Patterson Receives Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: May 1, 2018

Senior academic adviser Corinne Patterson shapes students’ first-year success through trusting relationships and authentic conversations. She received the UC Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award at the Experience-Based Learning and Career Education Award Ceremony.

Patterson headshot

Patterson received the UC Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award for her work with FEP and EASE students.

First-year students sometimes come into the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) unsure of the major they wish to pursue. Corinne Patterson has spent the last year making these students feel at home in CEAS and paving the way for their future success.

Patterson is a senior academic adviser in the Department of Engineering Education, advising all first-year students accepted into the Freshman Engineering Program (FEP) and Engineering and Applied Science Entrance (EASE) program, two first-year tracks for undecided and conditionally admitted engineering students at the University of Cincinnati (UC).

On April 11, Patterson was recognized for her commitment to first-year students’ success with the UC Outstanding First-Year Advocate Award. This university award recognizes exceptional work in first-year student learning, development and success and honors recipients for their positive impact on the university culture.

“This award was really representative of how rewarding this past year has been,” said Patterson.

Patterson was hired early last year to be a full-time adviser for FEP and EASE students. Since then she has helped transform the way these students transition into their best-fit majors. Part of her goal is breaking down students’ fixed mindsets.

“A large number of these students come in set on majors like mechanical or aerospace engineering,” said Patterson. “Our job is to break down these barriers and help these students see the connections and overlapping elements between programs.”

Patterson is also interested in building trusting relationships with students through authentic conversations. She enjoys seeing students grow over their first year and being part of that shaping process.

Patterson and Imbrie pose with the award.

Patterson and Imbrie pose with the award.

“One of the great things about working with first-year programs is you can really reinvent the culture in a short amount of time,” said Patterson. “Creating an environment where these students have someone who knows them and who they trust is very powerful.”

Patterson creates this environment through proactive and intrusive advising, addressing students’ needs early on, rather than letting these needs slip through the cracks. This leads to a better first-year experience and a higher retention rate. It also supports students’ transition into a major they are passionate about.

Said one student advisee, “Corinne constantly pushed me to set more goals for myself and challenged me to be better, work harder and balance my time between school and friends. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Corinne’s guidance my first semester.”

Patterson does not just advise first-year students; she also plans yearlong programs, shaping the collective experience of these students. Last October, Patterson started the college’s first ever Meet Your Major, a large-scale major exploration event for undecided CEAS students. In the fall, she is integrating programming into the new engineering living-learning community.

“Ms. Patterson’s passion, enthusiasm and overall demeanor have a direct and positive impact on first-year student learning, development and success,” said P.K. Imbrie, PhD, professor and head of the Department of Engineering Education. “These students have a cheerleader, mentor and advocate in their corner.”