Towers Talk is a WVU podcast featuring Residence Hall Coordinators Angela Delfine-Mechler and Patrick O’Donnell. Each week, the hosts bring you an interview with different members of the WVU community to help you get adjusted to your new campus home!

Join Angela Delfine-Mechler and Patrick O'Donnell as they interview Kristin Brewster, an Academic Advisor with the Statler College of Engineering. She is the Curricular Outreach Program Coordinator for Statler and the Campus Partner who works with the Engineering LLC in Braxton Tower. Kristin will share some info on her experience here at WVU and with the engineering LLC. Tune in here!

Transcription:

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Towers Talk. I'm Angela. I’m Patrick. Welcome back to another week. The Towers Talk podcast is brought to you by Lyon, Bennett and Braxton Towers. Towers. You can live anywhere, but when you're here, you're home. Today, we are joined by Kristin Brewster. Kristin, as an academic advisor at the Statler college of engineering.

She is the curricular outreach program coordinator for Statler. Lastly, she is the campus partner who works with the Engineering LLC and Braxton talent. Kristin is a national award-winning adviser. And last spring, she won the resident's life partner of the year award. But today she's just our esteemed guest.

So welcome, Kristin. Thanks for having me. Awesome. So, Kristin, our first question that we have for you today is can you share a bit about your educational background and how you ended up at WVU? Yeah, sure. So I am a graduate of WVU am I earned my master's here in the Benedum collaborative education program and I have my undergraduate in mathematics.

So I actually originally was going to be a high school math teacher. I started out there, I taught in high school for seven years, and then I transitioned to teaching at WVU. I work in the fundamentals of engineering program. So I work with the students in the transition from high school to. College, which is super useful since I actually just did that myself just on the faculty side of things.

So, yeah, that's a little bit about my educational background. So you didn't study engineering. Wow. That's crazy. I did not. So it's, it's all part of that whole STEM thing, right? So, you know, mathematics, engineering difference. I say that me and Kristin have been working together for a number of years. I say that for our, for our listeners, because a lot of people, when they hear that me and Kristin worked with the Engineering LLC, they just assume that.

We both are graduates from Statler and that we both have engineering degrees and I've had people that I work with that have known me for years that are like, Oh, you, you went here for undergrad and you got a degree in engineering and I'm like, no, no, I did not actually. So awesome. All right. Sorry. That was just a tangent real quick.

So, Kristin, I know that you work, you know, with our Engineering LLC here in Braxton tower. Can you talk a little bit more about this LLC and what role you play? Yeah. So I am the faculty partner for the engineering, living, learning community. So a lot of what I do is I work with Patrick and we create programming.

So the different events that you see your students taking part in throughout the year, we kind of brainstorm those and put those together. Sometimes we just base it off of things that we want to do that are relevant to engineering. And then sometimes our programming is based off of what the students need.

So we've said in like a lot of our meetings this year, actually that we thrive on student feedback. So hearing what the students are doing, that they liked the programs, they didn't like the program. Everything that we do is unique to that year. Just depending on student need. Awesome. Thank you. We've all had challenges with the pandemic.

We've me and Angela talked ad nauseum about that throughout this year with our various guests and invite ourselves as well. So Kristin, what programs do you miss being able to do the most? And are there any that, that have come up this year that you think will stick around for the future of the Engineering LLC?

Well, I guess before I talk about the programs that I miss, I just have to say that I missed students. Like I miss seeing students, I miss interacting with students, you know, I, I teach engineering one 91 and you know, it's all. I teach virtual and I teach in person. So it's a high flex course, but I don't see as many students as I would like to.

So I'm getting really good at knowing everybody's names because that's what pops up there. But I, you know, if I see them in the, on the street, I'm not going to know their, their face with their names. So I am, I am really missing that. So. I think I would have to say that I'm, I'm missing in-person programming.

We do a program at the beginning of the semester and it's, you know, it's just kind of like a welcome, get to know you. And we have pizza, which, you know, everybody does the whole pizza thing, but at the beginning of the year, it's super fun and new. So we, we do pizza. We have faculty, their faculty bring their families.

We hang out on the lawn, play yard games, listen to music. It's pretty cool. And I just miss getting to know the students that way I feel, feel pretty detached this year. So we, we tried a couple of programs and we did like a, an origami program at the beginning of the year, which I was really, really excited about because I just really like where it got me.

Not because I'm an expert editor or anything. I just think it's fun and has a lot of Applications to engineering, but we didn't get quite the turnout that I wanted. But I'm glad that we did have students who were interested in then came, but so we're learning a lot about new programs what might work, what might not work.

But I am really missing those in-person events for sure. Okay, Kristin, so, you know, you talked about some of the programs that you want to keep for the future reference for the Engineering LLC. So on that topic, what are some of your long-term plans for the LOC? What, what do you hope this looks like eventually?

