Preparing for a Career in Higher Education

Kari Foley uses skills learned in the classroom to plan events, help with budgeting, and work with clients.


Photo: Daylina Miller | USF News


By Daylina Miller

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 12, 2012)   If you’ve ever seen a wedding, banquet or summer camp activities happening on the University of South Florida campus in the last year, student Kari Foley was probably behind the planning of it.


Foley, a graduate assistant for Conferencing and Special Events within USF Student Affairs, puts to practical use the knowledge she gains from her higher education coursework.


“What I'm going to be doing when I graduate is working on a campus somewhere so in this program, we are taking everything we learn in classrooms and we are applying it to our assistantships,” Foley said. “It's beneficial for me to be working on campus because it's what I'm learning to do in my classes.”


Foley said she worked off campus when she was an undergraduate and had no idea what activities she was missing out on by spending so much time away from USF.


“There are things going on every single day and you don't even realize it,” Foley said. “Bull Market, Patio Tuesdays. Those events are really fun and it's a great way to meet a lot of people. I'm here working 20 hours a week and here for all my classes so I see so much more that's going on. I have a fun time. I love my job.”


In her assistantship, Foley helps plan any conferences that fall outside of the responsibility of student organizations. Her department helps bring in revenue and generate business for USF and for Student Affairs programming.


“In my position, I do room set up for whatever the event might be and communicate with the client on their needs and wants,” Foley said. “We are trying to be a one-stop shop here. For summer camps, we mediate with housing and dining for camp beds and food, as well as campus recreation for facility rental.”


In addition to learning and practicing real-world skills for a future career in higher education, Foley said she has more access to resources and networking opportunities.


“I like working on campus,” Foley said. “My supervisor is so flexible because she knows I'm going to school still. If I had a job off campus, they probably wouldn’t be so understanding of working around my class time.”


Foley said the assistantship pays for graduate school expenses and gives her living expense money by paying her an hourly wage.


“It’s awesome because I don't know that I could do it without it,” Foley said. “Grad school is very expensive.”


Daylina Miller can be reached at 813-500-8754.