Past Preview Staff Perspectives

Starting the Tradition since 1974

Our student leaders are full of Gator pride! They hold themselves to a high standard and excel both in and out of the classroom. Our students leave their mark on the University of Florida through their experience with the Preview Program. Please click on one of the following students to find out what he or she has to say about their Preview Staff experience.

Arley Ruskin

Grad Year: 2017 | Accounting | Sanford, FL

Preview has given me the opportunity to get to know so many unique people, and I'm grateful to have been part of Preview 2014. Through the ups and down, we've grown, laughed, and made a difference in the future of UF. The entire Preview family is comprised of some of the most extraordinary people - people who inspire me and push me to be a better person. Students truly look up to the Preview Staffers, and the feeling of making a difference in a student's life is absolutely incredible. The quieter moments with students - when we realize our impact - make the long hours and buckets of sweat worth it.

Being on Preview Staff seems like a lot of work. That’s because it is a lot of work. However, the work is rewarding and the experience is unlike any other. As you apply, try not to make assumptions based on what others have said. Be yourself, work hard, and don’t drop your smile! Preview is a chance to leave your mark on the University of Florida. Build a legacy by inspiring the next class of the Gator Nation.

Aryn Lee

Grad Year: 2017 | Exploratory | Coconut Creek, FL

Accepting the opportunity to become a preview staffer my freshman year was extremely overwhelming and exciting when I first thought about it, but as time went on and training was in action I became nervous, dough full and less confident.  Now that preview is over I am able to recap and see how much I have grown and how preview has changed my life in many different ways. Having an amazing staff behind be to support me and believe in me has made this experience a lifelong memory..

Brendon "BJ" Jonassaint

Grad Year: 2017 | Health Science| Okeechobee, FL

Becoming a Preview Staffer as a freshman was the best thing to ever happen to me. I knew I always wanted to be a staffer because of my Preview experience but I was a little worried about how I would be perceived/received by the rest of my Staff and Professional Staff because of my freshman status. But by the end of my first meeting with everyone at Preview Retreat, all of those insecurities disappeared. The culture of care that is alive and well from the top to the bottom has made being a Preview Staffer an enjoyable experience.

Of course, you may have heard that being a Staffer is hard. You work long hours but once you’re doing it, it feels great. It was easy for me to wake up early in the morning knowing that I would be working with 41 other great friends who eventually became my family. Staffers kept me going and “gave me life” on the toughest days.

One thing that you don’t really think of when you think about your Preview experience is your supervisors. You might just never have better bosses in your entire life, from Pro-Staff to Grad Assistants to Coordinators. Embrace them and use them often when needed.

As for the interview, it may sound cliché because you will hear it over and over again, but the key is to be yourself. Don’t try to be extra but don’t try to be passive either. You have what it takes to be a part of Preview 2015.

Carrie Green

Grad Year: 2016 | Psychology (Pre-Health) | Atlanta, GA

Being a Preview Staffer is the hardest job EVER. PERIOD. NOT UP FOR DISCUSSION. We work every session, that’s every family member, every question, every confused student, every check- in, every long haul to Jennings and back, every skit, every small group, every errands job, every registration lab, and every check-out from May 9th- July 25th. When asked, “Was it worth it?” my answer was, “And then some!” Imagine yourself in a hot and sticky orange polo, same one you’ve worn too many times, standing at the cross walk by Beaty Towers at about 5:15 pm. It’s the middle of rush hour traffic and you have to make the decision on whom to inconvenience first, the hungry preview families and students on their way to dinner or the frustrated non-preview people in their cars probably just clocking out of work on their way home. That little moment of tough decision making is forgotten when at 9:15 pm on the walk back to Jennings a student from your small group that hardly said two sentences to you starts opening up about their fears of fitting in on campus, figuring out the bus system and whether to take Pre-calculus or jump right into Calculus 1 .
Because being a Preview Staffer is not about cheering the loudest, the small frustrations, overshadowing others or “trusting the process.” No, being a Preview Staffer is about trusting yourself, maximizing everything you learned from the previous semester and condensing all the tools to that moment, the moment where you can tell that parent that online classes are a recipe for success for their student because it gives them an opportunity to practice good time management skills, the moment where you tell a student that they can take introduction to Italian because it sounds cool and possibly start minoring in it. I woke up every day this summer knowing that I changed lives, I calmed tempers, I answered questions and I made a difference in the lives of others. LIVE PREVIEW 2014.

