Personnel changes are happening at the Kennedy Center’s student academic advisement center. Anna Ortiz, who was recently named the BYU and statewide academic advisor of the year, has left the Kennedy Center to move with her family. We appreciate her ten years of service and the work she has done helping our students achieve their academic and professional goals.
And we are pleased to announce that a new advisor has been hired. Raquel Petrus started working as an assistant advisor in late June, moving to the Kennedy Center after three years in BYU’s International Student and Scholar Services office.
“I wanted to go into advising because I enjoy working with students,” Petrus says. “I love to help them have big dreams, then get into the nitty gritty to see how we’re going to make those big dreams happen.”
Petrus was born in Haiti and lived there for the first part of her life; French is her first language, followed by Haitian Creole. When she was ten, her family moved to the East Coast of the US; she attended junior high in Brooklyn and high school in Manhattan.
Petrus did her undergraduate degree at BYU, studying youth agency administration and graduating in 1995. She also had an interest in American Sign Language, having been introduced to it by a deaf missionary her family knew; she took all the ASL classes that BYU had to offer, eventually progressing to the point where she was able to interpret.
After working for a short time after graduation, she chose to stay at home and raise her children, staying involved with the community and her children’s school through volunteer work and sitting on the school board. In 2019, she began working at the ISSS office at BYU and soon after began simultaneously pursuing her Executive Masters of Public Administration degree here.
When she heard about the job opening from Lesa Snyder, the other advisor at the Kennedy Center, Petrus was immediately interested. “Before I was going to do my MPA,” she explains, “I’d thought about getting a counseling degree and either being a high school counselor—helping students make that jump from high school to college—or going into advising here and helping bring students to school.” The possibility of doing so at the Kennedy Center seemed like a great opportunity as she loves traveling and learning about new cultures.
All of this makes her excited to become part of the Kennedy Center: “I love to learn,” she says, “and I feel that at the Kennedy Center, I’m going to learn a lot of new things.”
We are pleased to welcome Raquel Petrus to the Kennedy Center! If you’re a student who’d like to learn more about our academic advisement center or set up an appointment to meet with Petrus or Snyder, click here.