Not much has changed over the past year in office 107A of Kedzie Hall. Outside, there’s a paper with a list of names and appointments. Inside, a glass desk and table, two chairs, and a cabinet crammed full of student records. Almost nothing about the office has changed, except for the person working in it.
Jenny Robertson now works there as the pre-major adviser for the A.Q. School of Journalism and Mass Communications. Less than a year ago, she replaced the previous adviser, Tom Roesler, who took a position with the College of Arts and Sciences. From this office, she advises more than 250 students aspiring to take JMC classes.
“You can tell Jenny really loves what she does,” Steven Smethers, the associate director for undergraduate studies at the A.Q. Miller School, said. “She genuinely enjoys working with students, and she is a very detailed person, which you have to be in that kind of a job. And she has an awesome task.”
It is Robertson’s job to advise incoming freshmen and transfer students applying for a major, as well as those seeking a minor. She maintains their records, helps them select classesand prepares them for a future in the department. All this is done between the various meetings and events her position requires her to attend. It’s a job that keeps her busy, especially during enrollment, when the number of students she advises can swell to 350 students.
“It seems like a pretty big number of students, but it’s really not,” Robertson said. “I’ve talked with some advisers, some open option advisers, and some of them have like 500 advisees. So when I talk to them, it makes me feel not so bad.”
It’s been a long road to this office for Robertson. She graduated from K-State in 2008, hoping to find a place in non-profit public relations, only to find her first job in a call center. After spending two years in graduate school at Emporia State University pursuing a master’s degree in library science, she found a part-time position at a library, before moving back to Manhattan to be with her now-fiancé, Adam Patman. From there, she found a job working part-time at both a library in Junction City, as wellas the office at the A.Q. Miller School.
“I wasn’t really actively looking to come back to K-State,” Robertson said, “but I was always keeping my eye on this job because I know working at K-State is a really good opportunity, and I’ve always been interested in kind of recruiting. That was something I was looking at. When the job came open I was ecstatic to come back and work here.”
Robertson started in the department as a records clerk working part-time, though she was keen to find a full-time position. When Roesler left the university for a month on paternity leave, she took over some of his advising work until he returned. When he decided to move on later that year, Robertson decided to move in.
“He was super organized, and I was already helping him a lot,” Robertson said. “And seeing him doing his job was kind of making me interested in advising. I was like, ‘That’s really cool.’ So when I saw that his position was open, I thought, ‘Okay, I have to apply for this because I would love to have that job.’”
The demands of her new position took some getting used to, especially around enrollment time, when the number of appointments she had with students dramatically increased. But she found herself enjoying the work, especially when she had the chance to work with enthusiastic freshmen.
“It’s important to have somebody in that job who is, first of all, very dedicated to what they’re doing,” Smethers said. “And she is. You have to be very detail oriented; you have to be able to maintain enthusiasm. And you have to be able to have a really good attitude towards what you’re doing. And she has all that.”
Something Robertson appreciates about her new position is the office itself. The ceiling-high windows provide illumination, as well as a backdrop of trees. She hasn’t changed the furniture, which remains exactly as her predecessor left it. The table, its legs sitting stuffed full of business cards and scrap paper to keep the surface level, remains untouched, and a K-State basketball poster on the inside of the door hasn’t been touched.
“My goal was,” Robertson said.“maybe this summer when I have some time, I would start organizing things more how I want them, instead of just how they were here when I got here. Maybe move in a little bit more.”
Despite starting with a degree in public relations, Robertson discovered she enjoys helping students. She plans to stay in Manhattan, work at her current job, marry Patman and settle down in their new home.
“I would love to stay in some kind of advising role or doing something with student life,” Robertson said. “If it happened to be at K-State, that would be even better. It’s my alma mater, and I love Manhattan, so I could stay here. I’m not sure what’s going to happen in my career in the next 10 years, but if I can, I would like to stay here, if not in the journalism school then somewhere else at K-State.”