Students find opportunities for careers in Student Affairs at Tech

Rachel Craighead and Niya Sparks are current students at Tennessee Tech interested in future careers in student affairs.

Submitted by Tennessee Tech

COOKEVILLE – As the Office of Student Affairs at Tennessee Tech University celebrates Careers in Student Affairs Month, two current students working in the office have set their sights on a career that will allow them to continue working with students.

Degrees in communications, counseling and psychology, education, nursing, as well as others are a good basis for careers in student affairs.  

Niya Sparks is a graduate assistant for the Office of Multicultural Affairs, a division of Student Affairs. She works directly with the Reaching Achievement and Committed to Excellence program, mentor/mentee program and Women of Worth.

Sparks is currently working on her second master’s degree in counseling to go along with her bachelor’s degree in health and human performance and her first master’s degree in communications.

“My career goal is to serve as a counselor at a university. College is such an evolving time for students, and I want to be someone they can talk through it with and not feel like it’s the worst time of their life,” Sparks said. “If I don’t work at the collegiate level, I’d like to work with kids in the same capacity. We leave an impact on those around us every day, why not make it a positive one?!”

Rachel Craighead is a communications major with a minor in event planning who interns in residential life for residential education.  There she does communications, marketing and promotions, and she also works in service learning and community engagement.  

Craighead became interested in student affairs because she wanted to help people.

“I want to be able to be involved with student life to make future students’ lives more enjoyable on campus. I want them to share some of the similar experiences I have had while being on campus,” Craighead said. 

Her work with the Service Learning Center allows her to directly help other students.

“I help students find opportunities when they need help with service learning hours through their classes.” 

In the future, Craighead would like to do something in social media or event planning. 

The Division of Student Affairs at Tech provides services and programs that enhance student life, strengthen the academic experience and subscribe to an environment that motivates personal growth and development. 

Offices in the Student Affairs division at Tech include the Accessible Education Center, Counseling Center, Dean of Students, Eagle Card, Greek Life, Health Services, Multicultural Affairs and the Black Cultural Center, Recreation and Fitness, Residential Life, Roaden University Center, Student Activities, University Police and University Service Center. 

For students like Sparks and Craighead, being part of the group of professionals who focus on helping students just like them is not just a student worker assignment, but also an opportunity to begin building a career.

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