Alumna Spotight: Paula Novacki, `14
Ever wondered what life after graduation will look like? Meet Paula Novacki!
If you’re interested in becoming involved in an affinity council upon graduation or if you have a passion for the field of health promotion, you’re going to want to keep reading!
Meet Sedric Warren. Sedric is a 2012 University of South Carolina graduate and Chair of My Carolina’s Black Alumni Council. In addition to his role as Program Coordinator for the Center for Public Health Practice at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, he is the founder of an emerging nonprofit!
Upon graduation, Sedric worked for the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control HIV Division and completed his Master’s in Public Health Management and Policy. After four and a half years, he took a leap of faith and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana before finding a job. When he moved, he was welcomed by fellow Indianapolis Gamecocks. Shortly after his move, Sedric was offered a job with the Center for Public Health Practice. Regarding his job search, Sedric said, “I was looking for a chance to be creative, implement new ideas and programs and continue to mentor the next generation of public health students.” He is currently the Program Coordinator for the Center for Public Health Practice at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health where he is responsible for “the development of student and community-based programs surrounding experiential learning, workforce development, organizational development and evidence-based practice within the Center for Public Health Practice.”
While working in Indianapolis, Sedric decided to start a nonprofit organization based in Columbia, SC. His organization, Palmetto P.R.I.D.E. Sports, seeks to remove cost barriers of club and travel sports with low minority representation, such as baseball, softball, volleyball, lacrosse, tennis and soccer. P.R.I.D.E. stands for Perseverance, Responsibility, Integrity, Determination and Excellence. These are the five values that were instilled in Sedric growing up and what he believes are the keys to success. The organization is geared towards minority youth who can receive funding for their sports through grants, personal fundraising and foundational fundraising. Palmetto P.R.I.D.E. will launch this summer!
During his time at South Carolina, Sedric was very involved in the Theta Nu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. He was initiated in spring 2009 and served as the Special Events Co-Chair from 2009 – 2010 and the Membership Intake Coordinator from 2011 – 2012. Through his student involvement, Sedric learned the importance of community service. When asked how his time at South Carolina affected his life, Sedric said, “Through my studies and interactions with other students, I was able to experience people from various backgrounds at Carolina and that allowed me to develop a greater point of view of not only the people in our state but our country. I came to realize that finding a way to serve others and improve their lives was something I was passionate about.”
His student involvement and passion for service led Sedric to pursue the field of public health and also sparked his interest in becoming involved in My Carolina Alumni Association’s Black Alumni Council. With the encouragement of some friends involved in BAC, Sedric joined the council in 2016 and was elected chair in July 2018. When describing his student to alumni transition, Sedric said, “I think looking back on my experience as a student made me want to join BAC so that I could help make the Carolina I knew even better for those who came after me. It’s important to me to have an impact on the places and things I’m a part of. I could think of no greater way than being a part of BAC.”
If you’re in a time of transition and don’t know what is next for you, remember Sedric’s advice, “Don’t be afraid to pursue your passions. If you have ideas, pursue them whether they succeed or fail. Will Smith said, ‘It’s amazing what God has for us on the other side of fear.’ We all have a purpose in this world and it’s up to us to identify it.”
My Carolina encourages alumni to stay involved, just as Sedric has done. There are many ways to stay engaged, including joining an affinity council, such as the Black Alumni Council, joining your local alumni club or becoming a social media ambassador.
Student for a short time, Gamecock for a lifetime. Forever to thee.