By Rachael Dickens
Since Junior year of college, it was my dream to be a Graduate Assistant (GA) as I found myself admiring the duties and responsibilities of the GA’s that I worked under. Fast forward two years later. I remember checking my email last summer and stumbling upon the posting for the “Research and Evaluation Graduate Assistant at the Center for Research Evaluation (CERE)”. I was hesitant because I was an incoming MBA student, and wasn’t quite sure if business and this kind of research would complement each other. Turns out, it became the best opportunity I received in grad school.
I found my passion for research and evaluation in my capstone marketing research class, and actually felt a sense of loss when the class ended. I wondered how I could turn research into a career path and CERE has jumpstarted this beyond my expectations. I was able to discover that research and evaluation is more than just statistics, numbers and reports. It’s about giving communities and organizations solutions. It’s about working towards unique causes such as discovering if public art having the ability to influence an entire city. It’s about talking through problems and not being worried to ask question in order to find the solution. It’s about walking into an office every day and working with (AMAZING) research associates and directors to find these solutions.
During my interview they said I would learn and oh have I ever, but I have also been able to gain skills and valuable experience that I will be able to take with me forever throughout the rest of my career. I’m biased, but this is hands down the best graduate assistantship offered to Ole Miss Grad Students and I will miss all the hard work and laughs that took place here.