What constitutes good advice for business students? Is it mom and dad saying (repeatedly),”Get a job”? Is it life coaching? Is it someone ready and willing to tell students what they must do in order to succeed, both academically and in preparation for the job market?
At UB, it’s all of those things—and a little more.
The Merrick School of Business has a dedicated advising center staffed with professional advisers who are focused on the academic and experiential learning needs of business students. This comprehensive resource helps students stay on the path to graduation, and provides insights into finding an individual’s best balance for school and life. Jackie Lewis, the school’s senior academic adviser, is someone who makes an impact on students and the direction that they follow.
Lewis first began advising at the University of Baltimore in 1976. At that time, the University had a centralized advising system and punch card registration. In the early 1980s, Lewis moved over to the newly created Merrick Advising Center, where she continues to provide outstanding customer service and counseling – the kind that makes a lasting impression on everyone she meets.
“She’s someone I admire,” said senior international business major Sabal Sahid. “She’s professional and easy to talk to and I sit down with her every semester and talk about my path to graduation.”
Lewis considers each undergraduate student she meets as a unique opportunity to make a difference. She finds that the students in the Merrick School of Business have a special zest for life and are making the most of their educational experience.
“Our students have such various backgrounds—traditional, nontraditional, ethnically diverse as well as varying levels of work experience. Their plates are full, yet they place a priority on their education. It is a pleasure to help them reach their goals.”
Lisa Park, assistant dean for academic affairs and students services, says Lewis’s compassion for her students is one of her greatest strengths.
“Students often come to Jackie with serious dilemmas. She patiently listens and counsels them on the best approach to obtain the desired result. She genuinely cares about each of her students and is constantly advocating on their behalf,” Park says.
Senior management major Alice Harris recalls that when she was faced with academic difficulties, Lewis was the voice of reason.
“I was struggling with one of my classes when I went to see Ms. Lewis. She greeted me with a smile, sat me down and provided some encouraging advice to steer me in the right direction,” Harris says. “Her encouragement and wisdom helped me choose my career path. She is such a valuable resource to me and others.”
Lewis, a mother of three daughters and grandmother of four, helps Merrick students as if they were her own children.
“Years ago I worked with a student who was from the United Arab Emirates— it was around the time of 9/11. His parents were so worried that he would be living and going to school in the U.S. and they feared that something would happen to him. I spent a lot of time with him reassuring him and his parents that things would be fine,” Lewis says. “It was a time of great anxiety and he was someone’s child, not just another student. I felt that I needed to provide him extra support during this time. His parents were so grateful that they extended an invitation to me to visit them abroad.”
Her kindness is not limited to the University. When not at UB, Lewis works to make her community better. An active member in her church, she leads efforts to help a nearby elementary school and to make the holiday season a little brighter by gathering necessities for a local shelter.
“If I wasn’t working at UB I would be doing something that would to put a smile on the face of someone in need,” she says.