Allison Vander Broek and Ericka Miranda Appointed New Senior Academic Advisors

Ericka Miranda and Allison Vander Broek joins the consulting team as senior academic advisors for the School of Arts and Sciences on November 1. They replace Tara Zantow, which now serves as principal educational advisor for the School of Engineering.

Senior Academic Advisors support freshman and sophomore students as they explore majors, understand degree requirements, and plan for their academic future. The School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Engineering and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts each have their own academic advisory resources.

Carmen Lowe, Dean of Academic Counseling and Undergraduate Studies, explained this Miranda and Vander broek will contribute to the Tufts University Educational Advisory Team.

“All first year and second year students have a pre-major advisor, who they should go to first, but [Miranda] and [Vander Broek] can answer many technical questions about academic requirements, pre-registration credits, and educational policies that some pre-major counselors may feel uncomfortable answering ”, Lowe wrote in an email to The Daily.

According to a November, 1st e-mail from Consulting team in Arts and Sciences to the Tufts community, Vander broek previously served as case coordinator with Tufts Student Services and as pre-major advisor. During his time with student services, she helped the students navigate the administrative offices of the university and the conditions for obtaining the diploma. As a pre-major counselor, she had the opportunity to teach counseling seminars with the early years, including one this fall.

According to the same email, Miranda previously served as the coordinator of the Tufts Health Professions Advising program and the Post-baccalaureate premedical program. During the pandemic, she worked on the technological aspects of connecting with students and creating accessible content for healthcare professionals.

Prior to accepting the position of Senior Educational Advisor, Vander Broek had worked with the consulting team in the past.

“[Student Services] worked closely with them just to help older people graduate ”, Vander Broek said. “I already knew… what their job entailed and I knew they were just a fantastic team who care deeply about the students at Tufts.”

When the role of senior academic advisor opened up, Miranda and Vander Broek jumped at the opportunity to work as full-time advisers because they wanted to work more directly with students. Both described their transition to the advisory team as seamless.

“It’s always nice to join a team where you already know most of the other people and I really, really enjoyed being in touch with some of the other offices in [Dowling Hall], ” Vander Broek said.

The two Vander Broek and Miranda frequently organize drop-in consultation hours with students. They also planned the Major exploration and consulting fair held on November 15.

“I am very proud of the work Ericka and Allison have already done, especially the very successful Majors Exploration Fair… [Miranda] and [Vander Broek] were responsible for the organization of the entire event ”, Lowe said.

According to Vander Broek, the fair was very well attended and a success. The salon is just the start of what Vander Broek and Miranda hope to accomplish as part of the consulting team.

One of At Vander Broek priority is to connect students with as many resources as possible during their stay at Tufts.

“If students need extra support or connections to something like the StAAR center or another office on campus, we’re here to help you connect with these resources when you need them.” Vander Broek said.

New Senior Academic Advisors also hope to uncover areas where students need additional support or guidance so that the advisory team can provide students with the resources they need. One of their common priorities ensures students know that Senior Academic Advisors are available as a resource.

“My goal is to let students know that we exist… I want you to know that we are available for you at any time during your academic career to answer any questions or advise you. ” Vander Broek said.

Miranda encourages students to contact their advisors.

Something I actually learned when I was a consultant in the health professions, and it struck me, is that… the most successful students are the ones who know how to ask for help… because that being able to ask for help is by no means a weakness, ” Miranda said. “In fact, it’s a strength in a lot of ways and being able to recognize when you need help and not be afraid to engage with people who are there to help you.”

Miranda believes college should prepare students for the real world. At Tufts, students will acquire necessary life skills such as communication, teamwork, and responsibility. She said that another important skill to develop in college is to seek advice.

“I think being aware of the fact that if you are able to take care of yourself you will, again, be better prepared to be successful.” Miranda said. “The most successful students are the ones who ask for help.

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