Dr. Jessy Ohl, associate professor of communication studies, was awarded the 2023 Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award from The University of Alabama Graduate School. This award highlights individuals who value the importance of mentoring students and serving as a role model to help them prepare for their future professional careers.
Ohl began working in the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) in 2017 and has been the primary advisor for many master’s and doctoral students. In addition, he has served on multiple thesis and dissertation committees in the Department of Communication Studies, and has served as an external committee member to a doctoral student enrolled at another University.
He has a reputation for having high academic standards while providing guidance and mentorship to his many students. Ohl successfully serves as a professional role model and strong influence on students’ academic and professional goals, and his students and colleagues speak highly of his compassion, empathy and willingness to go above and beyond as a mentor.
One former student, Christina Marie Brown, first met Ohl in 2011 at the University of Mary Washington, where he served as her undergraduate academic advisor and professor. Brown later benefited from Ohl’s mentorship again at UA when she earned her master’s degree from the Capstone in 2020.
“Over the course of the past ten years, Dr. Ohl has become more than just a professor or advisor to me. He is a friend, a mentor, a role model and someone who genuinely inspires me to always be the best version of myself,” Brown said. “He took the time to foster my ideas and encouraged me to pursue all of my academic interests. He provided me with opportunities outside of the classroom to foster my curiosity and interests, all of which fundamentally changed the way I saw myself as a student.”
In addition to several current and former students and mentees, Ohl received much recognition and praise from his colleagues in C&IS, including fellow communication studies professor, Dr. Robin Boylorn.
“Dr. Ohl is the epitome of a graduate student mentor. His ethical leadership, thoughtful and intentional guidance and contagious passion for the study of rhetoric makes him a popular and highly sought-after advisor in our master’s and Ph.D. programs, and across disciplines and institutions,” Boylorn said. “His general leadership and remarkable capacity to make every student feel seen, recognized and supported helps create a safe space for students to learn and grow. His investment in student success situates him as an aspirational guide and thought partner for them, especially first-generation students and those from traditionally underrepresented populations.”
The Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award highlights the importance of offering consistent and meaningful guidance to graduate students, while serving as an inspirational and ethical role model and preparing them for success at the next level of their professional careers. It is awarded each year to a faculty member at The University of Alabama who embodies the traits of an outstanding mentor.