Martha Kirby, senior academic advisor in the Department of Political Science, part of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of the 2019 Lola Lopes Award for Undergraduate Student Advocacy.
The award recognizes administrators, staff, or faculty outside of their teaching role who serve as strong and effective advocates for undergraduate students and the undergraduate experience. Recipients are selected by a committee of staff, faculty, and a student.
Kirby provides extraordinary support to more than 600 undergraduate students who are pursuing a degree from the Department of Political Science, either on campus or online. With a tailored approach to advising—grounded in taking the time to get to know each student’s interests and goals—she not only helps students navigate through the major, but is also passionate about connecting them with challenging, high-impact activities such as study abroad, research, and internships. In an exit survey for graduating seniors, 90% rate her advising in the highest possible two categories, with 80% rating it in the highest category of “superb.”
She is also a leader in pre-law advising, supporting students in a wide variety of majors who are interested in pursuing a career in law. She is the staff advisor for the pre-law fraternity Phi Alpha Delta and has skillfully guided many students through the challenging law school application process and preparation for the LSAT exam. A board member of the Midwest Association of Pre-Law Advisors, she chaired a university-wide committee that created the UI Law Expo, which brought almost 100 law schools from across the country to Iowa to hold information sessions and seminars about applying to and succeeding in law school.
Kirby’s positive influence extends to many additional undergraduate students through her service as a member of the First Generation Campus Steering Committee, a leader of the Des Moines Internship Program, and a generous mentor to her advising colleagues.
Kirby will receive a $1,000 honorarium and a certificate, and her name will be added to a plaque that will be displayed in the Admission Visitors Center.
The award is named in honor of Lola L. Lopes, former associate provost for undergraduate education and professor emerita of management and organizations in the Tippie College of Business. Lopes served as interim executive vice president and provost during 2007–08.