Chantelle Tuffigo has "dream job" in the Williams Building, and students benefit from her presence

By Olivia Cameron

Chantelle Tuffigo compares academic advising to a logic puzzle, a thought-provoking task that produces a rewarding outcome.

The tricky parts of her job, such as advising students who wait until add/drop week to register for classes, help makes her work a fulfilling practice, especially when she can sort out what they need and find the solutions to their problems.

“The challenging parts make my job interesting,” she says. She has worked in the English department since the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester.

Her time as an academic advisor allows her to guide students toward the direction they want to move through. The meetings she has with academic advisors in other departments allow her to stay aware of the information she wouldn’t get anywhere else, she says, giving her a special connection to advising at Florida State University.

“I really do love my job,” Tuffigo says, adding she can follow college experiences other than her own. Tuffigo is currently completing her own graduate degree in international affairs.

Tuffigo grew up in South Carolina and graduated from the College of Charleston in 2016 as a double major in both French and sociology. After graduating college, she spent two weeks in Greece as a volunteer with the Earth, Sea, & Sky Conservation, studying sustainability and educating tourists on environmental dangers that sea turtles experience in Zakynthos, chasing her passion of travel and learning about her charismatic side.

As the daughter of South African parents, she is a first-generation American, but as a frequent traveler, she has expanded her world experience by studying in and visiting places such as Australia, New Zealand, and France. She knew she wanted to find work similar to the Peace Corps, and landed a job in Vietnam teaching English as a second language lessons for students aged 3 to 12.

Teaching in Vietnam proved to be exactly the experience she was looking for in her first job after college, Tuffigo says.

“Even though the challenges seemed never-ending somedays, the bond with my students and coworkers, and the excitement of learning to navigate a new country and culture contributed to a fulfilling experience,” she says.

When it was time to come back to the U.S., she agreed to move to wherever her husband found a job, which turned to be Tallahassee. Despite her enjoyment of travel adventures, Tuffigo was at first not that excited to move to Tallahassee, and she planned to move again within a year.

Nevertheless, Tuffigo decided to take a chance with an advising career, despite almost not applying in fear that she wasn’t qualified enough. Advising First hired her, however, and gave her the position knowing she was capable of making sure students are reaching their highest potential. Her advising job at FSU has become a part of her now, convincing her and her husband to buy a house in Tallahassee. The city’s landscape offers her another reason to appreciate her surroundings.

“The beautiful parks and challenging hills in Tallahassee have now become a permanent addition to my longtime love of running,” she says.

Tuffigo enjoys a good challenge, whether on the trail or in her advising office, but the results validate her efforts. And if she isn’t feeling her best at work, Tuffigo she opens the “Nice Emails” folder she keeps on her computer.

“Whenever I am sent a nice email, I keep it,” Tuffigo says about reminiscing on the kind words of others whenever she encounters her own barriers.

Those connections Tuffigo shares with anyone she encounters are important to her, and when she returns to her advising job, she helps students find “what they want to do when they grow up.”

“You don’t know your dream job until you have it,” Tuffigo says.

Her walk-in office hours are Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Olivia Cameron is a senior who is majoring in English, with a concentration in editing, writing, and media.