Natalie Linnell Recognized by the College of Arts and Sciences
John B. Drahmann Advising Award
In recognition of having established among colleagues and students a well-deserved reputation for extraordinary dedication to student welfare through wise, informed, effective, and caring counsel, and having demonstrated the ability to motivate other teachers and learners.
In Fall 2010, there were 31 declared Computer Science majors in the College. In Fall 2020, the number was 337. For years now, Natalie Linnell has been the go-to person for Computer Science advising. Although MATH/CS is one of the largest departments in the College, many of its faculty members only teach mathematics, but must advise students majoring in computer science. According to the Chair, “We would all be lost without the ‘cheat’ sheet that Natalie prepares for us every year.” Natalie runs the Department’s group advising sessions for Computer Science majors at which students get key information that they may not get from their assigned advisors. She also recently began an informal process of peer advising which the department hopes to formalize next year.
But Natalie does so much more than orchestrate the process by which students get into the right classes. Many majors seek her out for individual appointments at the recommendation of other faculty members or students to discuss the various emphases of the Computer Science major and its associated career paths. For female students of computer science, Natalie has been a particularly valuable resource and champion—through her mentorship, she has increased both recruitment and retention of women students in the major. Beyond the department, Natalie was an integral member of a research team working to increase the number of women and underrepresented minorities completing degrees in Computer Science. This project, Curated Pathways to Innovation™, was a collaboration between Santa Clara University, Purdue University, the YWCA Silicon Valley, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, and Hewlett Packard, Inc. Natalie mentored a team of graduate and undergraduate students who created a web tool that gathers existing online resources for computer science engagement and learning, exposing students to computer careers and content, and especially targeting K-12 girls and underrepresented minorities. A paper describing this project and what it accomplished was published last year, first-authored by Natalie.
For her outstanding advising and mentoring, and for her efforts to increase the number of women studying and working in computer science, Natalie Linnell is a most deserving recipient of the Dr. John B. Drahmann Advising Award.