Rural Student Services advisors recognized for their service

Maggie King
Dec. 1, 2022

Right to left:  Minnie Naylor, Gabrielle Russell, and Donald Crocker
Photo provided by Minnie Naylor
Minnie Naylor, Gabrielle Russell, and Donald Crocker have all recently received awards from the University of Alaska Fairbanks for their outstanding dedication.

In 2022, several Rural Student Services advisors were recognized for going above and beyond in their commitment to student success. Donald Crocker, Minnie Naylor, and Gabrielle Russell have all recently received awards from the University of Alaska Fairbanks for their outstanding dedication as student advisors. 

Gabrielle Russell was recently honored with the McHenry/Martin Outstanding Undergraduate Staff Advisor award. This award recognizes exemplary undergraduate-level academic advising by a professional advisor at UAF. Gabby was nominated by students and colleagues for going above and beyond in her duties as Indigenous student services manager and lead advisor. 

UAF student Tania Beans, an advisee of Gabby’s, shared “she is a wonderful asset for UAF in the dedication she has toward the success of rural students and keeping them on track.” Sue McHenry, former RSS advisor and namesake of the award, nominated Gabby because she is “fueled by belief in her students’ potential, their right to belong here at UAF, and the importance of the roles they will play in their communities upon completion of their degrees.” Gabby received the McHenry/Martin award at a luncheon on Nov. 29.

In Sept. 2022, Minnie Naylor was recognized by the UA Board of Regents for her personal dedication to student success, friendly and caring nature, and dedication to UAF and its students. Naylor was among four outstanding staff members recognized with the “Staff Make Students Count” award, which recognizes staff who have made a difference in the lives of students. 

Minnie was nominated by students and advisees, who shared insights such as, “academic advisor might be her title for the job, but Minnie demonstrates so much more than that through her work and her engagement with students.” Another student shared, “Minnie shows her cultural values every day such as being humorous, sharing, having love for children or her students, the respect for Elders, and being hardworking.” Minnie was also recognized for her school spirit and impressive collection of UAF sweatshirts.

In April 2022, Donald Crocker, RSS degree completion advisor, was honored with the Dennis Demmert Appreciation and Recognition Award. This award was established in 1994 to recognize a staff or faculty member who has made a substantial positive impact on student academic efforts.

Donald was also nominated by students and colleagues. One nominator, UAF student August Cooper, shared that Donald “has always been kind and patient, and always willing to listen whenever. He is also very knowledgeable in his job, and an expert in helping students out.” Donald was recognized in a luncheon ceremony for his dedication and service.

Rural Student Services is committed to responding to student needs by providing quality services to Native and rural students. Started in 1969, RSS has continued to meet the ever changing needs of rural students by acknowledging and incorporating a strong cross-cultural counseling base and by involving rural communities in establishing new directions. The primary objective for these efforts is the retention and matriculation of rural students in the many degree programs offered through UAF.