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Ms. Preusse received the FIG Facilitator Award for her work facilitating the CADalysts FIG from the Cockrell School of Engineering after being nominated by one of the students in the Freshman Interest Group (FIG) she leads. The award came with a $300 remuneration and recognition from the Cockrell School of Engineering at the end of the fall 2009 semester.

A "FIG" is a Freshman Interest Group." All freshmen at the university are encouraged to join one. The purpose of the FIGs is to help integrate the students into university life. Students are free to select their own FIG, but many engineering students choose an engineering FIG so they will meet students in the same major. These students become their friends and often become part of their social and academic circle throughout their years here. FIGs are facilitated by academic advisors or advisors to student organizations, such as the Women in Engineering Program, and count as a one-hour, ungraded academic credit, and lead by a student mentor. Her student mentor was Matthew Leos, a senior in Mechanical Engineering.

Ms. Preusse's FIG, sanctioned by the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is not affiliated with any student group. Ms. Lear Preusse and her student mentor chose to run their FIG rather informally. They saw it mainly as a way for the students to relax, have fun and make new friends with fellow ME students. FIG meetings included bowling, pumpkin carving, sex jeopardy, a trip to the Blanton Museum, queso at Kirby Lane Cafe, and information on drinking through Student Services. The FIG was composed of 22 students—18 men, four women.

Ms. Lear Preusse is the Undergraduate Program Coordinator and Academic Advisor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. She has been with ME since 2000, and was recently promoted to her current position.

Below is the nomination submitted by a FIG member:

How has this nominee excelled in the role of a FIG Facilitator?

She has aided us in becoming accustomed tot he policies of the University of Texas at Austin, and assisted out mentor in helping us become better students.

How have you benefited from this nominee's advice and/or guidance?

She helped settle worries about classes, and assisted me in deciding which ones to take.

In what way has this nominee demonstrated concern for students and their education?

She is also an academic advisor, and as such has helped many students. She has encouraged us to approach her with our problems, and aids us in whatever way she can.

In your opinion, why is this nominee deserving of the 2009 Cockrell School of Engineering Outstanding FIG Facilitator Award?

The nominee has made school a lot easier for me. Without her assistance, I would probably be struggling instead of thriving.

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