Meet our Graduate Assistants
Why did you choose a graduate assistantship within University Housing?
I chose being an RD because of all the opportunities that I could get from having the position. I felt that I would be a more viable candidate for future full-time jobs with the experiences that I was able to get from University Housing, and this job was able to give me the chance to really pursue my passion for housing and residence life. - Jacob Sparks former RD
I chose NC State because of how welcomed I felt in the community. Even during the interview weekend, I could sense how close the other RDs and professional staff were. It is a community of supportive individuals who truly are devoted to their students' well-being and development. Being an RD at State provides you the opportunity and resources to effect change in the lives of students. - Garrett Sims
I chose NC State because of how great the Residence Director position is. I knew I wanted an assistantship where I could get the most experience possible. Compensation was also really important to me, I wanted to work for a department that really values their graduate students and demonstrates that. - Diana Bacallao former RD
I chose NC State and being an RD because, as a counselor education student, the idea of engaging with residents in a more personal way than you can as a counselor was exciting to me. I transitioned to the GA position because I wanted to diversify my experiences and contribute to the resident population within an evidence-based framework. After serving in both positions, I can honestly say that both have made me grow in ways I did not know were possible when entering graduate school! - Courtney Wade
In what ways have you applied what you learn in your graduate classes to your role within University Housing?
Using the theories we have learned, I have been able to apply the conversations I have with my staff and residents in the building. It's fascinating to learn about all the stages of different theories and see where my staff might be, and how that can help me adapt professional development opportunities to help them be challenged and supported appropriately! I also get to utilize large-scale projects and see what my department might find useful and how I can appropriately advocate for change in the department in a way that shows that it is worthwhile and also beneficial to help us all grow! - Jacob Sparks former RD
I take a lot of what I have learned in the classroom to my assistantship. With my counseling courses, I have been better prepared to help students in crisis and have those difficult dialogues surrounding mental health that affect college aged students. With my electives in the Higher Education program, I have learned much more about how the field operates and how to be an effective administrator which has helped me become more successful in my role. - Tommy Peterson
Having the RD position, I can pretty much speak to a lot of theories that we learn in the classroom and think about the practicality of implementing a lot of models that we learn about. Many times I felt like what I was learning in our courses, allowed me to reflect on how I handled certain situations with my staff or residents. Since we live where we work, the classroom really allows for me to take a step back and make sure that I am being intentional about our ideas. - Brenda Escutia former RD
As an RD, I have the opportunity to directly impact student development which gives me the opportunity to apply what I see in my students during class and vice versa. I am also equipped to lead and facilitate discussions about social justice through the enlightening and informative discussions in all of my classes. I am learning how to effectively plan programs to support students and their various identities. - Alexis Thornton
What do you love about living in Raleigh?
Raleigh is the kind of place that provides the opportunities of a city and the community of a town. I have been able to develop meaningful friendships and relationships outside of NC State that have helped me grow personally while also learning and developing academically and professionally. In addition, the number of universities in the area has been outstanding for my professional development as I explore what types of institutions I may be able to work at in the future. - Taylor Sprague former RD
I love living in Raleigh! It has the "small city" feel with the "big city" resources. One of my favorite aspects of the city is the music it attracts. I have been to three concerts already in the short time I have been here. Music options range from John Mayer to John Mark McMillan - there are opportunities for everyone. Between the breweries, the year-round farmer's market, and the traditional southern restaurants, Friday and Saturday nights are never dull. - Garrett Sims
What's NOT to love about Raleigh? There's a growing community of young professionals that makes it easy to always see a new face and network. Whether your interests are in the arts, outdoorsy activities, shopping, politics, or even the nightlife, there's always something or somewhere for you -- guaranteed. Plus, it doesn't hurt that the city is very dog-friendly! - Khoi Tran
I love the diverse options that exist for recreation and relaxation outside of work and class! Whether it is hiking, going to a football or basketball game, sitting by a lake, going out to a brewery - if you think of it, Raleigh probably has it! There are also opportunities to engage in arts and culture in Raleigh, such as the Contemporary Art Museum. I moved here from New England, but Raleigh made it easy to call NC State home. - Courtney Wade
How would you describe your position?
Every day is completely different and depends on the needs of the community. Sometimes, I spend hours in my office completing administrative tasks. Other days, I am bouncing around campus meeting with administrators and students. I love that no day is the same but each day provides fulfilling opportunities and lessons. - Taylor Sprague former RD
The life of an RD is never dull. There is ALWAYS something happening, it's the free food, t-shirts, mocktail parties but it is also the crisis management, alcohol violations, and difficult conversations. As RDs we really have the opportunity to make an immediate impact on students' college experiences and that is what I appreciate about my role. - Brenda Escutia former RD
I would describe the life of my role as a comfortable challenge. Each day is new and dynamic -- I'm working on new assignments, tasks, and projects all the time in different ways. Whether that be helping create a presentation for our department, co-directing a digital media campaign for RA selection, or volunteering at a program, I can say each day is different from any other while also giving me the experience in many different areas of expertise. - Khoi Tran
This position keeps me on my toes and I love it! I enjoy how everyday is potentially different, as we are meeting with different students, committees and hosting various events throughout the week. I also love how close all of the graduate students in housing are, they have truly made my transition as an out-of-state student a smooth one! - Alexis Thornton
What has your graduate assistantship taught you?
Learning how to be flexible! I value my experience because I have been able to interact with many different students, events and professionals who all have their own unique backgrounds. Being at NC State has been an amazing opportunity that has given me the skills I need to be confident as a professional and student. - Alexis Thornton
My experience has given me the ability to truly find my passion for housing and find my goals and values in higher education, and what I want to do upon graduation. It has also given me the academic and experiential skills I need to be a top contender for full-time positions as I begin the job search! - Jacob Sparks former RD
Being an RD has made me more aware of who I am not only as a professional, but also as a person. I have learned more about myself and how that relates to my peers, students, colleagues, and friends. While not a tangible outcome, the introspection and intentional/thoughtful reflection has provided me a lot of growth that makes me feel confident for when I enter into the job search. - Tommy Peterson
This experience has allowed me to expand upon skills that can be used in any job setting. You gain a multitude of experience in a variety of different areas, such as supervision, administration, advising, and many more. The experience, the professional networks, and the knowledge and skills that I have gained from this role is what I hope to take with me in whatever career I pursue in the future. - Crystal Thibodeaux
Adaptability and critical thinking. This role has taught me to roll with the punches and adapt to change in ways that I had never had to before. In addition, I have learned significant critical thinking skills due to challenges faced on duty, in programming, and in supervising my RAs that I believe will take me far in my career. - Taylor Sprague former RD
Working in University Housing gives you the opportunity to work on nearly every skill required of you in Higher Education: budget management, administrative work, student interactions, crisis management, etc. Even after the first week here, I had no doubt that I would have practical experiences to speak to during interviews and rely on in emergencies. I would not trade this job for any other!- Garrett Sims
What has this experience not given me that I will take everywhere in the future? Everything I have learned in both positions was a growing experience for me this past year and a half. I am lucky in that the supervisors I have worked with have pushed me to reflect on each experience, which has allowed me to integrate personal meaning into every experience. - Courtney Wade