This year, we are highlighting all of the great work that our graduate assistants perform around our campus by featuring the nominees for the 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award.  This award is coordinated by the Career Center, which works with the Graduate School to pick the winner of the award.  We were so impressed by all of the nominees that we are going to feature them on our blog.  Congratulations to all of the nominees!

Liza Blevins, nominee for Ball State’s 2021 Graduate Assistant of the Year Award

For the 2020-21 academic year, Liza worked as a GA to support Student Center Programs, where she advised many student organizations and helped them execute over 14 campus programs, including Late Nite.  She was nominated by Gloria Pavlik, the Director of the Office of Retention and Graduation.  Gloria said this about Liza, “She is a joy to have in the office and will be an asset at any university.  In this year where so many things were done differently and remotely, Liza continues to be an authentic advocate for students and peers.”

Liza Blevins

Here is a Q & A with Liza

1) What was the most valuable part of your assistantship experience?

The most valuable part of my assistantship has been the ability to collaborate with many people in different ways and produce events for the needs of all Ball State students. With the events I produce, I am able to advise and supervise students to be creative in organizing events that they are passionate about. For example, I had a student who wanted to focus on an event on Black students’ experiences at Ball State, and I met with this student several times to capture their vision and assist them in making it come to life. We reached out to several Black student leaders, faculty, and staff to share their experiences and inspire the Ball State community. I also encourage my students to think about offices on campus and find ways to collaborate with them. For the first time, Student Center Programs collaborated with the National Pan-Hellenic Council in honor of Black History Month, and we put on events in-person and virtually. The Student Center Programs office is constantly adapting to the circumstances of COVID-19, and I am grateful to explore different ways of creating events for Ball State students. It brings me so much joy challenging myself and my students in producing events where students at Ball State can have fun and see themselves through the people we work with.

2) How do you think your GA assignment has helped you to grow as a professional and a student?

Through my assistantship in Student Center Programs, I have had the opportunity to work with student leaders and interact with students in the Ball State community. My interactions with students allow me to hear the needs and wants of students, and through my assistantship, I am able to find ways to help students remember that they can have fun in college despite being in pandemic. I have grown tremendously in my assistantship, through the opportunity to exercise skills such as collaboration, interpersonal relationships, and confidence in having a vision come to life. My assistantship allows me to be bold and creative and leads me to opportunities where I can work with talented people on and off campus.

3) Is there anything else you would like to communicate about your experience as a GA?

It is my personal mission to use any role that I am in to create a space for marginalized students to feel welcomed in higher education. When people think of Student Center Programs they think of fun and entertaining events, which is awesome! Through my time at Ball State, I have learned to apply my personal mission into the work that I do in Student Center Programs. I do not just make fun events, I seek to make educational and intentional experiences for all students. I challenge myself every time I plan for an event, asking myself, “What can I do for this population of students” or “what is something new I can bring that will be a great experience for students?” My assistantship with Student Center Programs has taught me that, where there is passion and hard work, anything is possible.