Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Advisor Supports Students with Empathy to Promote Their Success 

Michell Armeanu is photographed against a chalkboard background, smiling into the camera.

This story is one in a series spotlighting eight exceptional faculty members who were recognized with 2023–24 Outstanding Faculty Awards, selected by the University’s Faculty Recognition and Support Committee. 

These awards—among the highest honors at Chico State—celebrate faculty excellence in the categories of Outstanding Professor, Teacher, Academic Advisor, Research Mentor, Faculty Service, Lecturer, Lecturer in Bringing the Profession to the Classroom, and Early Career Faculty. 

Outstanding Academic Advisor Award: Michell Armeanu 

Since joining campus faculty in 2021, Michell Armeanu (Sociology, ’20; MA, Social Sciences, ’21) has proven to be a dedicated, empathetic lecturer and advisor in the sociology department, drawing from her own life experiences to validate and support her students. 

With a focus on students in distance education programs, Armeanu’s guidance has profoundly impacted hundreds of academic and career trajectories, simultaneously uplifting the department.  

Her own journey at Chico State began as a sociology major in the distance education program, where she also served as a department tutor and immediately made a positive impact. 

“I returned to college in my 40s and had other life priorities, children and bills, that I had to balance with academics,” said Armeanu. “I learned that many of my peers were in the same place. In fact, most were nontraditional college students with additional high-priority responsibilities.”  

As an advisor, she said that understanding the range of priorities and concerns students carry in pursuit of their degrees is always front of mind. This means showing up to support them in the best and toughest of times.  

“My main goal is to help students map a path that works for them—this of course does not always work out,” said Armeanu. “In those times, I offer a sympathetic ear when they are overwhelmed, options when success seems impossible, and a reminder that their concerns are valid.”  

She has been in the same shoes as her students and said she understands the pressure her students are under. “This allows me to validate and empathize with their experiences. Often, that is what many of us want: to be heard, understood, and trusted to know what is best for ourselves.” 

After completing her master’s degree and certificate in career and life planning, Armeanu seamlessly transitioned into an advising role, first as an intern and later as a lecturer. Despite her teaching responsibilities, academic advising has remained a significant part of her workload. 

Beyond advising, she actively contributes to recruitment efforts, meeting one-on-one with prospective students and hosting informational meetings to share her experiences as both an advisor and an alumna. Armeanu’s role is pivotal in addressing the complex academic needs of transfer students. As an advocate for their needs and success, she continues to be an asset for her department and the University as a whole.