Office of Fellowships and Scholar Programs

Meet the Staff

Novella Beskid

Assistant Dean SCHC and Director, Fellowships & Scholar Programs

Education/Major(s): Wofford College, BA in English and Sociology
USC, MEd in Student Personnel Services, Higher Education

About Me:Married 24 years to Jim Beskid, also a Wofford alumni. Together we are proud parents to two amazing children which makes family time together one of my favorite things.  Having worked at USC for more than three decades, the Carolina family is also important to me.

Favorite Spot On Campus: The Horseshoe

Length of Time at USC: 30+ years. Began in January 1984 as a graduate student and have been here ever since!

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock:
Best memory is Pope John Paul II’s visit to USC in September 1987 as a part of USC’s ecumenical year - being a part of the staff support for the event and attending the program on the Horseshoe and the mass at Williams Brice Stadium was an unforgettable experience. Best part of daily life as a Gamecock is helping students crystalize their dreams and start on the path to achieving them which is an honor and a privilege.

Jan Phillips Smoak
Jan Phillips Smoak

Associate Director

Education/Major(s): Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200), Carolina Yoga Teacher Training; M. Ed. in Student Personnel Services, University of South Carolina; BA in Journalism, University of South Carolina

About Me: A born and bred Gamecock, I love to communicate in writing, but also using social media such as Facebook and Twitter. As an undergraduate at USC, I was very involved in campus life – Greek life, The Gamecock, and what is now called Garnet Circle (Student Alumni Association). I have only traveled abroad twice – to Cozumel, Mexico, and to France & Italy, but the latter trip gave me great insight into why our scholars enjoy international travel. I have several roles: University administrator, yoga teacher, mom, and wife to a UMC pastor to name a few. I enjoy coffee, chocolate, being outdoors, Food Network, and talking with students.

Favorite Spot On Campus: It’s a tie between the Russell House and the Horseshoe. I have fond memories of eating in the Grand Marketplace with friends as an undergraduate student as we planned our social life, but now with an office on the Horseshoe, it’s my favorite place to catch up with students.

Length of Time at USC: 19 years! Because of the students’ intelligence and diversity, I never tire of my University work.

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock: Gamecock Basketball 2017 Final Four and a WBB National Championship!

Jennifer Bess
Jennifer Bess (Jen)

Fellowships Coordinator

Education/Major(s): BA in Religion from Dartmouth College; MA in Theological Studies from the University of Dayton

About Me: I’m originally from Chicago, where I grew up with two younger brothers. I’ve been an academic advisor, a campus minister, and a high school teacher. . When I'm not hanging out at home with my dog Killian, I like to be off traveling the world. My best trip ever was a 500-mile walk across Spain in 2011, on the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Feel free to ask to see pictures!

Favorite Spot On Campus: It’s really hard to beat the Horseshoe

Length of Time at USC: Since January, 2012

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock: I’m pretty fond of the day I walked out of my office after work and straight into a Hootie concert on the Horseshoe!

Jennifer Bess
Katie Weiser

Scholar Programs Coordinator

Education/Major(s): BA in Sociology, USC; Ed.S. in Counselor Education with a focus in Marriage, Family, and Couples Counseling, USC

About Me: I am a two time Gamecock graduate - Fall 2017 will be 10 years since I first stepped foot in my U101 class. While on campus as an undergraduate, I primarily engaged in research, going on to be a Magellan Ambassador and graduate assistant in the Office of Undergraduate Research. These days, most of my free time is spent with my husband, also a UofSC alumnus and employee, and our 2 month-old little one. I am excited to enter my 10th year as a Gamecock and my 4th year with the best office on campus!

Favorite Spot On Campus: The Horseshoe, specifically in the early morning. You can feel the history!

Length of Time at USC: 10 years. I started here as an undergraduate in 2007 and just can't seem to bring myself to leave!

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock: The best part about being a Gamecock is that there is something for everyone. Whether your passion is research, athletics, theater, community service, traveling, or even skydiving, you will be able to find somewhere to thrive. As for my favorite Gamecock moment, watching Kenny Chesney's sound check with my coworkers on the Horseshoe the day before ESPN's College Gameday aired from campus in 2014 was incredibly memorable!

Ali Cook
Ali Cook

Administrative Coordinator/Webmaster

Education/Major(s): BA in Interdisciplinary Studies (emphasis on Sports Administration and Business Information Systems) from the University of South Carolina

About Me: I'm married to Dale (for 13 years!) and Mom to two awesome little boys – Nate (9), a forth grader at BLES and Owen (5), a K5 student at BLPS. Our family enjoys participating in Cub Scout activities together! I have attended WoodBadge Training through scouting - I'm a good old Eagle. I’m a third generation gamecock and have a brick on the horseshoe beside my sister, grandfather, and great grandfather. While at USC I was a Carolina Classic – a group that assisted with recruiting football players and other student athletes.

Favorite Spot On Campus: It’s a toss-up between the Horseshoe and Williams Brice Stadium

Length of Time at USC: 19 years

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock: I’ve watched USC Football go all the way from winning their first postseason game as a student to beating a nationally ranked team (#1 Alabama at the time) to seeing USC host ESPN’s Gameday on the Horseshoe three times in the last few years!

Elizabeth Leverette
Elizabeth Leverette

Administrative Assistant

Education/Major(s): I graduated from Western Kentucky University with a Health Science degree and a Social Work minor.

About Me:. I am a graduate student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program and am proud to be earning my spot as a Gamecock. My husband is a graduate of the South Carolina Honors College, and we loved his time there so much that we named our miniature schnauzer, Harper, after Harper College here on campus. I love dogs, and am happy to share pictures, stories, or puppy-sit anytime! When I’m not chasing Harper, I enjoy painting, reading, and finding new shows on Netflix.

Favorite Spot On Campus: It's cliche', but it's famous for a reason, I love the Horseshoe!

Length of Time at USC: I started in April 2014

Favorite Gamecock Moment/Best Part about being a Gamecock:The best parts of being a Gamecock are the opportunities to build lasting connections with faculty and staff. I promise we don't bite!.

Columbia, SC 29208 803-777-0958
© University of South Carolina Board of Trustees