Posted on Dec 18, 2021

Trailblazer Spotlight: Maikelyn Lopez, Academic Advisor

Trailblazer Spotlight: Maikelyn Lopez, Academic Advisor

“I truly believe that advisors are what keep students going.”

USF Health College of Nursing Academic Advisor Maikelyn Lopez started at the college in 2015, but her journey to success was not easy.

At 15-years-old, Lopez’s parents decided to migrate to the United States from Cuba. They had no friends or family in America, so everything was new. Lopez even had to learn English.

She didn’t let that slow her down. Lopez started high school immediately and pushed forward.

“I was scared, but I was also determined,” she said. “Being an only child and the only one in my family that learned the language was already big responsibility.”

“However, I wanted more than that.”

Not only did she graduate high school, but she went on to earn her Bachelor’s in Psychology from USF in 2010. Two years later, she earned her Master of Science in Student Affairs from NOVA Southeastern University. She credits her motivation to her advisors.

“My guidance counselor in high school and academic advisor in college were the two most influential people I knew,” Lopez said.

Inspired, she knew she wanted to pursue a career helping others, the same way her advisors helped her. After graduating in 2012, Lopez started as an academic advisor at the Hillsborough Community College Tampa campus, a goal of hers since high school.

“Advising is my passion and my way of giving back,” she explained.

In addition to her role as an advisor for the RN-BSN and HCC/USF concurrent pathway students, Lopez is a member and secretary of the college’s Diversity Committee and a member of the Civility Committee. She also serves as the college’s Academic Regulations Committee Coordinator.

Over a two-year timespan, Lopez was recognized multiple times for going above and beyond. In 2021, she received the Outstanding Staff Service Award and the Commitment to Diversity Award. In 2020, she was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Advising Award.

“My biggest professional accomplishment has been and continues to be advocating for my students and celebrating with them as they reach their goals,” she said.

Her message to Trailblazers: “As long as you work hard and never stop believing in yourself, good luck and success shall always accompany you.”

Story by Cassidy Delamarter