Spotlight on New Graduate Advisor

  • An image of new graduate advisor Michael Schillo smiling while working in his office.

Spotlight on New Graduate Advisor

Spotlight on New CS Graduate Advisor

Academic advisors exist as a critical component of college life, especially at the graduate level. As the Rowan CS community expands, our graduate students need an expert level of care. As such, Michael B. Schillo was recently appointed graduate advisor for all students within the CS department.

 Graduate advisors operate much differently than undergraduate advisors. Unlike undergraduate advisors, Graduate advisors are more administrative, as graduate programs are much more structured. They help push students towards success, making sure students are on track with their course schedule and communicating with program coordinators. Schillo also helps organize and assist all international students, a job especially needed as the university strives to become a global campus. 

Schillo has advised CS students for multiple years prior to obtaining the position, making him an easy fit as graduate advisor. What drew Schillo to advising due to an interest to follow students beyond graduation. Schillo also has an interest in international culture and languages, an interest that helps him when guiding international graduate students. “[International students] are on the other side of the world, it's a lot here. I want them to come to the US and see that this is the land of opportunity, and that this can be their home,” says Schillo.

Schillo’s favorite part about working with students is finding what they hate. In his opinion, it’s how students find what they truly like– by ripping out everything that they may despise. As you move through your college career, and eventually find what you do like– Schillo finds that the “eureka” moment is incredibly rewarding. Another highlight is commencement– “Advisors joke that commencement is for us. It’s always exciting to see students who weren't sure, or came from backgrounds that didn’t have access to tech, and now they’re gonna get their masters in data science, and go conquer the world,” says Schillo. 

As the new graduate advisor, Schillo wants to work on improving the graduate experience, especially for international students. Schillo is working to improve policies for international students, expanding internship opportunities,  and is pegging away at an exclusive graduate community for international students. “We’re sensitive to issues international students are going through, as our students are under a lot of pressure due to heavy academics and the shift in culture. We wanna create a better process in terms of handling students, and let them know about all the resources they have,” says Schillo. Schillo is also interested in developing cultural events, to make international students feel more at home. Other things to look forward to include the summer CTP program, an internship opportunity for international students.

Schillo leaves one word of advice for all students, graduate or otherwise– “Persist. Everything has to be centered around persistence… They need to persist, work harder, take advantage of all the resources, such as tutoring, which a lot of people forget. They feel that they’re alone, but they need to persist and have aggression with it– go ask professors when you have questions, you're playing for your education, take some ownership of it. And don't stop after graduation– keep going, keep moving forward.”

Written by Kiley Parker | 2023.4.17