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Staff Spotlight: Abby Sherman

Abby Sherman, Coordinator of Student Services

Abby Sherman, Coordinator of Student Services

The Graduate School is proud of our dedicated staff of professionals who are committed to providing a high-quality educational experience for our graduate and professional students. In an effort to help students learn more about the resources available to them at the Graduate School, we are highlighting some of the staff who work closely with students, from admission to graduation.

Abby Sherman is the Coordinator of Student Services for the Graduate School. In her role, she advises students on the Graduate School’s thesis and dissertation requirements and is part of the Graduate and Professional Student Professional Development team (GPSPD).


Tell us a little about yourself.
For over 6 years I have been working for the University of Tennessee, primarily in Graduate Admissions and the Graduate School. Previously, I worked for the local school system in my hometown where I was an instructor for special needs high school students. I grew up in a family of educators so I have always been passionate about education, but I was inspired to pursue a career in higher education while studying at Eckerd College. The Dean of Students, James Annarelli, is such a fantastic service-oriented student leader. I knew I wanted to make a similar positive impact on the educational experiences of students.
What do you enjoy most about your position as the Coordinator of Student Services?
I love that my position provides me with daily student interaction and the opportunity to see the great research students are doing. I am consistently blown away by their amazing work and their incredible stories. It’s truly a privilege to play a small part in that.
What advice would you give graduate students about the thesis/dissertation process, or about graduate school in general?
For theses and dissertations, the best advice I can offer is start early and ask questions. Familiarize yourself with the graduation deadlines and the Graduate School’s Guide to the Preparation of Theses and Dissertations. Attend a session of Format Chat (or watch the recorded session) if your schedule allows. If you have questions or concerns contact thesis@utk.edu. For advice about graduate school in general, know that you’ve got what it takes and you are not alone in this process. There are resources available to help you succeed.
What is your favorite memory of your own graduate school experience?
I had a very positive experience in my graduate program, but I also faced many life challenges during this period. I became pregnant with my daughter during my second semester. It was a high risk pregnancy so there were extra challenges that I had to navigate on top of school and working full time. There were times when I wasn’t sure I could handle it all, but through the support of the Graduate School, the department, and my cohort I was able to successfully complete my degree on time with a 4.00 GPA. Graduation was extra special for me because everyone who had supported me through that experience was there cheering me on, hugging me, and congratulating me. I like to think that my daughter will look back on that experience and be proud of what I accomplished and inspired to achieve her dreams.