Gretchen Samchuck works with a student

Gretchen Samchuck: Academic adviser

Helping students settle on a course for their life and their college career is what drives Gretchen Samchuck.

Gretchen Samchuck, Penn State Beaver’s advising program coordinator, has been voted Outstanding Academic Adviser by the campus’ Student Government Association two years in a row.

“I think students find me accessible and easy to approach,” Samchuck said. “They come back to me because I give them the information they need.”

While you won’t find Samchuck teaching a class, she is an important part of the Division of Undergraduate Studies at Beaver. She not only helps to coordinate the advising process with professors, but she also advises undecided students, encouraging them to explore majors before deciding on one.

“I love what I do, and I find it very rewarding to help navigate students toward their goals,” Samchuck said.

Samchuck attended a small campus of the University of Pittsburgh for her undergraduate degree, so she understands the value of the one-on-one attention students receive. She then continued on to Geneva College, where she earned her master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in counseling.

“I came here through an internship I did with a sports psychologist for the Pittsburgh Steelers,” she said. “He had connections here at the campus, and when a Residence Life position became available, he thought it would be a good fit for me while I attended graduate school.”

The following year, Samchuck started working in the career services department on campus. In fall 2002 she began her current position as advising program coordinator in the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

This new position was the right fit for her.

“I love getting to talk to students. There’s a starting and an ending point, and you don’t always see them at the end, but it’s great to see them on the journey,” she said.

She also still prefers small campuses because of the feeling of community.

“It’s the communication you can have with so many different people,” she said. “There is more of an impact made by the student.”

Education

Master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in counseling, Geneva College

Bachelor’s degree in psychology, University of Pittsburgh