Faces of Vanderbilt Engineering: Lana Hefner, academic and educational support program coordinator

Lana Hefner is an academic and educational support program coordinator in the School of Engineering’s Office of Academic Services. In this role she oversees student success programming and undergraduate engineering events. Here’s what Lana has to say about that position, and more.


“Some of the programs I coordinate include STEM Tutoring, Supporting Women in Engineering Leadership, Summer Book Club, and the Fall Early Start Transition (FEST) I V A L. Particularly with FEST, which is run by Julie Vernon (associate dean for academic success), I oversee the preparations and operations of the program. That includes recruitment, housing, dining, events, transportation, and the day-to-day care for the students. I also do part of the professional development element of the program with Julie, as well as oversee the student workers.”


“As soon as my husband (Josh) and I decided in 2018 we were moving to Nashville, I started looking for jobs at Vanderbilt because I really wanted to work here. Vanderbilt has a great reputation. I got a job as a program assistant, then moved to my current position about three years later. I’m very grateful that I found a job in Academic Services because I work with an excellent team. I feel like I’ve found a home here. And there’s a lot of opportunities outside of work in the Vanderbilt community, like the employee affinity group, Women and Working Moms, where I’m a group leader.”


“I would say supporting the students and having the opportunity to get to know them. I feel fortunate to be a part of this special and formative time in their lives. I had some challenges during undergrad, so I feel like I can relate to the students and have empathy for the struggles they may have. And it’s gratifying to hear their responses and know that I’m helping them in some way. For instance, in STEM tutoring, having students tell me that it’s helped them. And then with the tutors, hear them say that they enjoyed helping the other students. Another part of the job I enjoy is working with my colleagues. They’re the best in the business.”


“When I’m not at work, I enjoy reading, traveling, and spending time with my family. I’m from Louisiana, so my family and I are big Saints fans, and we watch all their games. We’ve also started going to the Nashville SC games. Additionally, I enjoy cooking and sharing my Louisiana culture with others, especially Cajun food.”


Explore Story Topics