Carrington Price

Grad Year: 2016 | Marketing | Port St. Lucie, FL

Preview has been an experience like no other. It is simply amazing how a program designed for New Students and Families can have just as much of an emphasis on leadership development in its staffers. I have grown so much since I first started my journey on this wild ride known as Preview. Whether it was intended or unintended, I have been able to take home lessons learned from the summer and apply to my roles in other organizations on campus and in the workplace. I have also grown close to 41 other individuals who are ambitious, have an incredible amount of knowledge and who I refer to as my ‘Preview Brothers and Sisters’.
I can’t leave out how much the new students I have worked with have impacted my life. They have taught me a lot about responsibility regarding youth. Through working with these ambitious students and by seeing how the other staff members interact with them, I have learned how to be a better mentor, role model, and, hopefully one day, father. I know that what I have gained from Preview will stick with me for the rest of my life. It is incredibly encouraging to receive messages from students saying how their transition into UF was smoother and how appreciative they are of my time and effort.
If you are considering doing Preview, go for it! The most important piece of advice that I have for you is to be yourself! The Preview Staff is made up of 42 students who are true to who they are as individuals and who help create a diverse group that is dedicated to assisting new students and families.

Geeta Iyer

Grad Year: 2016 | Political Science (Pre-Health) | Boca Raton, FL

I first applied to be a Preview Staffer with the hope that I could help students realize their dreams. I never knew that these students and my fellow staffers would help me realize my dreams as well. When I applied, everyone stressed that Preview Staff was a team, but I didn't know what that meant. Today, I couldn't imagine spending this summer without one of the 42 of us. No other group of people has believed in me, challenged me, or cared about me like they have. I never realized how much I could love working 80-hour weeks, or walking all around campus in the rain, but because of my staff, even the simplest tasks were fun.
Being a Preview Staffer has meant making an experience I only dreamed about come true. I've never learned so much about myself and had the opportunity to help others succeed in such a short period of time. To be honest, I was terrified to go to my own Preview, so being able to help students overcome their fears and make them even more excited to be a Gator has been one of my favorite experiences. This summer changed my life, and allowed me to become a better leader and team player.
Looking back on this experience, I can only describe it as extraordinary, and I cannot imagine what my life would be like had I not applied. The application process may seem a bit intimidating, but keep in mind that you don’t have to be perfect. Just be honest, believe in yourself, and know why you want to be a staffer. And most importantly, be prepared for your life to change, because I guarantee it will. Best of luck to all applicants, trust in the process, and Go Gators!

Gemima Rosier

Grad Year: 2017 | Journalism | Wellington, FL

Preview was a game changer in my college experience. It’s one of those things that I didn’t necessarily feel the complete impact of until after I experienced it. During all the retreats, the training course, and the summer, I did not realize how much I was developing as a student, as a professional, and as a person. This summer has been a wild ride. I was pushed to go past my limits, challenged to get to know 41 very different people, and was taught the true meaning of customer service. One of the aspects I loved the most was that every session presented a new opportunity--- a new opportunity to connect with that student who is not sure if college is going to be ok, to listen to that family member that can still remember their first day at UF, and to spend incredible moments with your staff. As the last session came to a close, it dawned on me that I had come out as a new individual that I was proud of.

If you are thinking of applying, I definitely say go for it! Discover if this experience was meant for you. Go into interviews with an open mind and ready to show who you are.

Jensen Mendez-Wu

Grad Year: 2016 | Psychology | Jupiter, FL

Being a part of the 2014 Preview Staff has been my defining experience here at the University of Florida. Nothing I’ve done here at this university has meant as much to me as being a part of the UF Preview Staff. It has taught me so much about myself and more importantly it has taught me so much about others. No other opportunity on campus allows you to individually touch the lives of this many incoming students. It’s an experience like unlike any other. It has been by far the hardest job of my entire life but it has been more rewarding than I could’ve ever imagined. I have made personal connections to hundreds of incoming students and family members. Preview has allowed me to connect with all different types of student leaders from all around campus. This diversity is one of the best things about the Preview Staff. Meeting all these amazing, dedicated, and driven student leaders has been so inspiring and after a long summer of many hours of work, I’m proud to call them my family. I have learned so much about myself and I have developed into a better person over the course of this summer. It has been the hardest summer of my life but I am changed because of it and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Get ready for one of the best experiences of your life. Go Gators and Go Preview.

