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College of Education

Students and Alumni

Why Higher Education and Student Affairs at the University of South Carolina? Hear from our current students and alumni on what makes the HESA program so special. To contact one of our current students with questions, please click on their names to send an email.

Student Profiles

Raechel L. Blakeney

Raechel L. Blakeney

Hometown: Columbia, SC 

Current track: Higher Education Administration

Current Employment: Student Services Coordinator for the College of Education Gamecock EdQuarters


Born and raised in Columbia, SC by an educator, it is a joy to be earning my master’s degree here at the University of South Carolina. As an alumna of the University of South Carolina Beaufort, where I studied Psychology and Anthropology, I have been in the USC system for many years. I became passionate about Higher Education and Student Affairs during my undergraduate program when I was shown how much of a difference the campus community can make in a student’s life. I want to help students discover their powerful futures. 

As a current practitioner of Student Affairs, I most love that I can connect everything I am learning in the HESA program to my work and grow as a professional. I also appreciate the ability to come together with other Student Affairs Professionals and budding professionals to share experiences and perspectives. 

Tyler Parker

Tyler Parker

Hometown: Raleigh, NC

Current track: Student Affairs Administration

Current assistantship: Graduate Assistant in the Office of New Student Orientation


Ever since I put on my first polo and pair of khakis to welcome new students as an orientation leader, I knew that higher education was the path for me. As a student leader at East Carolina University, I was exposed to incredible professionals that challenged me, encouraged me, and at the end of the day were the ones most excited for my successes. After visiting USC for the Graduate Assistantship Recruitment Process (GARP) weekend, I instantly felt at home here in Columbia. I knew that USC would give me the best space to focus on the skills it took to reach my goals in higher education, and for me to become like the professionals I have admired so much. This program has everything I needed and more; there are countless opportunities for professional and personal development along with an amazingly talented faculty and staff that are there to cheer you on every step of the way. I feel lucky to call myself a Gamecock and to continue the deep traditions of service, innovation, and pride here at USC. Spurs up!

Diana Serhal

Diana Serhal 

Hometown: Veszprem, Hungary

Current track: Higher Education Administration

Current Assistantship : Graduate Assistant for the Anne Frank Center


I am originally from Hungary. Studied there to become a journalist, writer and a screenplay-writer but then after reading the Diary of Anne Frank, my life went on another direction. I started working for the Educational Department of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and after being there for years, I came to the U.S. to continue my educational work for its partner in the country, the Anne Frank Center, and to get a diploma in the field of Higher Education.


Alumni Profiles

Sara Furr, Ph.D.

Sara Furr, Ph.D.

Graduating year: 2004

Current Position: Dean of Students, Diversity, & Inclusion, School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago

The HESA program gave me a strong foundation of putting theory to practice that has informed my entire professional career.  Additionally, I’m thankful for the personal and professional relationships I made that created a strong network in the field.  It is not uncommon to meet Carolina HESA alum at every institution I visit. 

Patricia Whitely, Ph.D.

Patricia A. Whitely, Ph.D.

Graduating year: 1982

Current Position: Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Miami

I received a terrific background at USC/HESA. The academic work and the assistantships built a solid foundation for my Student Affairs career.  I could not have asked for a better experience.

Caleb E. Morris

Caleb E. Morris

Graduating year: 2019

Current position: Exploratory Advisor and Instructor (UNIV 101 and UNIV 401) at the University of South Carolina

The University of South Carolina is committed to providing a holistic, engaging, and purposeful experience for students, both within and beyond the classroom. In addition to #1 ranked academic programs such as International Business and University 101, USC is a frontrunner in experiential learning, through innovative programs such as Graduation with Leadership Distinction (GLD) and My USC Experience. In HESA, I was able to get first-hand experience with many of these nationally recognized initiatives through internships and practica, which greatly enhanced my employability, and gave me many stories to share in interviews. USC is a fine institution, and HESA is a fantastic program, and I am so thankful to count myself among the expansive network of Gamecock alumni. Go Cocks!

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