AUBURN UNIVERSITY- On Jan. 20, 2017, three members of Auburn University Student Affairs faculty received NASPA awards, two of which were awarded at the 2017 National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Region III Alabama Drive-In Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. NASPA is a national association for the advancement, health and sustainability of the student affairs profession.

Tess Gibson, coordinator for Parent and Family Programs, is this year’s recipient of The Rising Star Award. Gibson received the award at the NASPA Region III Alabama Drive-In Conference. This award recognizes a new professional with no more than four years of experience in Student Affairs. The recipient must “demonstrate initiative, contribute to the programs that address the needs of students and institutions, creates campus environments that promote student learning and personal development and contribute work that supports advancements of student support in higher education,” according to the NASPA website.

“I am continually learning from meeting colleagues in NASPA and from reading articles published by the organization,” said Gibson. “I would say learning the best practices has helped shaped my office and the services I am able to provide.”

Shannon Cantlay, graduate advisor for Leadership and Service, is this year’s Future Leader Award, an award which is only awarded to one graduate assistant from the entire state of Alabama. Cantlay received her award at the NASPA Region III Alabama Drive-In Conference, as well. Cantaly was recognized for her intentional and effective work with Parent and Family Programs this past summer as well as for her continued work in Leadership and Service programs in the Office of Student Involvement.

“NASPA has definitely played a role in my development as a student affairs practitioner,” said Cantlay, “by affording me the opportunity to present at conferences, listen to amazing speakers, and learn from colleagues and mentors.​”

Troy Stephens Jr., advisor for Greek Life, is this year’s New Connections Stipend winner which covers his registration fees for the 2017 NASPA conference in San Antonio, Texas. It also provides him with $500 reimbursable funds which may be used for food, travel and lodging during the conference. Stephens expressed his excitement for the opportunity to travel to a new city and be among like-minded people in his field for five days.

“NASPA has provided me with the road map for how I do my job,” said Stephens, “all of my work is associated with NASPA Core Competencies.”

The organization works to ensure student affairs professionals are current on trends in higher education. Their work provides high-quality professional development, advocacy and research for 15,000 members in the United States. NASPA holds the Region III Alabama Drive-In conference to bring together student affairs professionals from across the state with the goals of learning from each other and discussing critical issues impacting the student affairs field, as well as fellowship with the new and established colleagues.

For more information about NAPSA or future NAPSA events, visit the website at

Written by Grace Fabyan

Last modified: 04/20/2017