Kacie Griffeth

Grad Year: 2016 | Management | Davenport, FL

Being a Preview Staffer has been the most rewarding experience of my entire life. Not only did I get the incredible opportunity to impact the lives of incoming freshmen, but I learned so much about myself and what I’m capable of, all while working alongside 41 of the best people this university has ever seen. And you get the chance to have that experience. I can’t put into words how much I have grown in the last year, and I don’t think I want to. Part of the wonder of being on Preview Staff is seeing how different you are in those little moments after the summer is over, and not being able to describe it. It’s crazy to think that I helped welcome over six thousand new students to this university that I love so much. I never imagined, in a million years, that I had what it took to be a Preview Staffer. I thought I was too quiet and introverted, and not nearly outgoing enough. I never understood how someone could have so much energy, know so much, and be so helpful. And I wouldn’t understand if I hadn’t taken the chance and applied to be a Staffer. Because now I get it. You’ll learn the information you need to know, and you’ll discover how to rally up the energy from 8 a.m. to midnight. You don’t need to be perfect right this second; you just have to be ready for the experience. Ready for the long hours, the whirlwind of academic knowledge, the thousands of students and family members, and the crazy amazing family of staffers that comes with being a part of Preview. So get ready, good luck, and Go Gators!

McKenzie Bicher

Grad Year: 2015 | Applied Physiology and Kinesiology (Pre-Health) | Palm Bay, FL

The The day I stepped foot on this campus, as a student at the University of Florida, I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed with excitement, eagerness, but most of all, a pride like no other for being a part of the Gator Nation.  Every part of me wanted to share that feeling with the incoming class of 2018. Honestly, becoming a Preview Staffer meant the world to me.  It didn't matter to me what they were looking for, if my resume was long enough, or even if I could handle 80 hours of Preview every week.  If you’re right for this position, you won’t weigh those things in your mind because Preview is truly an invaluable experience, personally and professionally.

Preview and the amazing individuals who surrounded me all summer gave me moments that have molded me into the person I have always wanted to become.  Being a Preview Staffer is the most defining piece of my college experience because I left a lasting mark on the future generation of Gators, as well as my fellow staffers.  Yes, the summer is exhausting, challenging, overwhelming, but I came out feeling extraordinary. I guarantee that in some way, shape, or form, you will too. Choose to embody the legacy of a preview staffer by representing the University of Florida, as a leader, a peer, and most of all a true gator. I challenge you to be a part of something greater than yourself.

Michael Burdo

Grad Year: 2016 | Recreation, Tourism, and Event Management | West Palm Beach, FL

Looking back on this summer, I can’t even begin to describe how different my experience as a student at UF would’ve been had I not applied to be a Preview Staffer. This summer, I developed into a substantially different person all for the better. Asking me too narrow down my experience into a few sentences? Nearly impossible.

When I attended Preview in 2012, any nerves I had about UF quickly vanished because the Preview Staff made me feel so comfortable. When the morning welcome began, and the staff chomped into the room, I quietly thought to myself “I have to be a part of this.” By nature, I’m slightly introverted, and based on my observations of the Preview Staff, I was under the impression that you had to be an extroverted person. That couldn’t be further from the truth. They look for all types of people from all walks of life to create the best possible staff each year. I and 41 other individuals embarked on a journey to create an impact at UF and make our niche in UF history.

Being a Preview Staffer is so much more than wearing the orange polo each day. It’s about creating a lasting impression for an entire incoming class of new students. After all, you’re the first face they see when they come to UF as an official student.

Some advice? Don’t be intimidated by the application process. Yes, it is three (yes, three) rounds of interviews. I almost didn’t apply because of it. I trusted the process (a philosophy Preview Staffers know well) and by the third round, I was so comfortable with NSFP staff and it really allowed me to relax and be myself. Don’t forget to be yourself! NSFP wants to know WHO you are, not just what you are on paper.
I have no regrets about this summer. I walked away from Preview 2014 with 41 friends (who are truly like family), amazing colleagues, and an overwhelming feeling of accomplishment.

Noelle Spencer

Grad Year: 2017 | Political Science | Port Charlotte, FL

Everyone told me I had the perfect personality for a Preview Staffer. Naturally outgoing, engaged, and type A - the traits I thought would describe me and the program as a whole. In fact, I was so excited for my own Preview experience that I even dressed in orange and blue for not one, but both days of orientation. My staffer had mentored me well beyond my session and throughout my first year, and I wanted to do the same for others. After deciding to apply, I nervously stood next to candidates who were one, two, and three years older than me. Three rounds later, I got the email in Library West. As I fell off my seat (literally), it hit me that I would be a piece of Preview 2014.

