Novien Yarber

Graduate Assistant for Associated Students, MA in Higher Education Leadership
MA in Higher Education Leadership Ambassador


Atlanta, Georgia

Expected Graduation Date

Spring 2018

What do you hope to do with your degree, and why?

The particular program that I’m in within SOLES (Higher Ed/ SASC program) has a heavy focus on the student affairs practice—tons of theoretical concepts that we utilize in our current student affairs assistantships. Because my passion has always been the educational access and success of the historically underserved, I would really like to use my degree and experience in student affairs as a stepping stone to further my education and practice to eventually land me in an admissions or institutional support administrative role.

Any outside obligations (family, military, volunteer work, student organizations, etc.)?

When my study schedule permits, I love to split my time between volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, San Diego’s Foster Youth Mentoring Program, and Pancake Peeps- a ministry that serves breakfast to the homeless every weekend. When not busy with studies, work, or volunteering I spend the remainder of my time in the arts—dance to be more specific. It’s hard to balance it all, but it’s so worth it! I love making meaning of my time here at USD and not just making it about school.

Tell us about any internships, graduate assistantships, student teaching, practicum or fieldwork you have done through SOLES. Where did you work, what did you do, and how did it impact you?

While being a part of the SASC (Student Affairs SOLES Collaborative) program I have had the opportunity to serve as the graduate assistant for Associated Students. While in this role I advise and support undergraduate student leaders involved in AS. Advising in this role could vary from assisting with student initiative execution, providing a ‘safe space’ for students to reflect on the meaning of their collegiate experience, and fostering student development (i.e. leadership approach, autonomy, etc.)

Is there anything specific you would like to share with prospective students?

Don’t rush this time of your life! There’s so much to learn about the practice and yourself but you must be patient. At this point of your education you have to take ownership of your own development—you get out what you put in. It’s so easy to get distracted by the assignments or amount of work in graduate school but make sure you’re taking the time to reflect on what you’re learning through it all. This time is not just about getting the grades but about the holistic development of the student… you!