Graduate School student
Bobby Whitehead was raised in Trussville, Ala., and came to Auburn in 2006. Having earned bachelor's degrees in history and public administration at Auburn, he is now a master's student in administration of higher education. Whitehead recently became a graduate assistant in the Career Center, where he specifically serves the graduate student population. He also serves as a supplemental instruction leader for history and recently became a senator to the Graduate Student Council. He is married to Christel Whitehead, also an Auburn University alumna, whom he met while rolling Toomer's Corner in the fall of 2006.
1. After completing your bachelor's degree at Auburn, what made you want to stay and pursue a graduate degree?
I love learning. I have always been a very curious person so obtaining a graduate degree was something that I've really always wanted to do. I think that education should really be a lifelong pursuit and I try and take every opportunity when it comes to becoming more knowledgeable about a given subject. Also, I truly love the Auburn Family. The people at this university really make me feel at home every time I come to campus. The feeling of family and the top-notch academic reputation of Auburn University made staying here irresistible.
2. What led you to the field of administration of higher education?
I have always known I wanted a career in which I could be around and help people. The problem was for most of my first undergraduate degree I had no idea how I wanted to do that. I changed majors several times and eventually returned for a second bachelor's degree still unsure of my goal. During the pursuit of the second degree, I began working as a supplemental instruction leader for world history. This was the first time I had really been around college students in a supervisory or teaching capacity. I felt very at ease and began to realize that college students are the people with whom I was meant to work. I love the idea of being a part of someone's life at such a critical time.
3. You recently began a graduate assistantship with the Career Center. What do you do in this role for the Career Center?
I advise graduate students about career opportunities and assist with developing professional documents such as resumes, curricula vitae and cover letters. I also conduct mock interviews in which students can come and practice for an upcoming interview while getting feedback and support.
4. How do graduate students' Career Center needs differ from those of undergraduates?
The needs of a graduate student are more complex due to the nature of having an advanced degree. Many graduate students have a difficult time understanding the difference between a resume and a curriculum vitae, for example, and I can help them navigate the two documents and determine which is the best for them. Also, many students who put off going into the “real world” to find a job by staying in school are unsure of what they want to do with their graduate degree or how to best market themselves. This is another area in which the Career Center can help provide focus and support. Most importantly, graduate students often have much more experience than undergraduates and the Career Center can help them use that experience to meet their career goals.
5. What's your own career goal following your graduate education?
Personally, I want to work in student affairs. Whether it be in a career, academic or other advising role, I am deeply interested in working with college students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. I think that the best way to stay motivated is to be around enthusiastic people, and college students are usually very enthusiastic. Working with students to help them achieve their goals provides a great feeling of accomplishment, and I look forward to experiencing that feeling daily.
Last Updated: May 20, 2013