Cyrus Fernandez will join the staff of the Graduate School as the director of graduate student professional development on October 1.

Fernandez will work directly with Dr. Tia N. Dumas, assistant dean for professional development and inclusive excellence, and the Graduate School leadership team to handle the day-to-day planning, organizing, and implementation of GRAD 360° events at Clemson. He will be responsible for overseeing the primary logistics of professional development programs for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars, and for contributing to the continual growth and improvement of GRAD 360°.

Fernandez has a history of strong advocacy on behalf of graduate students. He has worked in graduate student professional development since 2013 and is currently working on his doctorate in higher education and student affairs leadership. In 2016, Fernandez became the Assistant Director of Graduate Student Success and Professional Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio where he helped open the Graduate Student Professional Development Center — the first graduate student-centered space for professional development within the University of Texas System. The Center is fast becoming a national model on spaces geared toward graduate students’ personal and professional goals.

He has served as graduate student association representative at the University of Northern Colorado and mentored graduate student association officers at the UTSA. He also served as the graduate chair for a youth-based reproductive justice organization called U.R.G.E.

His research interests include assessment methods of graduate student professional development, histories of higher education and big data in a higher education setting. His doctoral work focuses on histories of the night on college campuses, where he explores how college students and university administration interacted with the night in social and symbolic ways.

“I am lucky to have worked at two different institutions with thriving graduate student professional development programs,” says Fernandez. “I hope to use my diversity of experience to help Clemson build on the remarkable success of GRAD 360° and to help make it a benchmark model of graduate student professional development.”