New members plan to strengthen network of graduated students
The Young Alumni Council (YAC) welcomes John C. Boykin, Thomas Crawford, Jaime Cuellar, Becca Floyd and Kevin White as the five newest executive board members. The Carolina Alumni Association's YAC is a 16-member board comprised of USC graduates under the age of 35.
Hunter Evans, the director of alumni engagement, said the alumni association can be an important tool for graduates, especially in business.
"One of my main jobs is to work with all of the clubs. I go all over the U.S. and try to get groups together for people to find connections. A lot of it is networking," she said. "They try to meet friends and further their business in ways like that."
Boykin graduated from USC in 2007 with a degree in accounting.
"I sought a position on the Young Alumni Council because with all the university has given me, from memories of athletic and social events to an outstanding education, I felt as though giving back was a must," he said.
During his time at USC, he was an active member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, president of Ducks Unlimited and involved with the Carolina-Clemson Blood Drive.
"After graduation it's all too easy to get caught up in new adventures and endeavors, and we often forget our roots," Boykin said. "However, alumni are some of the greatest assets to the university. I feel it is important to give back and create a better place for the next generation of students as past graduates did for us."
Crawford graduated in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in finance.
"I'm new to the board, so I've yet to be a part of any projects or activity, but my understanding thus far is that we will work together to provide numerous services to the alumni and current students," Crawford said.
Crawford said that plans for a fall sports preview party where the coaches speak on behalf of their teams, which the council organizes annually, are in the works. The banquet is usually held in August.
"We'll also help new students move in and get acclimated with the campus on move-in day in August," Crawford said.
During his time at USC, Crawford was in the Carolina Finance Club, Alpha Kappa Psi Business Fraternity and Kappa Alpha Order.
"I hope I can help to improve the way alumni interact with the university and each other," he said. "There already is a large alumni support system in place and it grows every year, but the more it grows the greater the possibilities are for USC."
Cuellar graduated from USC in 2009 with two bachelor's degrees in finance and global supply chain and operations management.
"I'm originally from El Salvador, and I came here as a recruit for the tennis team. I played my four years and I had a full scholarship, and I just felt the school gave me so much," he said. "If there was any way possible that I could stay in touch and give back, you know ... I'll do anything in my power to help in any way."
Along with playing tennis, Cuellar participated on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He said he hopes that the council will be able to utilize technology to foster alumni relations across the nation.
"An increasing percentage of young graduates — of graduates — are under the age 35, and there's so much technology and things to stay in touch, but making sure that somebody is actually doing it is key," Cuellar said. "Sometimes everybody leaves it to somebody else and nothing gets done ... I think with the help of everybody we'll accomplish something — get the word out and facilitate things to students who are not even in the state."
Floyd graduated from USC in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in elementary education.
"I joined the Young Alumni Council because of my experience at Carolina," she said. "I was involved in numerous organizations while in school including working as a Student Life intern."
Floyd also was a member of Gamma Phi Beta Sorority and vice president of Recruitment for Sorority Council. She participated in Campus Crusade for Christ and was a Young Life Leader and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa during her time as a student. She also worked as a lifeguard at the Strom Thurmond Wellness and Fitness Center and as a Student Life intern.
"After graduating I missed the connection to USC I felt while in school. I learned so much while in school by being involved in organizations that I wanted to continue to give back and make Carolina better for all Gamecocks, future, present and past. I think it is very important for the recent graduates or young alumni of Carolina to be active members because of our fresh views on how to make Carolina a great experience," she said. "Having recently transitioned from school to the 'real world,' we have insight into what skills and experiences a college student needs to be successful."
White graduated from USC in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in psychology and elementary education.
"The University of South Carolina is more than just a university to me; it is my home," White said. "The opportunity to serve on the executive board of the Young Alumni Council allows me to contribute to my alma mater, serve USC students, alumni and the community."
During his time at USC, White was a member of the Phi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He worked as a Carolina Camp counselor, as well as a counselor for the Challenging Horizons Program, and he also worked as a lifeguard at the Strom and the Blatt P.E. Center.
"The Young Alumni Council hosts activities and social events targeting young alumni. The purposes of the YAC is to foster, maintain and support a relationship between the USC Young Alumni and USC, and to create a bridge between USC and the USC Young Alumni," White said. "While serving on the executive board of the Young Alumni Council, I hope to make a difference by developing numerous engaging and interactive activities that will inspire all USC Young Alumni to become a part of."
Positions on the board open annually, and applications can be found online at www.mycarolina.org as the deadline, which is usually at the end of May, approaches.