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Erin Kelley-Garrison

Academic Advisor- Chemistry, Physics & Astronomy, UKAN Teach, Undergraduate Biology

My favorite part about working for CASS is:
Oh my gosh, all the rad students I get to meet, I am so excited to help them get to where they’re going! I just hope they remember to thank me when they win fancy awards!

I became an advisor because:
Hello? Did I mention the rad students? I really became an Advisor because I knew that I wanted to help students fall in love with their education. The best way to do that? Avoid those 8:00am classes and learn where the free food on campus is! Oh and enroll you in class you love!

What did you want to be when you were growing up?
This is easy. I wanted to be a Christmas tree farmer/mermaid. Unfortunately, fins and flannel don’t go together so, I chose to be an event planner…well, then I chose Higher Education. I mean I get to make people happy either way, right?

My favorite place on campus is:
Hands down, Danforth Chapel. I got to marry my college sweetheart in that building.

My favorite KU memory is:
Okay, roll *this is a pun* with me on this. I had never ridden the KU busses before and I came from a super small town. So, I just wasn’t familiar with public transit! I was late to class and there was just no way I could walk, so I took the bus for the first time! I was panicking because I didn’t know how to get off! I texted my friend and she told me just to pull the lever and it would signal to the driver, I need to get off. I pulled the Emergency Brake lever. Whoops. I ended up locking the wheels up on the bus and the bus driver could not stop laughing. In the end, I laughed too but OMG I was mortified!

Advice to college students:
GET.INVOLVED. Make connections! No one thinks back on their fond memories of that 8am Math class. More than likely they think about that awesome professor that helped them have confidence in their work or their peers that helped them stay up late to study for their final! Whatever the context, break out of your shell and meet folks!

What is at the top of your bucket list?
I want to visit Italy! If Julia Roberts can find herself in a plate of pasta in Italy, so can I!

Favorite quote: create your own sunshine.

If you only had 1 day to explore Lawrence, what would you do?
I would go to Mass Street. I would grab an ice cream cone and then make my way into the Toy Store. Buy a giant stuffed Avocado then head to Grinter Farms. I would then take some sweet profile pictures and then head to the top of the Oread to watch the sunset. Book me for your next day in Lawrence!

My favorite book: This is Our Story-Ashley Elston
Movie: Bewitched (The one with Nicole Kidman!)
Show: Trinkets!
Music: Young the Giant & Walk the Moon

On being First Gen/Non-Traditional:
I remember applying to college and thinking, “How does everyone know this already?”. I knew that I came from a rural town with limiting funding and college never seemed within my reach and now it felt like I was constantly trying to catch up to hidden deadlines. It was until I my high school teacher, Mrs. Hershley, showed me what college could be for a student like me; I would be a #FirstGen. There were days she spent her lunch hour helping me fill out my FASFA and helping me research colleges, I don’t think she ever knew that I would be looking for a mentor like her no matter what school I attended. I was lucky and always found those mentors willing to sacrifice lunch hours, remind me of my resiliency, and advocate for me behind closed doors. I made it through college, twice, and I am so privileged to work for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences as an Academic Advisor, where I can serve students like me-looking for someone to show me what college can be! Being a first generation college student is a badge of honor and I wear that proudly in every meeting, classroom, and leadership position where I can advocate for students like me!”