Tate Student Crew

April Cifuentes

Tate Student Center, Information Desk

Zaria Palmer

Tate Student Center, Building Manager

Zarina Frausto

Tate Student Center, Information Desk

We’re excited to recognize three outstanding student staff members, whose hard work and quick thinking have more than earned them the spotlight. Their supervisor, Josh Hudson, had the following to say:

The Tate Student Center Facilities & Operations staff played a critical role in the emergency-response for the fire that occurred last Fall. Our Information Desk staff members Zarina Frausto & April Cifuentes, plus our Building Manager Zaria Palmer calmly reacted to the emergency by notifying the appropriate authorities, ensuring the building was clear of people, and providing direction to first responders. Without their presence, it's likely that our facility would have suffered more significant losses. I am overjoyed that these students get to be the Staff Spotlight because they deserve to be recognized for helping preserve a place that is special to many people.

Let’s get to know these outstanding students a little more:

Tell us a little bit about yourself! What year are you, what’s your major?

Zarina F.: My name is Zarina Frausto, and I am a 3rd year Criminal Justice and Psychology Major with a Minor in Portuguese.

Zaria P.: My name is Zaria Palmer. I am a junior double majoring in finance and information technology.

Where do you call home?

Zarina F.: I am from Woodstock, GA, but I also consider my parents’ home country, Mexico, as a place to call home.

Zaria P.: I grew up in Freeport Grand Bahama, Bahamas.

How long have you worked at the Tate Student Center?

Zarina F.: I have been working at Tate since September 2020.

Zaria P.: I’ve been working at Tate since Freshman year, so going on three years now.

Tell us a little about the work that you do at Tate – what does a typical shift look like?

Zarina F.: A shift at Tate is typically a walk around your designated floors at every 30-minute mark, but it also includes social interactions with not only other Tate employees but students as well. Students come to the Information Desk to ask questions about anything, and being prepared to answer or to look for the answer always keeps me on my toes. Also, I cannot forget about the parents and future dawgs who come tour UGA. I enjoy answering their questions about campus and possibly slipping in some restaurant suggestions in the area.

Zaria P.: As a building manager, I go on hourly rounds around Tate and Memorial to make sure patrons, students, and the building are secured. When I’m not doing my rounds, I’m at the information desk either assisting patrons who enter the building or other student staff workers.

What’s been your favorite experience at UGA so far?

Zarina F.: My favorite experience at UGA has been connecting with the Hispanic/Latino community with various events that have been held by HSA or MSP. I think my favorite so far has been “Orgullo Hispano” back in February of last year. I enjoyed meeting and networking with various Latinx staff and faculty.

Zaria P.: I’ve had the best experience at UGA so far. I’ve met so many amazing people experienced so much growth both personally and professionally. I believe I’ve learned so many things here at UGA whether it was in the classroom, at my job, or simply interacting with a stranger at the dining hall, and I am extremely grateful for those experiences.

Do you have any interests or hobbies you’d like to share with us?

Zarina F.: I enjoy writing poetry on my downtime, but most of it is done in Spanish where I am able to get whatever emotions/feelings or messages I want to get across. Something else I do enjoy is soccer whether it is watching or diving on the field as a goalkeeper. I haven’t played in a while, but it is a great way to destress.

Zaria P.: I play tennis. I’ve been playing since I was three and I’m on the club team at UGA. I really love the sport.

Who do you look up to or admire and why?

Zarina F.: I look up to my parents because they have worked nonstop since they arrived in the U.S. to provide a better life for me and my brothers. No matter what comes across their path, they take it head on and keep moving forward. They’re my motivation to keep going and not look back, and I know that everything I am doing is not only for me but for them as well to ensure them that their hard work continues to payoff.

Zaria P.: I look up to my parents. They’ve sacrificed so much to give me a comfortable life and they give me so much unconditional love and acceptance, so I really admire who they are as people.

You were one of the first people on site for the Tate fire – what went through your head?

Zarina F.: When I first saw the fire, I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. My mind was questioning if the fire was real or if it was a figment of my imagination. Once I had processed what was going, I had to run and grab my radio to let Zaria and April know what the situation was. I think it really took a lot for me to put a brave face on and act quickly in order to make sure the fire didn’t spread.

Zaria P.: My first thought was to sound the fire alarm and then alert my supervisors. Then I thought to use the fire panel to see where the fire was coming from, so I’d know where I’d have to grant the fire fighters access.

What’s one thing you’d like Student Affairs staff members to know about you, your work, or your experience here at UGA?

Zarina F.: I have enjoyed my time here at UGA so far, especially the late night homework/study sessions at the MLC with my close friends. With the pandemic, it has been difficult to carry out those study sessions, but we find the time and space while staying safe. Also, even though I am not involved on campus often, I find time to volunteer for the Athens community through a non-profit organization named HoPe Inc. (Hispanic Organization Promoting Education). The main objective of this organization is to increase the graduation rate among Hispanic high school students through leadership, education, and community service. Being highly involved with a group of high school students in Athens has impacted my experience at UGA. I have made it this far in my higher education, and I want to set an example for those in the community to continue with their education after high school.

Zaria P.: I think I’d just want everyone to know I’m a hard worker and a nice person.

What’s one question you wish we’d asked and what’s the answer?

Zarina F.: “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough!

Zaria P.: I don’t have any questions. I think these questions paint a pretty holistic picture.


Unfortunately, April was unavailable at the time of publishing this month’s Spotlight, but her responses will be added in as we receive them!

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Staff Spotlights: Sharing the stories of staff in UGA Student Affairs

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James Crawford
Student Affairs Staff Development Lead

Matthew Waller
Chief of Staff