentor and friend,” Gupta said. “She was able to see my curiosity for research and service very early on and connected me with the right people and the right opportunities so I can bloom even better. I have worked as a research assistant, teaching assistant and graduate instructor of record under her supervision and advisory.
“I strongly believe that academic institutions need more people like her who have the needed empathy, understanding and energy on top of experience and expertise.”
Anna Kathryn Colbert, community wellness planner for the Office of Nutrition Education for Mississippi State Extension Service in Batesville, got to know Mann when Colbert was a student in the School of Applied Sciences.
“As an undergraduate student, I quickly clicked with Dr. Mann’s style of making class fun and intriguing by adding witty humor to her lectures,” she said. “As soon as I was accepted to the graduate program, I knew I wanted Dr. Mann as my adviser and then master’s committee chair.
“Not only did she encourage me to go above and beyond with furthering my education, but also continued to do so once I was in the program.”
Mann helped Colbert find internship and volunteer opportunities.
“She’s a dynamic adviser who adapts to my interest-of-the-week, whether that’s a passion for community nutrition or an interest in food science,” Colbert said. “She selflessly uses her variety of connections in the field to support her advisees.
“I can honestly say that Dr. Mann’s support and guidance made a world of difference for me when choosing my career. Now working in community nutrition, she’s a friend and a colleague, and I know that our work together is far from over.”
Mann encourages students to grow and develop into well-rounded members of society, said Travis Hitchcock, assistant director for advising in the UM Center for Student Success and First-year Experience.
“Dr. Mann strives to know each individual student and tailor her advising to their needs,” he said. “She instills values in students that will benefit their future, such as responsibility, communication, self-sufficiency, community projects and other valuable experiences.”
The university’s Excellence in Advising Awards are presented each year to one staff and one faculty academic adviser. Candidates are nominated by students, peers and administrators, and the award is coordinated through the Academic Advising Network steering committee.
Winners are recognized at the fall faculty meeting, receive a stipend from the Office of the Provost, have their name placed on a plaque in the Martindale-Cole Student Services Center and represent the university for the NACADA regional and national awards.
The NACADA regional award winners will be recognized at the group’s annual conference, Hitchcock said.
“Dr. Georgianna Mann is a dedicated faculty who assures the students she advises reach their personal and professional goals,” said Melinda Valliant, professor and chair of the Department of Nutrition and Hospitality Management. “She takes the time to meet with them regularly, provides suggestions/feedback and challenges them to do more.
“She enthusiastically pushes them out of their comfort zone; therefore, helping them build confidence and expand their knowledge and skill set.”
For more information about the award or nomination process, contact the Center for Student Success and First-year Experience at firstname.lastname@example.org.