I am nominating: Won Choi
Years of Service at Cal Poly: 7
Department: Student Support and Equity Programs
Position: Academic Advisor
Why are you nominating this person: Won Choi has served our campus as an academic advisor for EOP and Undeclared students in Student Support and Equity Programs for 7 years. It has been a sincere pleasure to watch him grow into the solid student services professional he is today. When Won was a student here, he had aspirations of studying law or teaching history, but his role as an undergraduate peer mentor changed all that and we are so happy it did. Won is deserving of STAR recognition because he approaches each day and each moment with a student with enthusiasm, commitment, and desire to make a positive difference.
Student-Centered Philosophy: There is no question that Won believes in the students he serves and makes every effort to create educational moments with each contact he has with them. When advising EOP and undeclared students his calming demeanor puts them at ease and allows them to express their concerns, frustrations, and challenges in productive ways. He genuinely cares about his students' college experience and extends himself to the fullest to ensure their needs are met. He has made wonderful connections with his students who continue to come back to meet with him even when they are no longer required to do so and in some cases long after they have graduated.
Integrity: Won has an innocence about him that will not allow him to sway from his core beliefs and values. At first glance, some students may think that they can “get away” with not coming to advising sessions prepared or not putting their best effort into completing activities they have committed to doing because of his easy going nature. However, Won has seen the importance of holding our students accountable for their decisions and actions. When they fall short of this, he helps them to see the reality of their situations but is not afraid to allow them to feel the effects of the consequences.
Interconnectedness: Won saw a need for our students to think about life after college, not just for a job, but to consider graduate school and internship options. Because of this, Won has worked hard establishing relationships with key faculty expert in pre-professional and graduate school preparation. This collaboration has led him to develop specialized workshops, e-mail updates, and informational sessions to connect students to these advisors and other resources on campus.
Passion: Won is simply a fun person to be around. He enjoys working with students, he believes in our mission of service to them and he understands the importance of their full engagement in campus life. He models this by his own involvement as club advisor to KMER American Student Organization, his membership and service in APFSSA, and work with BroncoFusion. Won looks for the positive in all that he encounters as an advisor while ensuring student accountability in taking ownership of their actions and responsibilities. He appreciates the importance of empowering students with the tools to be effective decision makers, but assures them that he is here for them when the challenges become more ominous or overwhelming.
Quality: No matter what his task, Won approaches everything he does with a desire to create a quality program, student contact, presentation, etc. In addition to his advising responsibilities, Won has become our resident tech person. He eagerly steps in to assist with our AV set-ups and program presentations. This year, Won developed our first online version of the New EOP Student Welcome to ensure that those students who were unable to participant still had the opportunity to view what we covered in the program. He has also been very active in learning the inner workings of the DSA web upgrades interacting almost on a daily basis with different strategies to ensure a clean transition when we switch over.
Richness of Diversity: Won thrives in diverse environments. He respects every student in his advising caseload equally, but acknowledges the unique differences, level of major decidedness and academic preparedness each brings with them. He tailors his advising approach accordingly and welcomes the opportunity to learn from the students’ experiences and backgrounds.
Please state any additional information that you would like to provide: In SSEP, Won is like the Norm Peterson character of CHEERS – he is likable, supportive, and easy going. It is always evident at events like our Summer Bridge closing ceremony or the Renaissance Scholars Celebration of Excellence Dinners, or even our New EOP Student Welcomes – you can always hear students shouting out “Won Choi” when he enters the room because “everybody knows his name.” Won is truly a STAR.