Alumni Spotlight

Brad Mills3
Tarleton COGS alumnus, Brad Mills, utilized his experience as a graduate assistant to discover his career path.  Also pictured is Kerra Canup, a GA in Rec Sports who assists Brad with marketing and memberships.

About Brad:

Brad graduated from Tarleton State University with a Master’s of Science in Kinesiology in May 2016, and began a career as the Program Coordinator at the Tarleton Recreational Sports Center. Originally from Stephenville, Brad commented that growing up here, you are always thinking, “I’m never going to Tarleton, I am getting out of this town.” He stated that after being at Tarleton, it is so much different. “If I go out to eat, I am far more likely to see somebody I met at Tarleton vs. somebody that I knew growing up in this town. That’s one of my favorite things about Tarleton—how close everyone is at this university.” Brad got to experience the family-like culture of Tarleton first-hand through his involvement as an undergraduate student. Brad was a member of the Purple Poo, the oldest spirit organization in the state of Texas. In addition to that, he spent two years heavily involved with Tarleton State’s club soccer team, and even served as their vice president.

We asked Brad:  What exactly is your job at Tarleton?

“I am the Program Coordinator, which means I am in charge of facility operations and staff and memberships. Memberships consume the majority of my time. I also work with marketing some.”

Another question:  Why did you ultimately choose to attend Tarleton State University for grad school?

Brad started in 2013 as a student worker at Rec Sports, and moved into a supervisor role shortly after. When he finished his Bachelor’s degree, Brad didn’t really want to give up his position. In addition, he knew that he needed a little more time to figure out how he wanted to use his Kinesiology degree, so he felt that grad school was his best option. He knew that he wanted to stay at Tarleton because of the Kinesiology department. “I didn’t want to go to another university and risk not knowing the faculty there. You walk into the Kinesiology department here, and every professor that walks through greets you: ‘Hey Brad, how are you?’ They know each student by their first name, so that feels good. I didn’t want to risk the relationships faculty has with students here.”

So, Brad . . .  What advice do you have for someone who is currently going through the grad school search and admissions process?

“Explore your options. Look at the programs thoroughly. I would definitely recommend visiting these schools. Go visit, meet the faculty of the department you’re interested in, and most importantly, find out about the town you’re going into. Stephenville is a great area, and I couldn’t say that about attending graduate school in other cities.”

What was it like to transition from an undergraduate student to a graduate student at Tarleton?

“As a student, the main difference in graduate and undergraduate is that they weren’t so much testing your knowledge anymore. It’s more research, learning to think and be creative and innovative. I am a completely different person than I was when I graduated with a bachelor’s. It definitely opens your mind instead of being so much in a box.”

One last question:  How did learning specific skills as a student worker help you to market your potential to transition to full-time staff?

“I had no idea what career I wanted to pursue until I was in grad school, then I realized that campus recreation is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  The best part of the job is working with the students and seeing the student development. Getting to see that, I was like ‘I love this.’ That is the kinesiology in me. Most kinesiology people are coaches, and what do they do?  They develop students, so we are doing the same thing here at rec sports.

As a student worker, I was up here helping the current program coordinator and getting to see what she does. She even let me help out with recruiting for hiring and scheduling and all of that stuff. Learning specific skills definitely even helped me get this job. I designed a floor plan of every machine in facility and totally revamped how student workers clean everything. They used to it was by machine number, but now it is done by sections, which just helped with simplicity.  A lot of my coworkers within the department say I know more about Fusion (the management information software) than they do, and I was not presented the information on it. I was just a student worker at the time. I am good with technology, and so I got on Fusion, called them, got a support login, and I can get on there and pretty much find anything I need.”

Kerra Canup

Also pictured above is Graduate Assistant, Kerra Canup. Kerra is from Georgia, and recently moved to Texas for grad school. She received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from University of North Georgia, and is currently pursuing an MS in Kinesiology. She was offered a GA position in Marketing and Memberships with the RSC. She loved her interview, loved the school and town when she came to visit, and accepted the position. Welcome, Kerra, to the Tarleton family!

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