Brooke Walker Outstanding Advisor WinnerBrooke Walker, Outstanding Advisor WinnerBrooke Walker, program advisor for the Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences program, has been named the 2016 UAB Outstanding Advising – New Advisor and the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) Outstanding Advising – New Advisor.

The key to Walker’s success as an academic advisor may surprise you. Her focus is less on the “academic” portion – nearly half the BMD freshman have an ACT score of 28 or higher. Her focus is more on the “advisor” portion with an emphasis on each individual student and that says so much considering she currently advises 285 students.

“I try to build a strong relationship with all BMD students,” said Walker, who was also named Adviser of the Year at the UAB Student Excellence Awards in 2015. “Whether it is working with them on life skills, sending them birthday cards, or inviting them to our holiday dinner – I want each of them to feel like they are part of a caring family at UAB.”

“I can best describe Brooke’s approach to advising as not being a job to her, but rather it is a calling and it is her purpose in life,” said Janelle M. Chiasera, Ph.D., chair and professor, UAB Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences. “She facilitates the development of her students and I use the word facilitate because Brooke expects them to be the major contributor to their own growth and development and therefore expects them to be thoughtful and purposeful in charting their own course as she helps guide their future.

The Outstanding Advising – New Advisor award is given annually to advisors with less than three years’ experience. Walker, a UAB alumna and former cheerleader, joined UAB BMD in July 2013 after an eight-year career with ProAssurance as an insurance underwriter. She has been the member development advisor for the UAB chapter of Alpha Gamma Delta since 2007. It was her work with the college-age students that made her realize she had a passion to work in higher education.

“I tell the students all the time that your true path may not be what you think it is and that is not a bad thing,” said Walker. “If my path in college were true I would be a high school teacher somewhere and I thank God every day for being where I am and for the students I get to work with.”

In addition, Walker’s service with UAB includes being a Lifetime Member of the UAB National Alumni Society, a UAB Blazer Club Member since 2004 and the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Academic Advisor.

Walker will be honored at the NACADA annual conference which will be held October 5 – 8, 2016, in Atlanta.

Walker’s victory marks the second time in three years an advisor from the UAB School of Health Professions has swept the awards for advising excellence. Susan Packa, academic advisor for the Bachelor of Science in Health Care Management program, won the 2014 Outstanding Academic Advising – Primary Advising Role for UAB and for NACADA.