Amanda Colee, director of student services and advising at the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, has been honored by the National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) for her mentorship of undergraduate biomedical students in the areas of scholarship, leadership and service.
“I was flabbergasted – it just changed my day,” Colee said of the recognition. “I don’t think of myself as somebody who would get an honor like this. And so I was very pleased, at this stage of my career, to have something like this happen.”
NSCS, founded in 1994, is an academic honor society with chapters at more than 320 universities across the U.S. Other honorees include U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the late Senator John McCain. The organization has over a million members nationwide.
“Amanda has a passion for counseling and advising students so that they can be successful and make good decisions on academics and career choices,” said Dr. Bill Self, associate director of undergraduate affairs at the Burnett School and a UCF trustee.
Colee came to UCF in 2009 after serving as director of health and counseling services at Johnson & Wales University for six years, and almost immediately began creating a peer mentor program, where she trains top biomedical students to counsel their colleagues. Earlier in her career, Colee worked as a therapist for college students, and she jumped at the chance to support students who are struggling.
“This is such an important developmental stage, because of the profound changes young people go through as they navigate their journey into adulthood,” she said. “I love being part of it. I can’t think of a better job.”
And her work has paid dividends. She started the peer mentor program in 2009 with just 10 students. Over the past decade, the program has grown to 26 mentors. The current group of mentors has worked with 79 students since classes began in late August.
“She has built an incredibly strong team of advisers, peer advisers and has integrated our entire staff to be an efficient and strong student services office for College of Medicine undergraduates,” said Dr. Self.
Raniah Al Rabbat, president of UCF’s chapter of NSCS, is a junior in biomedical sciences and peer mentor and said learning from Colee how to effectively communicate with others – especially students who are struggling – will make her a better future physician.
“Her experiences have been truly amazing,” Al Rabbat said. “And I want to live up to those standards. I’m learning as a peer mentor, so that one day, when I become a doctor, I’ll know how to interact with different types of patients.”
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