The Health Professional Student Association Student Advisory Council today announced the awardees of their inaugural Advisor of the Year recognition. The 2022 awardees are:

Public University: Toni Trumbo-Bell, Ph.D., Professor of Biochemistry and Pre-Medical Sciences Studies Certificate Program Coordinator, Bloomsburg University, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania

Private University: Jelena Marić-Antonijević, MS, Director of Health Professions, Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois

The announcement was made online and at the National Association of Advisors of the Health Professions National Conference in Denver, Colorado.

2022 Public University Advisor of the Year – Toni Trumbo-Bell, Ph.D.

Toni Trumbo-Bell, 2022 Public University Advisor of the Year
Toni Trumbo-Bell, Ph.D.

Dr. Trumbo-Bell serves as the Professor of Biochemistry and Pre-Medical Sciences Studies Certificate Program Coordinator at Bloomsburg University. She started college in 1993 at the University of Louisville-Kentucky as a non-traditional student and single mom with a preschooler at home. In 1996, she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. While working as a training coordinator for a large retail corporation as she was searching for a chemist job, she realized that she loved helping other adults succeed through teaching. In 1997, she returned to the University of Louisville and completed a doctorate in chemistry in 2002. After defending her dissertation, she started her “dream job” at Bloomsburg University, and in 2004, she was appointed to the Pre-Professional Advisory Committee.  She has been advising pre-medical science students ever since, sharing in their successes or finding alternative paths in case of a setback.

In nominating Dr. Trumbo-Bell, her advisees said, “She made sure I was on track, and she never let me lose confidence in myself. When the time came for me to apply to medical school, she was certain I was going to get in, even when I sometimes felt doubtful…I feel extremely fortunate to have her in my corner because I know I can always count on her.”

2022 Private University Advisor of the Year – Jelena Marić-Antonijević, MS

Jelena Marić-Antonijević, 2022 Private University Advisor of the Year
Jelena Marić-Antonijević, MS

Ms. Marić-Antonijević is the Director of Health Professions at Roosevelt University in Chicago, Illinois. She earned a Master of Science in Biology from Roosevelt in 2017 for research on colon and pancreatic cancer. After graduation, she stayed at Roosevelt. in the Department of Biological, Physical and Health Sciences as the Director of Health Professions.  Her main role is to advise pre-health students and teaches science classes throughout the year, including cancer biology.

Drawing from her own experiences as a first-generation/immigrant pre-health undergraduate student, Ms. Marić-Antonijević is passionate about advising students that come from all walks of life because she understands the struggles that they might be going through in order to reach their professional goals. She strives every day not only to be their academic advisor but also (and more importantly) their mentor.  She has instilled confidence within her bright students and developed a passion for healthcare, social justice, and equity within them with an expectation they will make a world of difference in their communities.  

In her nomination essay, her advisees said of Ms. Marić-Antonijević, “she has been one of the most supportive advisors I’ve ever had.  … Without her help, I would not be able to say that I had gotten accepted to multiple schools with scholarships, including my top choice.”

About the Award

In early 2022, the Student Advisory Council developed the idea of allowing students to recognize outstanding advisors. “As pre-health and health professional students, we’ve relied on the support of advisors to give us information and advice on the admissions process,” said Anand Shah, a current dental student and member of the Student Advisory Council. “We wanted to give students the opportunity to tell the world about their advisors who have gone above and beyond to help them, and other students, with their journey to become health care professionals.”  

In February 2022, the Student Advisory Council invited students to nominate advisors who had helped them during their pre-health and health professional journey. From the nominations received, the Council selected an advisor from a public and private university as the inaugural award recipients.

“We are really excited to recognize these outstanding advisors as Advisor of the Year,” said Thi Preysner, current pre-medical student and Council member. “A great advisor is a mentor, cheerleader, and guide, and can make a huge difference in students’ lives.”

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