As a student herself, Laetitia Adelson understands what her students are going through.
Adelson is a Career Center consultant for Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication students, and she’s working on her Ph.D. in education, focusing on college student affairs administration, from the Mary Frances Early College of Education.
“I’m going to put my best foot forward and advocate for my students and make sure their voices are being heard,” she said.
Adelson’s focus has always been on students. She earned a bachelor’s degree in health promotion from UGA in 2016 and then spent two years working for the Louise McBee Institute of Higher Education’s Georgia College Advising Corps at Salem High School in Rockdale County.
At the end of that term, she said, “student affairs fell in my lap.” She earned a master’s degree from Clemson University in college student counseling and personnel services. Adelson heard about an opening with UGA’s Division of Academic Enhancement and coordinated first-generation and scholars programs for that division for two years before moving to the Career Center in September 2022.
“I do this work because of the people who helped me get here,” she said. “I want to be a possibility model for all those who look like me and everyone who doesn’t think they’re good enough to be in these spaces.”
While with DAE, Adelson worked with a few programs and projects that she’s particularly proud of coordinating. Sophomore Stride was designed to engage second-year students coming back to campus after the pandemic without a true first-year experience at UGA. The six-week program helped those students build skills in managing their time, studying and communicating with faculty. For first-generation students, they developed First-Gen Graduation and the First Awards. Adelson also served as co-advisor for the Tri-Alpha Honors Society for all first-generation students, faculty and staff.
While her work with DAE focused on academics, and her current work with the Career Center is focused on industry, it is all centered on students.
“When we’re doing our work, we think about how we put our students’ needs first to make sure we’re targeting all of our students and creating an inclusive space,” she said.
Adelson views her move to the Career Center as an opportunity to expand her own knowledge. She’s excited to get to know the students, processes and culture at Grady College. She also welcomes the chance to tap back into the “advising side of my brain.”
For Adelson, the diverse conversations are a definite highlight. They’re always unique, but she lets the student lead the conversation. She frequently reminds them of the transferrable skills they’re learning, because “there’s a whole lot more to do in journalism, advertising and public relations than you’d think.”
Most of her time is spent in student meetings, and she hosts satellite hours at Grady College. That time can include preparing for interviews or even learning how to network and brand themselves. She also spends quite a bit of time reviewing resumes and cover letters to help students put their best foot forward. But the most important thing she does is advocate for her students and teach them to advocate for themselves. Adelson would like to be a college president one day and sees a career built on putting students first.
Outside of work, Adelson enjoys reading for pleasure when she can and cooking, particularly with friends. She plans to run a 5K soon and also likes to travel.
Adelson has two younger sisters, both getting higher education degrees, and they are part of the reason she truly understands the value of her work.
“This is bigger than me,” she said. “I’m here to be a change agent for students and help them find their voices.”