Yeah, so we've talked in a lot of our meetings about making sure that our students are succeeding academically. So we won all of our programs to be tied to our academic goals. We want to recognize that high academic achievement that being said, you know, If we work all the time, like we want to have some fun too.

So having some programs that go along with what what's happening in engineering while also kind of giving students a little bit of a break, we have some programs that support high academic achievement. One of those is the house cup. So our students, the floors kind of compete against each other.

It's kind of cool. Sometimes they come up with nicknames to their floor but they compete against each other, which kind of helps them strive to achieve higher academically. You know, they can get points for GPA's at midterm. They can get points for attending different programs that we put on throughout the semester.

I think that last year we even incorporated, if they wore the same team colors or something, they would get points, but you know, again, it is kind of based off of the personality of the LLC each year. I think. Eventually, I would really like to see some more like mini competitions where students are like building like student design competitions, or have the LOC participate in some national competitions for students in their freshman year.

But, you know, that's kind of like a way away, but it is something that I do want to work towards. And we've, we've talked about that before Patrick and having students kind of get more involved and you know, maybe when we're back on campus and we get to see all of you in person that will be something that we can work towards a little bit better as we get to know you.

So I'm, I'm really excited for that. Yeah. So mine before Angie goes into talking about our next question, I do want to take a moment, cause I haven't had a chance to do this in any of our episodes this year. And to talk about the story of the old chow, which Kristin loosely referred to just a second ago, right.

About our, you know, the floors with their names and their, the competition is that was man, was it? I think it was fall. 18 if I were all 2018. Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely our first year working together. We had the eighth floor residents led by Lily Westbrook, diem, Jayden vital, and their residents were coming up with a nickname to use in the house cup for their floor.

And I believe it was Bruce Strickland. If he's listening, shout out to him who came up with this idea that called therefore the Ocho, and it's just persisted throughout the years on the eighth floor of Braxton tower for better. And for worse, that floor seems to have an identity. So. That's amazing. I love it.

So one of my favorite questions is always, what is your favorite part of working at WVU and why? There are a lot of really excellent things about working at WVU. So I think, I guess it's like a multi-faceted questions. So I am, you know, I am from Morgantown. I have lived here my whole life and I, you know, attended WVU.

So I really like kind of giving back to where I got a degree that gave me so much But one of the things I really like about WVU is just like all of the different groups of people that you work with. So, you know, when I took my job, I was like, Oh, I'm just going to hang out with engineers all day, which isn't, you know, isn't a bad thing.

It's a good thing. But I'm also seeing a lot of different and working with a lot of different groups throughout the university. You know, we work with a lot of different colleges, you know, I work with housing and residence life. So I get to see and meet all kinds of people, which I think. It is cool because that's what the students get to experience too.

Like you come here. You can be kind of in your small group, but you also have the opportunity to meet and work with all kinds of other people. So I think it's cool to work in such a diverse like a diverse job that I get to work with so many different people. So I think that's my favorite thing.

I love that I couldn't agree more. I think that being in a big institution, this is my largest institution I've ever worked for. And so I didn't expect to meet and connect with so many different people and, you know, have so many awesome resources for like events and, and just hanging out and stuff. So I totally agree with you.

Yeah, and everybody seems to just want to help each other, which I just think is so great. Because I think in a large institution, that could be something that is lost, but you know, it's still very like, you know, family oriented and we all just want each other to succeed. It's not like a competition. So I think, I don't know.

I just think that's really cool. Yeah. We have a really special community here. I completely agree. Awesome. All right, Kristin. So the last question that we have for you, what we, all of our TTP interviews on is what is one piece of advice that you wish to share with our first year students here at WVU? I don't know if I should go like super cliche or.

I don't know. I don't know. This is the, I didn't, I don't know. I think as an instructor, that my biggest piece of advice would be to check your email, like all the time, like check your email all the time. But I think, I think is like an advisor and an alumni of WVU. I would just say. You know, just keep an open mind, take it all in and you know, it's your first year.

Don't be too hard on yourself. We can make everything work and hope you help you get where you're trying to go. So, you know, just take it all in. And, and I have done a lot of these interviews and I, I can't believe we haven't heard the one before about check your email because it's probably the best and most salient pieces of advice all year that anybody's given to our students.

It's my favorite. It is so important. Please, again, check your emails because none of y'all do, and we need you to check your emails and everybody emails. You, everybody emails you. I mean, I know you're, you're going to get a lot of. Let's say like additional emails, but honestly, if you just read, if I'm your advisor and you just read my first email, I'll take care of it.

That's like 17 additional emails. I don't have to send you so, you know, just nip it in the bud. So just, just do it. Just take care of it. Don't let it sit there because they'll just grow. They'll just grow. Take care of it. I agree. Amazing advice. Thank you. So that's a wrap, everyone. Thank you all so much for joining this week.

And thank you Kristin, for your time today. Yeah, it was good to hear hearing it next week when we interviewed another member of the WVU community.