Meet Our Staff
Gary Manka serves as the Director for Student Government Advising, Training & Operations at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. He earned his A.A. in Liberal Arts from Miami-Dade Community College; his B.A. in English-Creative Writing from the University of South Florida; and his M.S. in College Student Personnel from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio where he worked for 23 years in leadership and student activities roles before relocating to USF in 2008. Gary is married with two grown daughters, and loves films of all sorts.
As the formal leader of the Student Government Advising, Training and Operations team, Gary mainly oversees the operational areas that include human resources, outcomes assessment, strategic planning, leadership development for students and staff, policies, procedures and governance issues. He also instructs the leadership minor class, Leadership in the Political Context.
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Arranger, Relator, Communication, Achiever & Responsibility
Jennifer Bielen serves as the Assistant Director for Student Government Advising, Training & Operations at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. She earned her A.A. in General Studies from Valencia Community College; her B.S. in Business Administration with a Specialization in Marketing from the University of Central Florida; and her M.S. in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University. Jennifer has worked in higher education for the past 11 years, primarily in Student Affairs. She loves serving as an advocate to our student leaders and helping them grow both personally and professionally. Jennifer moved to the Tampa area in July 2015 to start her career at USF, is engaged, and has a beautiful daughter.
As the Assistant Director for Student Government, Advising, Training, and Operations team, Jennifer serves as the advisor to the Executive Branch, implements the leadership and development among the SG leaders, handles the Votenet Software as it relates to voting in various aspects, designs the student planner, and supervises our Coordinator, and 2 Graduate Assistants.
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Restorative, Command, Activator, Futuristic, and Communication
Julie Melnyk serves as the Program Coordinator on the SGATO team. She is originally from outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She earned her undergraduate degree in Community Health from George Mason University. After graduation she secured an internship with the Walt Disney Company. After interning she returned to school and earned her Masters of Education in College Student Affairs from the University of South Florida. Julie now resides in Tampa with her fiancé and enjoys exploring all that the city has to offer.
In her role as coordinator, Julie works closely with the Student Body VP on supervising and advising the three agency areas; Bulls Radio, SAFE Team, and Student Government Computer Services. She also works with all of the programming and marketing initiatives that come out of the executive branch.
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Responsibility, Empathy, Relator, Developer, Achiever
Madison Dazey serves as the second year graduate assistant for the SGATO team. She is originally from Richmond County, North Carolina. She earned her B.S. in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations from Wingate University. She is currently working on her Masters of Education in College Student Affairs at the University of South Florida. Madison is currently enjoying all the opportunities Tampa and USF has to offer.
In her role as a graduate assistant for Student Government, Advising, Training, and Operations team, Madison works closely with the Program Coordinator by advising students and assisting with the programming for the executive branch."
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Includer, Positivity, Adaptability, Achiever, Woo
Arriana Covington serves as the first year graduate assistant for the SGATO team. She is originally from Greensboro, North Carolina. She earned her B.A. in Organizational Communications and Africana Studies from The University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is currently working on her Masters of Education in College Student Affairs at the University of South Florida. Arriana currently enjoys listening to podcasts, reading books and traveling as she continues to grow and develop professionally and personally.
In her role as a graduate assistant for Student Government, Advising, Training, and Operations team, Arriana works closely with the Assistant Director by advising several committees within Student Government Legislative and Judicial branches.
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Individualization, Learner, Arranger, Responsibility, Intellection
Tammy Dixon serves as the Office Manager for Student Government. She is originally from the Tampa Bay area and has been with the university for about ten years. Prior to employment with SGATO, Tammy worked with the USF Police Department as an Executive Assistant and as a Clinical Research Coordinator at USF Health. She is an alumnus from Saint Leo University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management. Tammy's professional interests include enhancing her leadership skills and furthering her education. Her personal interests include spending quality time with her son and family, line dancing, fishing and enjoying the Florida weather.
Top Five Strength Finder Results: Restorative, Individualization, Futuristic, Analytical, and Responsibility