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Isabella Cooper Kolar, undergraduate academic advisor for civil and environmental engineering (CEE), has received the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Student Advising Award for Professional Staff. The award is conferred annually by the Clark School in recognition of excellence in undergraduate and/or graduate advising.

Kolar has been with the department since 2016, though her association with the University of Maryland (UMD) goes back considerably further. She completed a Ph.D. in English literature at UMD in 2016, and taught courses in British literature and women’s literature as a graduate instructor. She also served as an undergraduate advisor at the English Department before joining the Clark School staff.

In addition to advising undergraduate students, Kolar supports the CEE department in many other ways: she has been actively involved in recruitment efforts, and also writes student stories for the CEE department website and the magazine Civil Remarks.

Advising brings the reward of “seeing students make the full journey from orientation to graduation, and playing a role in helping them on that journey,” Kolar said. Receiving the award is particularly meaningful this year, she added, because of the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need for the advising staff to transition to a virtual environment.

Colleagues at the CEE department point to Kolar’s readiness to go above and beyond.

“Bella provides much more than simple advice on which classes a student should take,” said Natasha Andrade, associate chair for undergraduate studies. “She takes the time to meet individually with students who are struggling for any reason.”

“She offers support that students really need, creating a safe space for students to voice their opinions and issues, while maintaining a positive environment and focusing on how to obtain the best outcome in any situation,” Andrade said.

April 14, 2021

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