Featured Alumni - Kelly Slaton
May 14, 2018
Tell us about your experiences/involvement in University Housing. I worked as a Resident Assistant in Brumby Hall from 2007-2009 after living there my freshman year, and I worked in Rooker Hall as a Village Community Assistant (a position that no longer exists) during my senior year from 2009-2010.
What is your fondest memory about your time in University Housing? Some of my closest friends –two former RAs who were bridesmaids in my wedding—were people I met through University Housing. The people who work for University Housing have always been phenomenal, and I think they positively impact and enhance the experiences that students have during their time at UGA.
What is your current occupation and how did your experiences in University Housing contribute to your success? I am currently a research analyst in the Office of Institutional Research at UGA. During my time working for University Housing I never dreamed that I would work for a university, but much of what I learned from University Housing – time management, accountability, being a part of a team – made working for a university a great fit for me. As a research analyst, I assist with data collection, analysis, visualization and reporting for UGA and ultimately help provide data-driven decision support to the UGA administration.
What did you like most about where you lived and/or worked in University Housing? The thing I liked most about living and working in University Housing was the endless array of resources. I appreciated having advising in the residence halls when I lived in Brumby, there were constant activities and ways to stay involved on campus, and more than anything I enjoyed being surrounded by people.
Featured Alumni - Naomi Keitt
October 05, 2016
Digital and Broadcast Journalism (ABJ) 2013
I currently work as an anchor and reporter for FOX23 News in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Before that I worked as a reporter for a TV station in Columbus, Georgia. During my time at the University of Georgia, I held a number of positions in University Housing. I started as a member of RHS (Residence Hall Studios) my freshman year of college. I loved that housing gave me the opportunity to learn more about broadcasting and news. It also introduced me to a number of really great people. During my sophomore years on college, I had the opportunity to serve as a desk assistant in the Reed Community. My junior and senior years I served as a Resident Assistant in 1516. This was by far my favorite experience in University Housing.
When I look back at how working with University Housing contributed to my current success I would say it was interviewing for the jobs listed above. I was able to credit a lot of the skills valuable to my life of work to my time in University Housing. As a Resident Assistant, I learned time management, how to make people comfortable, and how to put myself out there and be able to be ok in uncomfortable situations. It taught me responsibility, hard work, and how to get along with new people. I loved the chance I got to interact with residents and get to know people I normally would not interact with. All of these skills are vital to my broadcasting career.
Most importantly I gained several great friends, who I still hang out with this day. We all have a special bond because housing brought us together. I remember our staff meetings the most. Both years as a Resident Assistant I worked with an amazing group of people. It was like a family reunion every time we got together for a staff meeting. We all had very busy schedules so it was really nice to take a few hours to talk about work…but mostly catch up on each other’s lives.
As a Resident Assistant I learned how to be a leader, how to plan programs, how to deal with conflict. I am so glad that I found University Housing my freshman year, and was able to get so involved throughout my college career.
Featured Alumni - Deb Luckadoo
August 04, 2016
I arrived in Athens to be the residence life coordinator (RLC) at Brumby Hall in the summer of 1979, after I had completed my master’s degree at Kansas State University, where I had been a graduate hall director (one year overlapped with Chuck Werring, who served in a nearby hall.) K-State had just finished hosting the national NACURH conference, which I advised. Chuck and Craig Ullom were national advisors at the time, so when they learned that I was unemployed, they recommended me for an interview at UGA and I came to work with Bob Huss. The other two new RLCs who started when I did (Kathy Gadd and Deb Jackson) and I became fast friends. In addition to being RLC at Brumby, I was co-advisor to the Residence Hall Association (RHA). Many long van rides to residence hall conferences lay ahead of me! I believe I may still have the record with the most regional (MACURH, SAACURH, and SWACURH) and national conference experiences!
During my time as RLC, I learned much about facility management, staff training and development and programming for 1000 mostly freshmen women, the majority of whom had pledged sororities prior to school starting. I had great graduate assistants (Graduate Residents), in particular Nancy Thompson, Kim Suellau and Kathy Alday. I wish I had kept up with all of the GRs I had; they were wonderful women.
In my third year at Brumby, Tim Luckadoo showed up to start his doctoral program and be a GR in Russell. Sparks flew. By the end of the academic year, I had decided to begin a doctoral program full-time and left Brumby to be the housing judicial liaison, a graduate assistantship, working with the Office of Judicial Programs, where I had the honor and privilege to work with the legendary Jenny Penney Oliver (UGA’s first African-American graduate). I moved to the Creswell guest apartment, where the entrance looked like a ground floor entrance to the building—I had to be sure to keep my door latched and locked so students wouldn’t wander in!
