Jerica Burgess, JAA Advisor of the Year Winner

2023 JAA Award Winners & Nominees

Larry Draper Campus Liaison Award  

The Larry Draper Campus Liaison Award which recognizes a campus resource office liaison, outside of JAA, who has demonstrated outstanding partnership, collaboration, and commitment to Jayhawk Academic Advising. Our recipient this year is Sydney Stone, Assistant Director of Transfer Credit Operations in the Office of Admissions. 

In her role supervising the evaluation and transfer of credit for KU, Sydney and her team work tirelessly to make sure students receive the most benefit from their previous academic efforts at transfer institutions. She works diligently with academic staff and faculty to maintain the most accurate and recent information available in the Cred Tran system used extensively in the transfer credit process by JAA and many others. She is responsible for transfer credit appeals and serves as a resource to the University Core Curriculum Committee. Before her current role, Sydney was an advisor in the School of the Arts.

One nominator wrote the following: 

“I have found Sydney friendly, competent, courteous, and a quick responder to my questions about advisee transfer credit . . . .  She is generous with her time and knowledge and has never acted in a way that would indicate that my questions are an imposition on her busy work schedule. Her responses to my questions help me in turn provide valuable and timely information to my students. I appreciate that her feedback to me supports my advising work, and I find her one of my most valuable people resources on the KU campus.” 

Sydney Stone receiving Larry Draper Award from Abby Coffin

The Rising Star Award  

The Rising Star Award recognizes newer academic advisors who have demonstrated exceptional enthusiasm and engagement in serving students and collaboration in team initiatives while advancing their own advising practice.  This year we had two recipients

Our first Rising Star recipient is Jake Brillhart. Jake joined JAA in the fall of 2022 and is a member of the Education and Public Service Advising Team where he works mostly with students in political science, pre-law, and the LEAD program, an accelerated program for students in the College planning for law school.  

One nominator wrote the following:  

“Jake has been exceptionally thoughtful, kind, and supportive in my time at KU. I have never had an academic advisor of such rigor and care before. I came to KU as a transfer with a number of credits that had not transferred cleanly, a strong intention to travel abroad . . . , and to expand my minors . . . . In each instance, Jake was extremely supportive, thoughtful, and productive. His responses are fast and he has listened to every idea and consideration I have given him.” 


The second recipient of the Rising Star Award is Cassie Nix. Cassie joined JAA in the fall of 2022 and is a member of the STEM Engineering Advising Team where her focus is on Computer Engineering but she advises across the engineering spectrum. She is liaison to the Computer Engineering Department.  

One nominator wrote the following: 

“Cassie Nix was subbed in as my academic advisor at the beginning of my fall semester for my second year here at KU. . . .  she has been extremely friendly, efficient, and informative. I have gotten swift responses to all queries whether they be about complicated paths involving my graduation plan, or simple requests. She always emailed to let me know when I needed to apply or attempt to enroll in certain classes when there were times I struggled to get into them.” 

Jake Brillhart receiving the Rising Star Award from Abby Coffin
Jake Brillhart
Cassie Nix receiving the Rising Star Award from Abby Coffin
Cassie Nix

Jayhawk Academic Advising Advisor of the Year Award 

In addition to Jake and Cassie, there were another 17 advisors receiving a nomination: 

  • Nigyar Alves 
  • Erica Burgess 
  • Tori Celli 
  • Nicole Evans 
  • Alyson Germinder
  • Sam Henderson 
  • Abbey Keirn 
  • Jen Keleher 
  • Bridgette Kells
  • Kali Key 
  • Cyndie Majher 
  • Robin Merritt 
  • Carly Newman 
  • J.D. Smith 
  • George Timson 
  • Shu Tosaka 
  • Renee Williams 

Our recipient for the advisor of the year award was Jerica Burgess. 

Jerica first came to KU as a graduate student in the fall of 2018, pursuing her Master of Science in Higher Education Administration. During that program she was a graduate assistant for First Year Experience and a graduate career coach intern with the University Career Center. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communication Studies from University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was hired as a full-time advisor by the School of Education and Human Sciences in May of 2020 and transitioned to the Education and Public Service Advising Team with the formation of JAA. She has also taught University 101 for four semesters.  

One nominator wrote this: 

"Jerica was my academic advisor for the last two years of undergrad, and she has always been super helpful. Jerica worked closely with us on the Sport Management Study Away trip and bonded with many of us . . . She clearly cares deeply about her students and makes everyone feel at home at KU. And another student mentioned, Jerica made fee feel at home right from the get go."

Jerica Burgee receiving the Advisor of the Year Award from Abby Coffin