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Three people pose with an award certificate

Dava Jondall, center, accepts her certificate of merit for excellence in advising.

Professional Group Honors Two College Advisers

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Professional Group Honors Two College Advisers

March 5, 2024
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Dava Jondall and Mildred Curran stand out for their kindness, inclusivity and enduring passion for helping students succeed, from Day 1 onward.

Academic advisers in the College of Engineering are there for students every step of the way – from course plans to career choices. Recent professional awards held up two in the college as among the best.

The University of Arizona Professional Advising Committee honored Dava Jondall and Mildred Curran in October 2023: Jondall received a university certificate of merit and Curran a Region 10 National Academic Advising Association award for Excellence in Advising – Primary Role Advisor.

Colleagues, employees, supervisors or students nominate advisers for the awards.

“Dava and Mildred are definitely experts in their departments and advising practice,” said Marisa Pope-Malings, director of undergraduate advising for the College of Engineering. “They really go out of their way to do professional development, stay current, learn new things and engage their students.”

Dava Jondall: Guiding Light

Jondall, who for 16 years has been academic program manager and adviser with biosystems engineering – jointly administered in the College of Agriculture, Life and Environmental Science – makes a point of knowing what is going on in all of her students’ lives.

“She is a light that shines to guide the path,” Solomon Edo, an international graduate student who was new to the university, said in a nomination letter. Edo was deeply grateful for Jondall’s help navigating housing, clubs and food on- and off-campus.

Preparing students for life after college – with resumes, elevator pitches, LinkedIn profiles, coaching, networking and career development – is as important as helping them get through college, said Jondall, who also received a 2022-2023 CALES A+ Advising Award from students in her department.

“I’m noticing a lot of students are like, ‘Just tell me what to do.’ No,” she said. “This is your education, it’s going to be your career, so you need to be equally engaged and active with that. That helps them in the long run and gives them an opportunity to understand that not only are they book smart, but they’re also capable of managing things.”

Mildred Curran: Pillar of Inclusivity

three people pose with an award certificate
Mildred Curran, center, accepts her Region 10 Naional Academic Advising Association award.


As an immigrant to the United States, Curran deeply values the importance of creating a culture of belongingness and community within academic settings.

“She cares so much. She wants people to succeed,” said 2023 systems and industrial engineering graduate Jenna Cordova, supply chain manager at Bechtel Corp., a construction firm in Houston.

Now director of Student Services with the UA College of Pharmacy, Curran was with the Department of Systems and Industrial Engineering five of her 10 years at the university. She organized cultural events and initiatives, equity in engineering forums, and scholarship crowdfunding for underserved students.