16:30 PM

A rock star advisor

Academic advisor Kaitlyn Washko is recognized with the 2023 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising

Kaitlyn Washko

Kaitlyn Washko, an academic advisor at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering, loves helping students realize they’re capable of greatness. 

For her ability to support and build a rapport with first-year students, Washko was recently recognized with the 2023 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising. 

“This recognition confirms that I’ve come to the right place,” Washko said. “Being in a position where I can help students has always been extremely rewarding for me. Being recognized for my work is icing on the cake!” 

Jill Harvey, director of first-year advising, has worked with Washko for more than five years. She said that Washko has taken her advising role to the next level, incorporating skills and interests that she has strengths in while inspiring her students to do the same. 

“Kaitlyn’s greatest professional strength is her true desire to relate to students and to meet them wherever they are in their academic journey,” Harvey said. “She recognizes that students bring a wide variety of experiences to college and strives to give them what they need as individuals who happen to be tackling the same rigorous academic program.” 

Washko said she builds relationships with her students by finding a common ground, the biggest one being music. When she’s not working with students, Washko fronts a Pittsburgh-based hard rock band, Victoria Fire. 

“I try to keep track of what the kids are listening to these days, and I’m fairly certain it’s not a lot of hard rock music,” Washko joked. “I am happy to assist in recommendations when I can!” 

Washko comes from a family of educators and sports coaches. Watching them interact with their mentees inspired her to explore working in higher education. 

“I wanted to create that same impact, which is why I knew that working in education was the right path for me,” Washko explained. “It always felt right.” 

The Provost’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Advising includes a $1,000 prize and a $1,500 grant to support professional development activities.