Tim and I married in Athens in December, 1982 (he had taken a final exam the previous afternoon) and I moved into Russell Hall. I would bet I am one of few people who has lived in Brumby, Russell and Creswell! I also was hired to be the conference coordinator for the next two summers, working with Jerry Studdard, Marcy Ullom and student worker Andy Brantley.
In addition to my work in housing, I was active in the division-wide effort to address diversity via the committee on minority affairs. Jenny Oliver was a driving force on the committee. Empowered by the associate vice president, the late Bill Mendenhall, we created the vision for a new department, what was called then the Department of Minority Affairs. Vice President Dwight Douglas provided the funding and Vanessa Williams was hired from housing to be the first director.
Meanwhile, my doctoral studies progressed and Tim was promoted to residence life coordinator of Russell Hall, so we moved downstairs to the big apartment. I had done an internship in the Office for Instructional Development, at the conclusion of which they offered me a continuing half-time position. So, I no longer worked for housing, but I was still a resident! Our last year in Athens (85-86) was a big one—our daughter Kate was born and I finished my dissertation and graduated in June, 1986. Tim had been contacted by Bob Huss to interview for a job at Oklahoma State University, which he got. I was delighted when Bob offered me a position as the Residence Hall Association advisor half-time, so I could balance raising our daughters (Maggie was born in Stillwater in 1988) with work as a student affairs professional—an ideal situation.
Featured Alumni - Jane Lee
August 03, 2016
Currently I am serving 27 months as a United States Peace Corps HIV/AIDS health volunteer in South Africa. I live and work in the Valley of 1,000 Hills in KwaZulu Natal and implement sustainable projects that address the HIV/AIDS epidemic through reduction of HIV infection, stigma, and discrimination and focus on HIV/AIDS prevention, care, community outreach, education, poverty alleviation, and income-generating activities.
From 2005-2014, I lived in Athens in several different University Housing communities. That is a decade and almost one-third of my life! There are so many aspects of my University Housing experience that contribute to how I live and see the world today and, quite frankly, I could write a series of books attributed to this topic.
University Housing was my home away from home and the staff and residents became my family. This quote by author and scholar Miriam Adeney speaks directly to my heart: “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”
It takes time and effort to integrate into a new community. As a former resident and staff member, I have experienced this for myself, as well as supported others who faced self-doubt, homesickness, and culture shock. My time at University Housing has taught me priceless information, skills, and lessons that have prepared me to embrace one of my most challenging transitions yet! I have come full circle and last year I became a resident again in a brand new community.
My first year in South Africa was a roller-coaster ride. Although many people were so welcoming and helped me adapt to the different communities I belong to, for a while I couldn’t truly find my place and I was uncomfortable in some environments and situations. I would think about what my life could have been like if I had chosen a different path, just as I did when I came across a trying time while being a University Housing resident, student leader and staff.
Instead, by my own choice, I was uprooted and planted in a new community where I was challenged every day. A lot. Despite the unknown ahead, I decided to “grow where I was planted.” So I grew.
I settled my roots first by making a routine. I started to spend time with my in-country host family every evening—even if I didn’t feel like it. I recall similar experiences back when I was a resident assistant when I made the commitment to spend my free time with residents to better understand them. I attended a wide range of clubs and events that brought passion to their lives and from those interactions friendships began to form. Before I knew it, my residents became so much more to me; and just like that my life in South Africa began to blossom and my village, work site and shopping town became home. Yes, a huge piece of my heart has been left in America, but as I continue to build relationships and explore my new communities, now a piece of me belongs to South Africa and its people. I’ll never be fully at home, no matter where I am, for the rest of my life, but I’ve learned I can be fully in love, if I choose to call a place home.
In the past ten years, I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned more than I can articulate. The funny thing is that I “knew” most of these lessons before I left for college, accepted my first professional job and was sworn in as Peace Corps volunteer—the only difference now is that I know them with a clarity that I had never expected. My understanding of the world is still far off in the distance, but my understanding of my world is growing clearer than ever. I’m grateful for my first year in the beautiful, complex, and mind-boggling South Africa and I am forever appreciative of the amazing experiences I had with my University Housing family. Every person I encountered taught me more than I can ever thank and fathom. Dig in your roots, and you shall grow.