Department of Biological Sciences Professional Academic Advisors

Every undergraduate in the Department of Biological Sciences is assigned to an academic advisor. Our advising team consists of five primary-role advisors and more than a dozen faculty members who advise in addition to their teaching, mentoring and research activities. The mission of our advising program is to guide and empower undergraduate students so that they can be best equipped to thrive in their majors and in their lives as undergraduate students.

Our advising program is designed to challenge and enable you to:

  • Learn about the curricula requirements for your major and take ownership of completing your degree.
  • Find and use resources for career exploration and preparation congruent with your interests, strengths, and values. 
  • Identify and use appropriate campus resources for social, emotional, academic and other support.
  • Navigate and learn to use information about NC State academic policies, rules and regulations.
  • Value and pursue enrichment opportunities beyond the traditional classroom.


Follow our Advising Team’s blog for updates, tips, and information: The BioAdvisor

Meet our Team: 

Dana Thomas, MS, MA (she/her)
Coordinator of Advising
Bostian Hall 2707

Dana Thomas has served as an academic advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences since September 2014 and as Coordinator of Advising since May 2020.  As an advisor, she is committed to guiding, supporting, encouraging, and advocating for students as they navigate their intellectual and professional development as biologists.  She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Vassar College and briefly worked for the National Park Service before obtaining master’s degrees in ecology and evolutionary biology and education from the University of Michigan.  Over the years, Dana’s research interests have evolved from plant-soil interactions and global change ecology to diversity, inclusion, and equity in post-secondary STEM education.  In August 2017, she began pursuing her PhD part time in Educational Leadership, Policy and Human Development: Higher Education at NC State.  In addition to her advising, administrative, and research endeavors, Dana assists external Biological Sciences transfer students in their transition to the university by teaching an orientation course, co-managing a peer mentor program, and collaborating with campus and community partners to improve the transfer experience.  She is also invested in connecting students with undergraduate research opportunities.

Specialties: Current and prospective transfer students, CODA, undergraduate research, ecology, evolution, and conservation biology, zoology, diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM

Fun Fact: Dana grew up on a horse farm in Northern Virginia and she enjoys spending as much time outside as possible.  For the past 20 years, she’s been section hiking the Appalachian Trail with her mom.  They might actually finish it fairly soon!

Dennis Eastwood (he/him)
Bostian Hall 2710

Dennis started at NC State in 2010 as a student in the College of Natural Resources seeking a Sports Management degree. During his sophomore year he began working for the NC State Football team as a student manager, helping with set-up and running practice, assisting coaches on game days, etc. He also interned for a summer within the recruiting office, and multiple summers for the team-sponsored summer camps. During these experiences, he found he wanted to work in college athletics and decided to continue school and develop the language and relationship-development skills necessary to make this happen. He then applied and was accepted into the College Counseling program within NCSU’s College of Education. After completing this degree, he came aboard as a professional advisor with Biological Sciences.

Fun Fact: Dennis has been to and worked in over 20 Football stadiums, including each one in the ACC, as well as two bowl games that no longer exist.

Becky Hackney (she/her)
Bostian Hall 2715

Becky has served as an academic advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences since October 2020. As an advisor, she is committed to guiding, supporting, and empowering students as they discover and pursue their lifelong educational and professional goals. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Elon University in 2014. After a year of National Community Service with City Year Americorps in Washington DC, she pursued a career in service learning and higher education administration. She earned her master’s of education in higher education administration from NC State University in 2019. Becky is devoted to diversity, inclusion, and equity in action, facilitating student leadership and civic engagement, and exploring interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Vanessa Bak (she/her)
Bostian Hall 2711

Vanessa started as an Academic Advisor in Biological Sciences in September of 2020. When it comes to advising, Vanessa is committed to holistic student development and focused on how to help students self-author their college education and experience. Born and raised on Long Island, New York, she received her B.A. in Speech Language and Hearing Sciences from the University of Connecticut and then her M.Ed in College Student Personnel from Ohio University. During her graduate studies she focused her seminar paper on time perception and how to reframe time management for the modern college student. Currently, Vanessa serves on the Advising Assessment Committee and hopes to get more involved at State in the future.

Specialties: Human Biology concentration, pre-health advising

Fun Fact: Growing up 45 minutes outside of New York City, Vanessa had great exposure to Broadway and has seen over 45 shows (some of them more than once!). She is an avid reader and podcast listener, so if you are in need of suggestions she is your woman.

Megan Codallo (she/her)
Bostian Hall 2714

Megan is a new advisor for the Department of Biological Sciences. As an advisor she is committed to guiding, supporting, encouraging, and advocating for students as they navigate their intellectual and professional development as biologists. She received her bachelor’s degree from North Carolina State University in Agricultural Science and her Master’s degree from NC State in Agriculture and Extension Education.

Specialties: recruitment, student retention and success

Fun Fact: Megan is from Miami, Florida and visits frequently for the delicious food!

Don't have an advisor but have questions? We can help.