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First-Year Success Through Support

First-Year Academic Advisor Rhonda Lake’s job is to reach out to new students. Lake helps with anything and everything: understanding and choosing classes in the Doane Plan, registering or just giving advice. “I reach out to see how everyone’s doing,” Lake said. “Sometimes they just need to vent.”

She said it was important to be caring and supportive in her role, listening to students when they were feeling homesick, weighing if they wanted to transfer or if they’ve been missing classes.

While not a counselor, Lake said she would describe herself as an academic coach and an easy person to talk to. “A lot of students want to do everything on their own,” Lake said. “Students get overwhelmed sometimes and they just need help re-organizing themselves.”

Lake said she coaches students to feel confident, be proactive and believe that they can succeed at Doane. “I remind them that they are here...with other top students. They’ll have success,” she said.

Sometimes it’s just a matter of directing students to other resources at the college, whether it be Financial Aid, Career Development or the Academic Support Center. Lake is just one of many resources available to new students to help them succeed during their first year at Doane.

In addition to Lake’s many responsibilities, she helped to organize the upcoming Major’s Fair, which will be held on Oct. 15.

The Major’s Fair is designed for all students who want to find out more about majors, minors and other academic opportunities. Students have the opportunity to speak with faculty from each of Doane’s academic areas at the fair. It will also be a time where students can officially declare their major. Students can also learn more about study abroad and how to add a summer or semester of study abroad to their major. Director of International Programs Jan Willems will also be there to discuss any interests students may have in studying abroad for a semester.

“Everyone has an interest in something,” Lake said. “They just may not know just what yet. I enjoy watching students travel on this academic journey to find their place and unexpected new passions.”