WNC Jump Start coordinator receives Regents’ Academic Advisor Award

Western Nevada College Jump Start coordinator Tricia Wentz, left, was recently chosen as the recipient of the 2018 Nevada Regents’ Academic Advisor Award. Piper McCarthy, right, the college’s director of counseling, nominated Wentz for the award.

Courtesy Steve Yingling, Western Nevada College

Call her the guiding light.

Tricia Wentz has spent her professional career helping students reach their potential and become productive citizens.

As Western Nevada College’s Jump Start coordinator, Wentz has been devoted to advising students in the region about the benefits of earning up to associate degree before graduating from high school. Now in its fourth year, the dual-credit Jump Start College serves nearly 500 high school students in seven school districts.


Wentz’s tireless work has been recognized by the Nevada System of Higher Education Board of Regents in selecting her as the recipient of the 2018 Nevada Regents’ Academic Advisor Award.

“Tricia Wentz is outstanding as coordinator for our Jump Start program,” said Dianne Hilliard, WNC’s Dean of Students/Registrar. “She truly cares about the students and goes out of her way to ensure that each student is receiving the support needed to succeed in the program. She works tirelessly with the representatives from each school to keep the lines of communication open to work as a collaborative team.”

The Board of Regents established the Regents’ Academic Advising Award in 1998.

“I’m very humbled by it,” Wentz said. “The reason I feel humbled by this award is because Jump Start is such a team effort and it requires so many people to make the program work and make it an effective program that is good for students. So, I really share this with all the high school counselors who are also working very tirelessly and the whole counseling department, student services and college-wide. I just appreciate everyone’s efforts.”

In her roles as Jump Start counselor/coordinator, Wentz is responsible for the communication and implementation of the Jump Start program within 19 different schools and organizations.

“Some of that inspiration and devotion comes from my experience as a high school counselor and just having a heart for high school kids and high school counselors,” Wentz said. “It’s really a nice opportunity for me to work with that population and get them going with college plans and their educational careers.”

Wentz’s outreach role requires her to work closely with local high schools to identify high-achieving sophomores and juniors who have met the Algebra II requirement and college English 101 readiness, as well as being socially mature and interested in jump-starting their college education while still in high school.

“She is the driving force behind Jump Start,” said Piper McCarthy, WNC’s Director of Counseling. “Tricia is student-success focused and does not lose sight of doing what is best for the students.”

Wentz is also responsible for serving as the academic advisor to the 500 students enrolled in the Jump Start program.

“In order for Tricia to meet all of these students 1-on-1, she works, nights and weekends, and takes time to make sure that each student is taken care of,” McCarthy said. “I have heard students say that Tricia is patient, kind, understanding and extremely knowledgeable about what they need to do in order to say on track toward their goals.”

Prior to coming to WNC, Wentz served the Douglas County School for 13 years, including roles as high school counselor and Career and Technical Education coordinator. Before becoming the Jump Start coordinator, Wentz was the counselor/coordinator of outreach for WNC’s Bridge to Success program.

Wentz will be presented with the award at the Awards and Appreciation Reception on May 5 at the Governor’s Mansion.

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