Spartan Stories

Through its people, USC Upstate's commitment to excellence shines.

Spartan Stories is an ongoing series of interviews that highlights the accomplishments of alumni, faculty, staff, and students.

Up is where we live.

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Dr. Stephen Bismarck

Chair of the Education Department and Associate Professor of Middle/Secondary Mathematics Education

"If you have a strong foundation in your schools, you’re going to produce critical thinkers that are able to do tremendous things in your community."

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Adib Kapasi

Student Government President

"To have that connectivity, to have that genuine love and compassion within our world again, we have to start preaching love and being brothers and sisters."

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Becky Goessel, CPA, CGMA

Special Assistant to the Chancellor 

"I’m most proud of being able to change lives through education and having a bridge into their actual careers."

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Mary Bucher, MS, APRN, FNP

Special Assistant to the Chancellor | Public Health and COVID-19 Response

"I think it’s very important that everyone feel safe accessing medical care. Health care is a right that everyone should have."

Kenyatta Jeffcoat

Kenyatta Jeffcoat

Major | Mass Communications

"My experience at Upstate has helped me build myself as a brand."

Dr. Xinyi Tan '14

Dr. Xinyi Tan '14

Assistant Professor of Chinese & French | Coastal Carolina University

"I had a dream about having a career in French. It was indeed at Upstate where this dream took off."

Shawna Bynum '18

Shawna Bynum '18

Director  |  The Franklin School

"The program of Early Childhood and Family Studies is housed here. It makes me extremely proud to be able to say that I was a part of that program and now I'm here at the Franklin School partnering with USC Upstate."

Dr. Amanda Schwartz

Dr. Amanda Schwartz

Associate Professor | Computer Science

"Teaching is a very important job. We get to interact with students every day. We are able to help them grow as students, but also as people."

David Church DHA '92

David Church, DHA 

Vice President of Oncology | Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

"I'm a native of the Upstate. This is my community and I want to do the best I can to serve."

Dr. Renu Pariyadath

Dr. Renu Pariyadath

Assistant Professor | Communications

"We are serving the community. We are helping students become prepared for the community, to serve in this place when they come back and get jobs here."

Dr. Michele Covington

Dr. Michele Covington

Assistant Professor | Criminal Justice

"Many of the students that we're teaching in the Criminal Justice program go out to work in the field in the Upstate. What we're doing here directly impacts our community on the whole."

Dr. Thomas McConnell  - Professor in English

Dr. Thomas McConnell

Professor | English

"Imagine the crater that would be left if USC Upstate weren't here. In this region we are the rising tide that lifts all boats."

Spartan Stories - Brittany Case

Brittany Case

Alumna | Class of 2019

"We've built a tradition around here that we expect to win and we always compete at the highest level. "

Spartan Stories - Ilse Isidro Antonio

Ilse Isidro Antonio

Nursing | USC Upstate

"Being aware of different cultures makes me a more culturally competent nurse. And I think it's so important for nursing programs to encourage those types of courses."

Spartan Stories - Alphonso Atkins, Jr.

Alphonso Atkins, Jr.

Former Chief Diversity Officer | USC Upstate

"At the end of the day what we're really trying to do is make sure that every person here feels as if this is a welcoming space."

Spartan Stories - Dr. Katharine Gibb

Dr. Melissa Pilgrim

Director of Research | USC Upstate

"I always advise students and faculty to make sure they never lose sight of those things that light the fire under them."

Spartan Stories - Dr. Katharine Gibb

Dr. Katharine Gibb

Dean of Mary Black School of Nursing

"I'm here to facilitate learning and to encourage faculty and students."

Spartan Stories - Ashley Kreiner

Ashley Kreiner

Mass Communications Major

"I'm most proud of the people I've met and seeing how motivated they are to do the things they want to do, and realizing that I not only want to be those people but that now compared to my Freshman year I've become one of those people."

Spartan Stories - Dr. Ron Fulbright

Dr. Ron Fulbright

USC Upstate Professor

"We at the University pride ourselves on making transformative impacts on students’ lives."

Spartan Stories - Xavier Vereen

Xavier Vereen

Interdisciplinary Studies Major

"My passion is to help the community. We all have the gift of time so if we can share a little piece of time every day with someone else then you’re doing a good thing."

Spartan Stories - Araceli Hernandez-Laroche

Dr. Ginny Webb

Assistant Professor of Microbiology

"I love the Science department. I love the research that is going on and the availability for funding, and the support to do research."

Spartan Stories - Araceli Hernandez-Laroche

Dr. Araceli Hernandez-Laroche

Associate Professor of Modern Languages

"USC Upstate students can count on excellent mentoring from professors."

Spartan Stories - Itzel Tello

Itzel Tello

Communications Studies Major

"Get involved. My second year I worked on campus and I was involved in several organizations and that’s when my college experience really started."

Spartan Stories - Stacey Mills

Stacey Mills

Executive Director of the Greenville Campus

"Education changes the trajectory of whole families, not just the individual who’s attending school."

Spartan Stories - Sharan Ravishankar

Sharan Ravishankar

Political Science Major

"I was very nervous as a freshman. I could see myself grow over one year. And I think Upstate really shaped my experiences in that facet, especially in leadership."

Spartan Stories - Erin Callicott

Erin Callicott

Business Administration Major

"Every single faculty member I’ve ever met has been so invested in their students and in their careers and what they want to do and how they can help them achieve their dreams."

Spartan Stories - Kaleigh Kelly

Kaleigh Kelly

USC Upstate Alumna | Class of 2018

"If you want an extraordinary experience you have to go out of your shell. And if you do, then Upstate will give you the tools and opportunities you need."

Spartan Stories - Dr. Dave Damrel

Dr. Dave Damrel

Associate Professor of Religion

"This is a great place with a lot of different people. It’s a place for the world to meet."

Spartan Stories - Greg Embry

Greg Embry

USC Upstate Alumnus | Class of 2007 

"Upstate provided me the foundation to be able to open my mind more… to learn more about others and their background. It also taught me work-life balance and the importance of self-accountability."