Kris Tina Carlston: BYU’s pre-professional mastermind

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KTC are initials every BYU student should know. From prelaw, to pre-management, to life in general, Kris Tina Carlston has become an important mentor to many students.

Carlston is director of the Preprofessional Advisement Center in 3328 of the Wilkinson Student Center and her influence is catching the attention of students and faculty across campus. According to Carlston, the best part of her job is working closely with students.

Carlston advises prelaw and pre-management students in her office in WSC 3328. [Photo by Chris Bunker]
Kris Tina Carlston catching attention campus-wide by faculty and students alike. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
“I love being in the position to help them figure out what they want to do. It’s a privilege for me, just to talk to them about their choices and to help them is really fun,” Carlston said.

Sept. 2 will mark Carlston’s fifth year at BYU. As part of her position, Carlston teaches classes, advises students, directs the preprofessional office and organizes the Western Association of Prelaw Advisors and the law fair caravan associated with the organization.

Carlston got her juris doctor from J. Reuben Clark Law School and her master’s from Utah State. Her experience at a large law firm in Chicago helps her give students a realistic understanding of what a career in the legal field is like.

Advisement center employees agree Carlston’s experience is impressive and is one of the many qualities that makes her so great at what she does, but she’d never tell you that. Courtney Cowley, 22, works as the pre-health secretary in the Preprofessional Advisement Center and notices that Carlston’s modesty helps students feel comfortable seeking advisement.

“She treats students as equals. You go into her office, and she has all these degrees, but she doesn’t act like she does,” Cowley said.

Another employee at the advisement center, Scott Stoller, 23, expressed similar sentiments and noticed that Carlston goes above and beyond normal advisor duties.

“She can relate the students. She can connect with them, and it doesn’t feel so much like an advisor but as a friend,” Stoller said.

One prelaw student, Jonathan McClurg, 23, has taken classes from Carlston and has met with her to seek advice about law school and employment options. According to McClurg, Carlston is highly knowledgeable and gives students a straight answer backed by industry facts in a kind, realistic way.

“If you don’t feel comfortable around Kris Tina you might need professional help. It’s not like meeting with one of your professors up in an ivory tower. She understands how students think and what we worry about and does a great job of catering her answers and lessons to those topics,” McClurg said.

Carlston has both walk-in hours and scheduled advisement appointments with students. [Photo by Chris Bunker]
Carlston has both walk-in hours and scheduled advisement appointments with students. (Photo by Chris Bunker)
It’s not just students who look to Carlston as more than an advisor, either. Employees in the advisement center think of Carlston as a boss, friend and mentor. Stoller reflected on his experiences working with Carlston.

“She knows what she’s doing and she’s confident. She’ll give you the shirt off her back and she treats us all as friends. There’s always professionalism, but at the same time we all have a great time working together,” Stoller said.

According to students working at the advisement center, they are incredibly lucky to be working in such a great environment and with such a great leader. Both Stoller and Cowley mentioned that Carlston encourages students working in the office to continually better themselves and takes great interest in helping them reach their goals.

“She encourages us to go beyond the bare minimum. She wants us to do other things and learn skills that don’t necessarily have to do with our jobs right this second, but that will help us be more marketable in the future,” Cowley said.

Carlston’s influence can be seen in changes occurring in the Preprofessional Advisement Center. In order to reach more students, Carlston initiated a “rebranding” of the advisement center, which includes revamping the interior design, adopting new marketing tactics and providing additional training for advisors. Changes to the advisement center will premiere during its open house on Sept. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students who meet with Carlston can expect even more than great advice. Carlston is sure to charm students with her fun, kind and witty personality. According to her employees, Carlston creates a comfortable environment for students and has mastered the crucial balance of professionalism and fun.

“It’s a blast — every single day there’s something fun. There’s never a dull moment here,” Stoller said.

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