Staff Feature: Ms. Stacy Gilbert: From Athlete to Model Mentor
Stacy Gilbert grew up in Sheridan, Arkansas. She and her three older siblings were first generation college students, but Stacy is the only one who didn’t graduate as a Razorback. Stacy transferred from the University of Arkansas to Louisiana Tech to play volleyball, but caught the coaching bug and opted to help coach an AAU volleyball team instead of pursuing an athletics career. Stacy then became a student worker in the Athletics Academic Center her junior year. That is where she found her calling. Upon graduating with a degree in H&PE in 1995, Stacy accepted an athletics administration internship with Tech Athletics. She enrolled in a graduate program in Counseling and Guidance the following Fall. Within months of being an intern, Stacy accepted a position as an Academic Counselor, and remained in athletics as an Assistant Athletics Director for twelve years.
While working with student-athletes, Stacy developed a particular interest in working with freshmen. When the opportunity to work with all first-year students for the Division of Student Affairs presented itself in 2007, a dream came true, and she accepted the position of Director of Co-Curricular Programs, Testing, and Disability Services. Dr. Linda Griffin, Dean of Student Development, commented about Stacy’s transition, “I have had the pleasure of working with Stacy for many years, dating back to her days in Athletics and mine in Counseling Services. I was impressed with her demonstration of a keen interest in student athletes. Typically, rather than referring a student for counseling, Stacy would bring the individual, providing a comforting and smooth transition. She continues that kind of service to students today.”
When asked what aspect of her job that she likes most, Stacy said, “I treasure the opportunity to teach University Seminar to incoming first-year students. I take great pride in taking 20 students ‘under my wing’ for their first few weeks of their transition to college, and watching them gain confidence in themselves as well as an appreciation for this great University.”
First-year students experience a lot of change and transition in just a few short weeks. This transition, for many, does not come without bumps in the road. These students are many times too proud to seek the advice or counsel from family. Stacy noted, “I love the opportunity to direct these students to the many great resources available to help them. Watching students recognize their potential is such fun. I am just happy they let me have a small part in their journey.”
Along with colleague Barry Morales, Stacy also co-advises the Tech Leadership Council, a leadership group that offers leadership training to first-year students. She noted that she enjoys watching former TLC members go on to become campus leaders and represent our university well.
Stacy also works as an advocate for students with disabilities. “Every day we are able to witness students overcome challenges and be successful. It is truly one of the most rewarding aspects of my job.”
“Stacy wears many hats, changing them throughout the day,” Linda Griffin noted. “She can be seen escorting a student with a disability in order to demonstrate the best navigable route to class. She will meet with each of her University Seminar students, determining perceived barriers to success, then directly linking them to appropriate resources. She can be observed providing direction for student leaders in many areas, empowering them to deliberate and make the right choices for themselves and their constituents. And she will be the first to volunteer for projects which she believes will advance the mission of the University, especially with reference to recruiting and retaining a strong, diverse, committed student body. Stacy mentors countless students which results in relationships that last throughout their Tech experience and beyond.”
In 2010, Stacy was recognized by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition at the University of South Carolina and Cengage Learning as an “Outstanding First-Year Student Advocate.” This award was shared with FYE team members, Dr. Griffin and Dr. Norm Pumphrey.
Stacy is currently working on her EdD in Higher Education Administration at Tech. Stacy says that getting the degree is most certainly a family endeavor. Her husband Matt, son Mason (11), and daughter Marleigh (6) are Stacy’s greatest blessings and sources of support as she focuses her attention on her studies.
Stacy came to Tech from Arkansas to be a student athlete, and while she still has a passion for athletics, her loyalties are clearly to Louisiana Tech. Dr. Griffin noted, “I do not know of a more loyal Bulldog than Stacy Gilbert. She has earned two degrees from Louisiana Tech, and currently is pursuing her doctorate in Higher Education Administration, this in addition to her full-time administrative duties and devotion to her husband and two young children. Stacy has supported and promoted numerous projects to instill school spirit in students, faculty, and staff, including the Tenets of Tech, Medallion project, and Loyal Blue Fridays. Stacy models for me and her other colleagues every day through her love for the University, her exceptional integrity and work ethic, and her indefatigable energy.”