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Graduate Assistant of Aquatics & Safety

The Aquatics & Safety graduate assistant is responsible for overseeing various aspects of the Aquatics & Safety Program. They will be highly involved in programming and facility aspects of Campus Recreation including, but not limited to, personnel management, fiscal management, and risk management.They will also be expected to participate in Professional Development activities and collaborate with staff from all Campus Recreation program areas and several other departments on and off campus. For more information or to apply, candidates should contact Julie Saldiva, Senior Assistant Director  at or call the Texas State Department of Campus Recreation at 512.245.2392.

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Past Graduate Assistants and their testimonies:

Emily Weeks

Aquatics & Safety Graduate Assistant 2020-2022.

My Graduate Assistantship has been a very unique experience.Emily Weeks GA I started my new life in Texas with this position in June 2020. I remember talking with Julie in the months leading up to me leaving Illinois about different game plans each time COVID travel updates were released in case we had to postpone my start date. Luckily, I was able to make it to Texas in June and work remotely during the summer. That summer and fall I quickly became accustomed to (as well as the rest of the staff) that anything can change in a day with COVID. As a department, we worked collectively to problem solve and adapt to necessary changes even if it meant moving over 44,000 lbs of equipment throughout the building to comply with social distancing measures before school started.

This position has been a learning curve, but I have been able to succeed with the incredible guidance and mentoring from Julie Saldiva. With restrictions slowly easing up each semester, I would have 100 new things to learn within our program area and department. Simple things such as group traditions and celebrations had restrictions until my second year or even not being able to offer group swim lessons until my second summer. Julie has been more than patient and understanding with me, and she has always helped me find answers to my questions. I have grown so much as a professional with opportunities of becoming LGI and WSI certified, sitting on hiring and kick-off programming committees, and leading our department’s safety program for our student staff. Julie pushes me to explore areas that I’m passionate about, even if it’s not aquatics. I presented at a virtual conference on the topic of intramural officiating, and have been able to collaborate with our Intramural Assistant Director on implementing an officials’ training program in aid of professional officials. Overall, I have grown so much as a professional, but even more so as a person because of her leadership. I am beyond thankful to have Julie as my supervisor not only because I can share my love for dogs with her, but because I know I will overcome any challenges thrown my way.

Mika and EmilyIf you want more information or have any questions about my position or experience, you can reach me at


Paige HutsonPaige Hutson

Aquatics & Safety Graduate Assistant 2018-2020.

Hello! My journey to this position was a little different than my predecessors. I graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Journalism in May 2017 with zero idea what I wanted to do with my life. However, the best parts about IU were the summers I spent at camp. After months of research, I decided to get my Masters in Therapeutic Recreation at Texas State. At that time, I had zero experience in Campus Recreation and only a basic level Lifeguard certification, but I did have many years of team leadership experience. I knew I wanted to work with youth with behavioral and mental health limitations and I wanted aquatics to be in the mix, but I was unsure of a specific direction.

Julie Saldiva took a chance on me and I can’t ever be more thankful. I accredit a lot of my success in graduate school to her. She quickly became my mentor and my biggest advocate. I was hired later than she anticipated, which gave me the opportunity to be thrown into the job (which I liked.) She gave me the tools I needed to succeed and let me, to add some cheese, *spread my wings.* I jumped into my position and made it a point to establish my leadership style and build rapport with everyone on staff. It was difficult at times, because my prior experience wasn’t quite as superfluous as the ladies who came before me, but with the help of Julie I quickly fit into the rhythm of the position. I soon received my WSI and LGI certifications to further assist programming.

The position helped me further grow my leadership skills over the team, which brought new challenges helping me become a great problem solver. I also attended Campus Recreation staff meetings and meetings for other professional organizations, providing the opportunity to experience several professional conferences. I learned how to manage a budget and payroll as well as evaluate our programs and participation for reports and budgeting alike. Julie is also fantastic because she treats it like a “build your own adventure” assistantship. Beyond your job duties, she allows you to explore growth in ways you specifically want to. Two years in a row, I facilitated an adaptive sport at our annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day Play Day for girls to add inclusive programming within Campus Recreation. The first year I did Goal Ball (visual limitations) & the second year I did Sit Volleyball (overall physical limitations). Julie is awesome, it’ll be very hard to find another supervisor as great as her. 

