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Academic Advisor Feels Support Is Paramount to Student Success

November 15, 2022

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As a low-income, first-generation college student, Academic Advisor Kayla Neumueller struggled during her first semester at UW-Madison. She was afraid of falling through the cracks at such a large college and not receiving the support she needed.

After becoming active in her residence hall and getting a job there, Kayla was introduced to the world of Student Affairs. She loved the idea of being able to support students, especially when they may not have a support system in place, to reach their goals.

“We all have dreams to achieve and sometimes you just need a little help along the way,” she said. “I absolutely love having the opportunity to be that person to help!”

Kayla completed her bachelor’s in Social Welfare at UW-Madison and went on to earn a master’s in Student Affairs Administration at UW-LaCrosse. She has been employed at Blackhawk for four years, starting out as a Recruiter in the Admissions Office and then taking on the role of CRM Administrator before transitioning to her new role as an advisor.

There are many ways Kayla helps Blackhawk students achieve their educational, professional and personal goals, including helping them explore their options, plan ahead, navigate challenges and hardships, and make informed decisions.

“My goal is to help students feel comfortable with being an advocate for themselves and their goals through building relationships with them and ensuring they have the resources and support they need to be successful,” she said.

Education has always been a huge part of Kayla’s life, and although every career assessment she took told her to be a teacher, she feels her role in Student Affairs is a much better fit. In such a role, she feels she can look at other external factors that students are often impacted by, rather than just academics.

Blackhawk’s small environment is what Kayla feels allows her to focus more on the individual students and their success. She enjoys the opportunity to meet with her students, reach out to them when they’re struggling and provide them with the support systems that work for them. She feels it’s important to provide students the flexibility to maintain external commitments while allowing them the confidence to complete their education.

“Our student population often has more factors that contribute to lower success rates; therefore, our dedication to providing students a supportive environment inside and outside of the classroom is phenomenal,” she said.

Kayla always encourages potential students to visit different types of institutions to determine what works best for them. That said, she feels Blackhawk truly has opportunities for all students, and the new Associate of Arts and Associate of Science programs will expand those opportunities even further by providing students a pathway to a four-year degree at a lower cost.

“Blackhawk is a small environment that allows you to focus on courses that are truly specific to your career area, which makes it easier to get to your career faster, as well as makes your education more enjoyable when you are taking classes that are relevant to your overall goal,” she said.

Along with small class sizes that provide opportunities to make greater connections with faculty and staff, Kayla believes Blackhawk’s facilities offer another advantage. She thinks having students be able to work with the equipment that they would need in their jobs will make them more confident when they enter the workforce.

Outside of work, Kayla and her husband live in Janesville with their two kids and two dogs. When the family isn’t spending time outside taking family bike rides or short camping trips, she loves photography, reading, and binge-watching TV shows.

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