Academic Advising Award: Mary Stein, Founders Day Faculty Awards, Academic Year 2022-23. Portrait of Mary Stein.

Mary Stein

Mary Stein, instructor and program leader for the sustainable food and bioenergy systems program, is the recipient of this year’s Academic Advising Award. The award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to academic advising. Sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, It comes with a $2,000 honorarium. 

As program leader for the sustainable food and bioenergy systems program, which is housed jointly in the College of Agriculture and College of Education, Health and Human Development, Stein works with students from across the interdisciplinary major. Agroecology professor Bruce Maxwell, who nominated Stein for the award, wrote in his nominating letter that the interdisciplinary program can be confusing for students, who are spread across different degree options and departmental requirements. But Stein possesses a wealth of knowledge, and students know they can go to her for guidance and clarity, Maxwell wrote. 

“Her advising skills, including her compassion for students and constant knowledge of their constraints and needs, exceeds all that I have seen,” he wrote. “Mary is the perfect model required for an interdisciplinary program like (sustainable food and bioenergy systems).” 

In a letter supporting Stein’s nomination, MSU alumna Anna Parreira wrote that Stein is an outstanding academic adviser and student advocate who invests in each student who walks through her door. 

Stein “helps students make decisions that best fit their livelihoods, circumstances and visions; she suggests creative accommodations for students on the path to graduation, and she is at the end of the stage to congratulate them when they get there,” Parreira wrote. “In this way, she has earned a reputation as an adviser who prioritizes student access and personal growth.”