By Ellen Bombela, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Communications Service
When Tamara Kerns first started a position in higher education she had no idea that a few career moves down the road would help her find her passion - advising.
Kerns, an academic advisor in industrial technology, received the 2018 College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Early Advisor Award. Kerns has held several different positions in higher education but wasn't feeling completely satisfied until she started advising students.
"I found that the higher I moved up in higher education, the less student interaction I got, and that's not what I loved," Kerns said. "Sometimes you need to do something that you don't love to figure out what you do love."
Kerns started her first advising job at State College of Florida in 2009.
"That was it for me, it just clicked," Kerns said.
Kerns then had the opportunity to move back to Iowa, where she grew up, and work as an advisor at Iowa State.
Kerns said her job is rewarding because she helps students. Kerns said industrial technology is special because many of her students are moving from the College of Engineering and sometimes question themselves and their education. Kerns introduces them to industrial technology and helps them get excited about learning.
"I get to see them come in and get excited about their education again," Kerns said. "I get to see that whole process and transformation and that's very special to me."
Mathew Bradley, an industrial technology senior, is one of Kerns' advisees who made the transition from engineering.
"She understands that we all have our challenges and doesn't judge us for those, but instead sees them as opportunities to learn more about ourselves," Bradley said.
Bradley said that Kerns is focused on helping students.
"Tamara would rather display a picture of students succeeding, instead of her own accomplishments on her desk," Bradley said.
Kerns received her bachelor's degree in English in 1995 from Augustana College and her master's degree in counseling and human resource development in 2002 from South Dakota State University.
Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will present awards to faculty and staff on March 8 at its Spring-Semester Convocation and Awards Program in the Memorial Union.
March 1, 2018