I can tell you what I knew I would gain from this summer: I knew I would help students with their schedules. I knew I would show my infectious school spirit. I knew I would spend LOTS of time in typical Florida afternoon thunderstorms. And I knew I would bond with the other staffers.

But, I can also tell you what I didn’t realize I would gain from this summer. I didn’t realize I could talk a misguided student out of Organic Chemistry in their first semester. I didn’t realize that by sharing my school spirit for UF, I would also fall in love with this place all over again. I didn’t realize that I would sprint across campus (while holding 6 cups of coffee) with another staffer just to miss the rain - only to get caught in it moments later – which ended up being one of my favorite memories of the summer, and I definitely didn’t realize that I would leave with a family of 41 other people that would not only have my back, but also a piece of my heart.

No words will ever do this program justice. What I “thought” I knew about Preview was only the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to be said of this summer, and I’m excited for you to experience it in your own way.

Now what are you waiting for? Apply!

Saneh Ste. Claire

Grad Year: 2017 | Telecommunications | St. Augustine, FL

When I started my 2014 Preview Staffer application as a freshman last year, I had been at UF for exactly ten days. I knew nobody coming here, not even my roommate. I just knew how proud and nervously excited I was to finally be a Gator, and that I wanted to share that feeling with new students. I wanted to be a mentor; just as my own Preview staffer was and continues to be for me. Applying to be a Preview Staffer was the best decision I made my entire freshman year. Beyond welcoming thousands of new students and family members throughout the summer, I met 41 people who have become my best friends, my role models, and my family at UF. My freshman year of college was the happiest year of my life, and being a part of Preview Staff is largely responsible for that. If you are considering applying, prepare yourself for an unforgettable adventure. I have never worked harder, cheered louder, or felt prouder to be a part of something. I would do it all over again if I could, but unfortunately, you can only Preview once (YOPO?). So, Preview Staff 2015, although I feel like I am passing the torch on much too soon, your time has come! Be the tradition! I will be cheering for you all the whole way..

Tiffany Cheatham

Grad Year: 2016 | Psychology | Eustis, FL

As a 2014 Preview Staffer, I developed personally and professionally in ways that I never could have foreseen. I experienced challenges and successes that forever changed my outlook on the University of Florida and the students that it encompasses. I saw student after student fall in love with the University and the nurturing environment it entails just by having a simple conversation with someone. Whether I was helping calm a student's nerves about entering such a large institution, helping them figure out their passion, or even speaking to family members ensuring them that their student will find their place here at the university, every conversation and interaction was meaningful and gave me an undeniable sense of pride to be a Florida Gator. This experience also filled with me with great pride knowing that I was giving service whole-heartedly to a school that has given so much to me. Seeing the looks of grateful students and family members and the joy it gave me is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

As a student looking to become a potential Preview Staffer, I encourage you to be yourself! The elite leadership team that is the Preview Staff is made up of over 40 unique individuals, and all have their own strengths and differences that encompass one dynamite team! Preview is not looking for one specific personality type, but rather a collection of personalities that will work well together! Also, I strongly encourage you not to feel as though you have to push yourself to be noticed, as your observers are taking everyone's actions into consideration. Sometimes, even the best leaders know howto take a step back and let others take charge! Relax, have fun and remember it's great to be a Florida Gator! Go Gators!

Katelynd "KT" Todd

Grad Year: 2016 | Health Education & Behavior | Jacksonville, FL

Preview as an entirety is an overwhelmingly joyous experience. I knew when I began the application process that I was diving into an exciting journey. I had no idea what was truly coming. Being on Preview staff has been the most rewarding and growth oriented team I've ever been on. I learned how to capitalize on my strengths and embrace others. I learned how to overcome adversity by focusing on others. Through preview students and parents, I fell in love with this University. I was pushed daily to become the best me possible. You never know what you are truly capable of until you're surrounded by passionate people, compelling you to excel. I recommend this experience to everyone. The professional staff stood my side all year and the preview staff is a network of best friends I'll have forever. If you are thinking about applying, my advice to you is be yourself and embrace the real you because that's what this is all about. It's about growing as an individual to lead the entire Gator Nation to new heights. Be intentional. Be impactful. Be a Preview Staffer.