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Dr. Foster: More than just a professor

Marissa

MARISSA

Major: Political Science
Hometown: Glenwood Springs, CO

Year: Senior

Even after three and a half years of being a student at Fort Lewis College, it is still hard to forget how overwhelmed and nervous I felt to be going away to college after graduating from high school. As a first generation student and the first of my siblings to be going away to college, I was fearful of how leaving my family and mentors would affect my life and my success in school. Who would guide me through four years of college? Where would I find that guidance? Could I possibly do this alone? These were the questions I asked myself every day before starting my freshman year at Fort Lewis.

Fortunately these questions did not haunt me for long once I arrived at FLC. There has always been a place where my fears and anxieties about college have been put to rest: in my academic advisor’s office. I met my advisor, Dr. Richard Foster, my second semester of freshman year and I quickly learned that I was no longer alone in my college journey. Every advising appointment with Dr. Foster has been more than just a time to set up my classes; it is also a time to reflect on the semester’s work and talk about my career goals and options. Before starting our discussion of classes and major requirements, Dr. Foster would always begin by simply asking me how my day and my semester was going. We would often transition into talking about current political events or issues. Much like I did with my parents when I was a kid, I would often visit Dr. Foster just to tell him about something new I had learned related to a topic we discussed in his class. He would always receive my stories with enthusiasm and interest. Those conversations have been some of the most important ones I have had throughout my last three years. It has been comforting and reassuring to know there is someone who is genuinely interested and concerned about me as a student.

As my advisor and my professor for several political science classes, Dr. Foster has been very influential to my academic and personal growth. Learning from him about his experience and expertise in public policy influenced me to pursue a graduate degree in public policy. These last couple of weeks have been very important to me as a senior as I have had to make some big decisions about my life after college. I have met with Dr. Foster to discuss my future plans to attend graduate school; he has listened attentively to my options and has carefully guided me to make a decision that will be the most beneficial. Most importantly he has always been supportive and encouraging of my goals and dreams and that has given me the confidence to take some big steps and to continue dream big. Dr. Foster’s words of advice and often just his reassurance that I am on the right path have been crucial in my success as a student at Fort Lewis College. I know that my parents and I are very grateful that I have found the guidance and support I needed to be the first in family to walk across that stage in May when I graduate with a degree in Political Science.

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    Posted @ Saturday, January 04, 2014 by Katey
    Katey's avatar

    Marissa,
    I thought of your post as I watched my advisor give the commencement speech at December’s graduation. Several of your interactions with Dr. Foster match my relationship with Dr. Kraus. It is truly amazing how the professors at FLC work with us as a team so we are able to have a fulfilling college experience (and enable us to graduate!). I sincerely hope when Dr. Foster read this he realized the impact he had on you.
    -Katey

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