Alumna Spotight: Paula Novacki, `14
Ever wondered what life after graduation will look like? Meet Paula Novacki!
Graduating from the University of South Carolina and living out-of-state has not stopped Taylor Cain, ’11, ’13 M.Ed., from being a Gamecock leader. Cain is the current chair of the alumni association’s Young Alumni Council and for her, this leadership position is a perfect fit.
“I was drawn to the opportunity to give back not just financially but with my time,” Cain says. “The alumni councils are the perfect representation of My Carolina truly being by and for alumni. I dedicated much of my time as a student to involvement opportunities, so it was only natural for me to want to carry on that tradition after I graduated.”
As chair of the council, Cain has a specific roadmap to move the council forward by engaging more young alumni and easing the transition from senior to new graduate.
“I see a natural role for the council to assist seniors upon graduation into being engaged alumni through events and networking,” Cain says. “I am also advocating for a greater sense of recognition of the incredible impact our young alumni are making so quickly post-graduation. The story of the University of South Carolina is found in the success of its students and its alumni. I want to make sure we are telling that story.”
In the past year, the council has played an active role in supporting the Carolina Cares Holiday Stocking Drive, added more alumni leaders to it ranks and established a signature event, Fall Band Party. There are more opportunities on the horizon and Cain is eager to continuing engaging alumni and soon-to-be graduates.
Cain attributes where she is today, both personally and professionally, based upon her experience at South Carolina.
“It was at the university that I discovered a career in student affairs and higher education and made lifelong friends,” she says. “My eventual career path has now led me to positively impacting the experience of college students in the same way the staff, faculty and administrators at South Carolina impacted mine.”
The experiences at South Carolina moved her in the right direction, but Cain acknowledges that there is a thread of shared sentiment woven through the experiences of all students that shines brightly when they become alumni – a sentiment that embodies what it means to be a Gamecock. “Simply put, it's forever – forever to thee,” she says.
And as a Life Member in the alumni association, Cain views her membership as a continued investment in the success of South Carolina. “When a student graduates, they don't stop caring about the institution,” she says. “I've actually found that I care even more. My membership is the manifestation of that care – care for the success of not only the school but also its students.”