March 2, 2018 | By: Gail Hairston

The University of Kentucky has honored two of its most exceptional advisors with the Freedman Outstanding Advising Award. The University of Kentucky Advising Network and the Freedman Selection Committee selected Esther Fleming as the recipient of the outstanding professional advisor award. Fleming advises students enrolled in the agricultural biotechnology program in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. 

In the Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology program (fondly known as ABT), students often follow a well-worn, circuitous path on the second floor of Ag North — down the center hall lined with freezers, right at the end of the hall, through the door marked “Equine office, Natural Resource and Environmental Science and Agricultural Biotechnology,” down the left hall to the office marked “J.” There, students find Esther Fleming, the woman many consider the savior of their academic life at UK.

“Esther is the first person you meet when you join the agricultural biotechnology (ABT) major. She knows every student by name, not an easy task in a major that is constantly growing. She's there for every club meeting, every poster session and every award, always taking pictures and getting a statement for her weekly newsletter,” said student nominator Adrienne Arnold.

“Two years ago, when I presented at UK's undergraduate (research) poster session,” continued Arnold, “she rode her bike across campus in the rain to make sure that she was able to hear every ABT students' presentation and take pictures of them for her newsletter. She is the friendly face of outreach that makes our major feel small and supportive. Our program would not be the same without her.”

“Before I even started classes,” said student nominator Kate Cox, “she took the time to sit down with me, and discuss some of my initial, ambitious plans. To this day, I use the plan every semester to keep myself on track. A friendly and approachable mentor, she will point each student in the right direction based on their goals. Her honesty and sincerity have helped me make the right choices in what to study while at UK. Thanks to her expertise about ABT, I have been able to balance hard science classes with a wildly different minor, dance.”

The recipients of the Freedman Award will receive a $500 travel grant from UK Student and Academic Support, a unit of the UK Division of Student and Academic Life. The advisor award is named for Ken Freedman, who served as a professional advisor at UK for 15 years prior to his death in 2001. Freedman was one of the founders of the UK Advising Network in 1986 and instrumental in advising leadership on campus in the 1990s.

Click here for more information about other Freedman award winners.