Alumna Spotight: Paula Novacki, `14
Ever wondered what life after graduation will look like? Meet Paula Novacki!
Jared Evans is an alumnus of the University of South Carolina and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Entertainment Management and in 2017 with a Master of Business Administration. During his time at South Carolina, Jared was a student veteran where he found the transition from active duty status to a full-time student a significant and somewhat difficult transition.
“I lived 20 minutes away from campus, treated academics like a job, and when I enrolled in 2009, the Student Veterans Association hadn’t been formed, so there weren’t too many student organizations or opportunities for older non-traditional students to engage with other students.”
Since graduating in 2017, Jared now lives in Irmo, South Carolina where he is currently the Director of Military Engagement & Veteran Initiatives at the University of South Carolina.
“My journey to this role is very interesting and comprised of amazing support, timing, and good fortune. I was interning in Athletics during Spring 2012 and was on the waitlist for UofSC Law School. Eric Hyman, then-current AD, accepted a position at Texas A&M, which resulted in Ray Tanner becoming our new AD, and during all of this transition, I found out I wasn’t accepted into Law School. This rejection ended up being a tremendous blessing.”
Ray Tanner created a position for Jared for him to serve as Legal Liaison for Athletics and spent six and a half years working in that capacity.
“During that time, I became the University Advisor for the Student Veterans Association, and I was fortunate to be a part of the original five veteran alumni who founded My Carolina Alumni Association’s Veterans Alumni Council, which I resided as Chair of during our first two years as a group.”
It was through engaging and interacting with current student veterans and speaking with our veteran alumni, that Jared realized there was no one on campus overseeing a larger university-wide strategy, aimed at supporting and attracting more military-affiliated students. This revelation, along with unbelievable support from specific leaders on campus and in the community, allowed Jared the opportunity to present a business plan to University leadership, explaining the value-ad and reasoning for what this department would benefit the University. This occurred on Veterans Day 2017, and in August of 2018, Jared transitioned out of his role with Athletics, into his current role with the University, in which he supports and oversees all veteran and military initiatives.
In addition, Jared is involved with the Veterans Alumni Council as the University liaison and spends a significant amount of time with that organization.
“We’re still very young, created in 2016, so there is a lot of work as the group continues to refine our mission and ways to engage our military-affiliated students and alumni.”
During his time and involvement at South Carolina, Jared made connections that significantly impacted his current life and career in every way imaginable.
“From professional development, work experience, cultivating relationships. The list goes on, but at the end of the day, I consider myself blessed to have the opportunity to combine my passion for UofSC with my passion for the veteran and military community. Waking up every day with the mission of Serving Those Who Serve on behalf of UofSC is something I don’t take for granted.”
As an alumnus of the University of South Carolina, Jared has three pieces of advice for current students.
1.“You’re the sum of the people you surround yourself with. This is true personally and professionally. Nothing I’ve accomplished would have happened if I hadn’t been surrounded by some truly amazing and supportive individuals.”
2.“Learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Push yourself outside your comfort zone – it’s the only way you can grow.”
3.“Don’t allow the fear of failure to prevent you from doing something great. So many people never reach their full potential, because they’re afraid they’ll fail or an idea they have will be rejected. Don’t succumb to that mindset. You learn so much about yourself from failure, so don’t let the fear of it control how you think or operate.”