Nikki Smith is the career consultant for all undecided/undeclared majors as well as for the fine and performing arts students. She graduated from Roanoke College in Salem, VA with a Bachelor of Arts in English and got her Master’s of Education in College and Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. She spent 6 years between her B.A. and M.Ed. working with student activities, academic advising, and admissions and has been at the UGA Career Center since 2006!
How did you get into career services?
I had worked in a lot of different areas within student affairs and at one point I shared an office with career services. I thought it was pretty interesting but I really wanted to be involved with student development. Then, I went to grad school and ended up getting my second choice assistantship (slight chuckle) which was academic advising and career services. Best ever!
Where is your favorite place to go in Athens?
North Campus! Oh! I love reading on North Campus. I only read on Herty Field, by the fountain, though, not the other areas. I love to go on Sundays. I feel like it’s always a nice day on Sunday.
What is something unique about you?
My family’s heritage is interesting. My grandma talks in three languages, and she tells crazy stories. My dad grew up in Saudi Arabia which has always been a part of my life. My parent’s house is decorated with all kinds of things from over there and it’s what they talk about. Maybe it wasn’t my experience but I feel like it was. It affected a lot of the research I did in grad school, too.
What is the best career advice you’ve ever been given?
Get to know as many people as possible, who they are, and what they care about. And I like that because people fascinate me. People love to talk about themselves and you can learn so much if you take the opportunity to listen. Sometimes I’ll find myself somewhere random, like the dentist, and I’m making random connections with people. Every interaction is about others and how you connect them.
What was your first part time job?
Food lion for SIX YEARS! I kept that job all through high school and college and my first year out of my undergrad. That’s how I found my first job in higher education actually. My dean came through my grocery line. He said, “Nikki, I thought you graduated.” I said “I did!” He was the one that directed me to a job at a community college. I was sold.
What did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be a performer. I wanted to be a comedian or a dancer. I still want to do an open mic night. One of my friends is a comedian and he does stand up and open mic nights, so I might try that out.
What do the CDIs love about Nikki?
“What’s there not to love? Nikki is the definition of bubbly. She’s always excited to talk to people, whether students or consultants. It’s what drives her and you can really see that when you talk to her. She’s quickly become one of my top go-to people here in the Career Center. She’s very supportive and she helps me organize my thoughts. I can honesty say she makes Clark Howell shiny and happy on the tough days, and even shinier and happier on the good ones!”