At the end of February, Tina Gottesman’s career as an advisor will come to an end. But, the impact she leaves behind will be felt for years to come. Gottesman has served as an academic advisor in Auburn University’s School of Kinesiology since October 2011.
Her career in education began before that when she served as a special education teacher for more than 17 years in three different systems in Alabama—primarily in Chambers County.
Looking for a change of pace, Gottesman came to Auburn University and signed up for Temporary Employment Services, willing to do whatever she could find.
“The School of Kinesiology was the first office to request a TES employee when I applied,” she said. “They had a front desk person who left suddenly, and I jumped at the chance.”
A native of Auburn, Gottesman said it was nice to finally work closer to home. The TES role eventually turned into a permanent position for Gottesman. She later accepted a financial role in Kinesiology, and then found her calling when the school opened up an advisor position in 2011.
“It was not my original intention, but it turned out to be such a blessing and a great fit for me,” she said. “I’ve loved it.”
Gottesman advises students in Exercise Science, Physical Activity and Health, and Fitness, Conditioning and Performance. She said working with college students has been the most rewarding part of her time as an advisor.
“College students all bring different experiences, gifts, and talents,” she said. “Many of them are passionate about their interests and goals. I love helping them explore options and plan a path. I enjoy having real conversations with them and building a trusting relationship. Sometimes even the hard conversations are a blessing to them and to me. They just need someone to listen to them and help them know their options. And there are so many options! This usually excites and motivates them.”
Director of Academic Advising Robin Martin said Gottesman has been an invaluable member of the school’s advising team.
“Her dedication to serving and supporting the students in the School of Kinesiology has been a vital part of our success and growth,” Martin said. “Her students absolutely love her and know that she is someone they can trust to give them the information they need to be successful. She is leaving very big shoes to fill and we will truly miss her.”
The students who have been advised by Gottesman say she has made enormous impacts in their lives.
“Her dedication to her students is absolutely remarkable,” said student Abby Cramer. “I believe that she cares for and loves her students just as if they were her own children. Personally, she has shaped me into the student I am today by giving me the confidence to live out my dreams and believe in my academic abilities.”
Student Maddy Mayhan also acknowledged Gottesman’s passion for helping her students.
“Tina is one of the best advisors,” Mayhan said. “She is so kind and cares so much about her students. She truly wants them to succeed. She has helped me with applying to graduate school and has been there to support me in all my academic endeavors since I was a freshman.”
For student Sarah-Grace Jones, Gottesman has been a mother figure in the School of Kinesiology.
“Mrs. Tina has been more than an advisor for me during my time at Auburn University,” Jones said. “She has supported me, has listened to me, and has assisted me in achieving my goals. Not once has she given up on helping me find what I am passionate about, and that is something I will forever be grateful for.”
Her dedication to serving students has been recognized along the way. In 2017, Gottesman was named the Outstanding Advisor for Auburn University. She also received the university’s monthly Spirit of Excellence Award in August 2012.
Gottesman credits some of her success as an advisor to the people who mentored her along the way.
“Robin Martin trained me as an advisor, and she is very knowledgeable about the big picture since she is on the curriculum committee and our course scheduler,” Gottesman said. “She has a unique perspective because she understands how decisions impact other things.”
She said Director of Pre-Health Professions Programs Beverly Childress and Pre-Health Counseling Specialist Krysta Diehl helped her learn more about pre-health advising.
“They really welcomed me into their world and answered my many questions,” she said. “We co-advised the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy Club and I attended Alpha Epsilon Delta and Pre-PA club meetings to learn information to better advise my students.”
While she has enjoyed a career working with students, she is looking forward to spending time with a different group of people in retirement: her family, and specifically, her grandchildren.
“My decision to retire has certainly not been motivated by leaving this job,” she said. “I have loved this job with all my heart, and it’s a little sad to think about leaving. But the pull toward family is stronger. So this decision is more about moving forward to a new adventure. Grandbabies don’t stay little long. I need to take advantage of this time and live my life with no regrets.”
Gottesman has one grandson and another due in April.
“I am looking forward to having more freedom and flexibility to spend with my grandchildren. They live in Madison, Alabama. I also hope to volunteer more time with my church and travel with my husband,” she said.