Paige Hutson flexingIf you'd like more information about my experience, you can reach me at!


Jenn Radford

Aquatics & Safety Graduate Assistant 2016-2018Jenn Radford

I actually became part of the Texas State Aquatics & Safety family in 2012 as an undergraduate student. I started out as a lifeguard and swim instructor and eventually worked my way up to an LGI, Senior Guard, and finally Head Guard of American Red Cross. I originally came to Texas State Campus Recreation extremely apprehensive of my lifeguarding skills and also unsure of my career goals. With the mentorship of the professionals here, especially Julie Saldiva, I not only worked my way up to hold a leadership position but also found my place in recreation. After a short time out in the “real world” I had the incredible opportunity to come back and continue my education as a Graduate Assistant with Aquatics & Safety. I am grateful that I was able to continue learning and developing skills with the Texas State Campus Recreation family.

Working as the Aquatics & Safety Graduate Assistant has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow in ways I would not have otherwise. I was able to develop and refine the necessary skills to succeed while having the guidance and support of professionals who were invested in me along the way. Most notably, I now have a deeper understanding of the value of communication and how to connect with staff, peers, and supervisors in a way that creates a positive and productive work environment- something I can take with me wherever I go. Both the professional and the human being that I am today can be partially credited to my time with Texas State Campus Recreation. No matter where I end up I know that this job and the people I have met along the way have prepared me to be successful.

Jenn doing the butterflyEat em up cats!

You can reach me at if you have any questions!

Taylor CapshawTaylor Caphsaw

Graduate Assistant of Aquatics & Safety 2014-2016

I joined the Texas State Graduate Assistant family in July of 2014 after spending some time in Southeast Alabama working full-time in the municipal side of recreation. I was slightly nervous as I was making another huge change in my life by jumping into another new position. Looking back on it now, it was silly of me to be nervous; I just didn’t know that I was being placed in the care of a great mentor. I can’t brag enough on Julie Saldiva. From day one, she was there for me to help me grow into the young professional I was always meant to be. She pushed me to improve my communication and organizational skills while also asking me to step out of my comfort zone to work on my leadership skills. Not only was I allowed to take new ideas and run with them, but it was also made clear that it is ok to make a mistake or fail, as long as we could analyze what went wrong and how we could learn from that moment.

The very best part of being a Graduate Assistant at Texas State is that you come into the program a stranger and you leave with a family for life. Not only are you going to be making friends with the other GAs there, but also Julie is great at connecting her past Graduate Assistants together. When I’m having a maintenance issue or a staff issue that I haven’t encountered before, I can quickly reach out to Julie, Richelle, and Jenn to see if anyone has an idea of how I should approach said situation. Having that little network has been invaluable for me as an aquatic professional and helped me grow programs and leaders at Nova Southeastern University and The University of Texas at San Antonio.Taylor Capshaw

If you want to know more or have questions about this position, please feel free to email me at

UTSA - Assistant Director Aquatics
Phone: 210.458.6727

Richelle HarveyRichelle Harvey

Aquatics & Safety Graduate Assistant 2012-2014


I arrived in Texas State Campus Rec with leadership skills through facilities and sports clubs and basic administration skills but no formal aquatics leadership positions. Julie quickly began to teach me everything I would need to know to run my own aquatics programs and be a successful recreation professional. During my time at Texas State, a combination of clear expectations, high standards, and continuous support shaped my critical thinking skills, on my feet problem-solving skills, and helped me to cultivate a sense of professionalism and pride in my passion for student development and leadership. I can confidently say my time as the Graduate Assistant of Aquatics & Safety was a critically essential part of my success as I entered the field of Campus Recreation. Just a few of the critical skills I honed were budgeting, staff training & development, data analysis, social media marketing, and research and development of new programs and aquatics offerings. The single most important experience was learning to work with a widely diverse group of students, peers, and professionals.

Richelle Harvey Texas State Campus Recreation and more specifically Julie Saldiva created a safe, encouraging environment to learn and grow, but also to try new ideas, fail, and try again. These experiences have helped me build aquatics programs at American University in Washington, DC and now at Western   Washington University.




Want to hear more about my journey or have questions about this position? Email me at