Dania Abreu-Torres portrait next to stack of books
So They Can Take Over the World
Distinguished mentor reflects on the role of faculty advising

Faculty advisers have long been at the heart of academic exploration at Trinity. Educational experts who help students navigate the nuances of a field of study, faculty advisers give voice to focused professions and careers.

Dania Abreu-Torres, Ph.D., a Spanish professor who has called Trinity home for more than a decade, won Trinity’s 2021 Distinguished Advising Award for her work advising Spanish, international studies, and global Latinx studies majors in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures. In a brief Q&A, Abreu-Torres reflects on her role as an adviser—but maybe more important, as a mentor, future colleague, and friend.

1. Why is it important at Trinity that faculty are able to serve in the advising role for student majors?

Advising is all about having a personal relationship with your students. When I was an undergraduate in Puerto Rico, I was just a number. I never had a relationship with my professors, nor a serious adviser. By being faculty advisers, we are letting our students know that they matter and that their plans and ideas for the future matter.

2. How do faculty work with majors to serve as advisers and mentors?

We are role models of the disciplines our students would like to pursue. By showing our passion for our work, both in teaching and research, we are modeling to our students the possibility of making a living doing what you love. As mentors, we open their perspectives and guide them how to best negotiate their passions with a career. As advisers, we are able to help them with the planning of that negotiation and to have a solid path for their future endeavors.

3. What is most memorable about being a faculty adviser?

Seeing my students graduate—it is a feeling very similar to being a mom, but of another kind. As an adviser, I see students coming in scared; I teach them how to not only not be scared, but to also deal with fear and look for ways to empower themselves. After some time, they return to visit with all these stories and experiences, and I see them in a different light. They become my colleagues, and often they are now mentors. This is most memorable for me: I helped them with this part of the journey, so they can take over the world.

Jeanna Goodrich Balreira '08 is the director for content strategy for Trinity University Strategic Communications and Marketing.

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