Meet Our Team
We're ready to talk with you about your plans for an exciting future. Drop us a line
or set up a time to visit.
John Gerdes, PhD, Faculty Director
John is an innovator, educator and researcher with very diverse interests. With degrees
in engineering, business, computer science, and information technology, he worked
15 years in industry followed by 25 years in academics and holds two U.S. patents.
He teaches information technology, which deals with the application of technology
to address real-world business problems. Outside of the classroom, John served as
the founding Faculty Advisor for the Gamecock Disc Golf Club, enjoys chess and woodworking.
Having worked closely with undergraduate students for over 25 year he is excited to
help Rhodos Fellows achieve their goals.
Shana Watson, Program Lead
Shana Watson, Assistant Principal
A South Carolina native, Shana is no stranger to the university or Columbia area.
Shana received her B.A.in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina
and taught first grade in Title One schools in Orangeburg and Richland districts.
In 2018, She received her M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration at Columbia College
and began working for the university as an advisor and internship coordinator for
Library Information Science graduate students. She is currently pursuing her Ed.D.
in Educational Practice and Innovation, here at USC.
As assistant principal, Shana is responsible for the development of activities and
events for the Rhodos Fellows community. She collaborates with different departments
and organizations to provide opportunities for student engagement on campus. She also
distributes information about university resources to students, so students can achieve
their academic and personal goals.
Shana still teaches today! Throughout the academic year, you can find her teaching
University 101, Children’s Literature, and Storytelling courses. Outside of work,
Shana enjoys true crime documentaries, reading, and painting with her 2-year-old daughter.
She also believes in an open-door policy, so feel free to drop by, say hi and ask