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Advisor Edison Helped Ceder Stay on Degree Track

Advisor Edison Helped Ceder Stay on Degree Track

By Bill Wax, Communications Director

The journey was personal for each of the 475 individuals who crossed the platform to receive their Bellevue University degrees at winter commencement exercises January 31.

Navigating relocations, job changes, family, marriage and life issues all while completing a college degree can be stressful, according to Kellye Ceder of Omaha. The working wife and mother of four credits her academic advisor, Amanda Edison, for the encouragement and advice necessary to complete her B.S. in Computer Information Systems degree.

“I was ready to quit a couple of times,” Ceder recalled, “but she (Edison) said ‘No, we’ve got this.’ She was really a counselor for me as well as an advisor. I was having some family and personal issues then, and having someone caring about me at that point in time was huge! At one point, I spent half an hour on the phone in the car in the parking lot at work in Nashville, talking to Amanda and crying.”

“As I recall, there were a lot of two-way emails and some phone tag,” said Edison, adding that trust is a key to a good advisor-student relationship. “The more you build that trust, you can be a little more up-front with them, professionally, of course, but reminding them they’ve invested a lot already. I like to ask a lot of personal questions—about where they work, their kids, marriage. It helps me to see what’s on their plate.

“Advising has changed at Bellevue University over the past two years,” Edison said. “It’s more proactive now. We touch base regularly with the students, at least every 90 days. In my opinion, the Academic Advising group has done a great job in thinking about how to be more creative in outreach and finding the best method to contact the students.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Winter graduate Kellye Ceder, right, chatted with Mary Dobransky, CST Dean, left, and Amanda Edison, her Academic Advisor, during the pre-commencement Open House event January 30. 

Ceder and her family lived in Texas when she began her quest for a degree several years ago. She contacted the University on the recommendation of a brother who was a student at the time.

From Texas, Ceder’s next stop was Nashville, then Omaha, all while continuing her Bellevue University studies online. The Ceders have four children, a daughter who will graduate from Millard North High School in May, and three sons, ages 15, 13, and 7. “Before I started, my kids were like, ‘I’m not going to college.’ But I think seeing me do it at this point in life helped to encourage them to get a degree themselves.”“I called Bellevue University and asked if I had to provide my previous University’s transcript.  Seriously, I failed everything in the first attempt at college. Did I have to include those grades? They said ‘No.’ I could start from scratch.”

Ceder said her husband, Brad, was her number one supporter as she approached the finish line of her quest for a degree. “I wasn’t planning to participate in commencement exercises, but he said ‘You can still go.’ Family came from out of town to attend.”

Recently, her newly acquired bachelor’s degree in hand, Ceder was promoted to Manager of the IT QA department at Schneider Electric, in Omaha. “That’s really the frosting on the cake, when students or alumni get a promotion and can see their education is paying off,” said Mary Dobransky, Dean of the College of Science and Technology.

“It’s why I do what I do,” Edison added, “helping people to get past the moment they’re in and achieve their goal. Having a belief in that person is key, I think.” On the eve of winter commencement, she said the ceremony would be bittersweet for her. After more than two years as an academic advisor, she recently accepted a promotion to Adjunct Faculty Manager in the College of Science and Technology and will no longer have daily contact with students.