How were you involved with SGA?
I served on SGA Executive Committee as the student trustee from 2010-2011. Over the course of my undergraduate career, I also served on the Academic Affairs and Government Affairs Committees. Oh, and election commission! How could I almost forget that one?!
What was your favorite part about being in SGA?
Hands down: the friendships and network SGA helped me build. Years later, I still stay in touch with so many of my SGA peers. Some I work with in a professional capacity; others I get to visit with on football weekends and take trips down memory lane.
Favorite SGA memory AND Most rewarding part?
While I was on Government Affairs, we coordinated a major advocacy campaign supporting the use of HOPE Lottery Scholarships for summer school. We worked so hard on that campaign, and ultimately, I believe that it made a positive difference for students. And now, years later and thanks to the state legislature, students have more flexibility to use their scholarships in ways that can speed up the path to graduation day.
What do you miss the most about being in SGA?
We had a great Executive Committee and our meetings were always so much fun (mostly thanks to the one and only Avery G. Howard!). I probably miss that camaraderie the most.
If you could change or enhance one aspect of campus, what would it be–why?
I’m a big believer in professional experience opportunities for students—internships, fellowships, etc. In my opinion, those experiences often make the difference in new graduates landing that first “big” job. I’d like to see UT place greater emphasis on connecting students with these opportunities and working with employers in the region to create internship programs specifically for UT students. We put a great deal of work into our study abroad programs—and rightly so! I’d like to see similar energy put into our internship pipelines to give our students even more of a competitive advantage as they enter the workforce.
How was SGA beneficial to your post-graduation professional success?
I still draw on the network that I built in SGA and the lessons I learned through my involvement. Being involved with the Government Affairs committee kept me close to Tennessee’s state political landscape and really shaped my interests in advocating for the University professionally. And of course now, as a member of UT’s Government Relations staff, you can see how those lessons paid off!
Anything else you want us to know?
Reach out to SGA alums every now and then! So many of us are happy to serve as mentors and an extended network.