MS in Accounting Blog

Admissions Q&A: Meet Tavaris Handley

Tavaris Handley joined UVA McIntire’s Graduate Marketing & Admissions Team in January 2023. In his role as Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions & Recruiting, Tavaris supports prospective M.S. in Commerce and M.S. in Accounting students with their graduate school journey.

Tavaris Handley, Assistant Director of Admissions & Recruiting at UVA McIntire

Hometown: Birmingham, AL
Role: Assistant Director of Graduate Admissions & Recruiting

What is your background?

I am a spring 2013 graduate of THE Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University, where I received a bachelor’s degree in Biology. After graduating, I decided to pursue a career in fashion working as a brand representative for both Hugo Boss Fashion Inc. and Saks Fifth Avenue for four and a half years. While there, I chose several roles to impact the community around me, such as mentoring youth on the high school and college level. I also partnered with my friends and classmates to start a nonprofit community outreach organization called Siamese Dreams Community Outreach, where we gave scholarships and professional development opportunities to high schoolers throughout Birmingham. I am also the Co-Founder of Magic City Fishing Inc., which is a community outreach organization geared around fishing and community bonding.

In the fall of 2018, I received an opportunity to pivot careers into higher education and joined Miles College as an Admissions Recruiter. While there, I was promoted to Lead Admissions Recruiter and Transfer Recruitment Coordinator. I managed and facilitated all transfer admissions while developing new systems and strategies, used today, to help better facilitate the onboarding of transfer students. In this role, I had the honor of serving as a student ambassador mentor, CRM systems manager for admissions, and travel coordinator for admissions, and aided in the onboarding of their new Ellucian ERP system through the year 2022.

What led you to the UVA McIntire Graduate Marketing & Admissions team?

The motto of my alma mater Alabama A&M University is “Service is Sovereignty.” With that in mind, I’ve always had a desire to serve. Once I was given the opportunity to mentor and provide scholarships during my career at Saks Fifth Avenue, a man by the name of Michael Johnson saw my potential in higher education and gave me a chance at the institution where he served as the Vice President of Admissions and Recruitment. From there I joined Miles College and gained knowledge and experiences that would lead me to want to grow in my field and pursue something further.

I took a chance and searched for roles across the U.S. and narrowed my options to the LSU School of Veterinary School of Medicine Assistant Director of Admissions, the Miles College Director of Admissions, and the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce Assistant Director of Admissions positions. You can see which option I chose.

What do you enjoy about working with graduate students?

I most enjoy helping graduate students go to the next level of achievement. It warms my heart to know that one conversation can lead to someone finding their passion and future. To be a part of that conversation and help graduate students take that next step in investing in their future bring me joy.

What is your best piece of advice for prospective students?

My best piece of advice for prospective students is to not be afraid to invest in yourself, always seek to grow and learn, don’t be afraid to fail, be open to trying something new, and strive to be a morally upright person in everything you do.

What is one fun fact about you?

One fun fact about me is that I absolutely love fishing. I go as much as I can and even have my own Instagram page dedicated to my hobby (@magiccityfishinginc).

What is something you are currently watching/reading/listening to?

I am currently watching an anime on Netflix called “Vinland Saga.” It is a Japanese spin on the story of Vikings in the early 1010s in Europe and how their conflicts develop the protagonist Thorfin.

What are you looking forward to in the summer months?

This summer I am looking forward to breaking out the fishing rods and exploring the lakes, rivers, and ponds around Charlottesville.

Questions about our M.S. in Commerce and M.S. in Accounting Programs? Connect with Tavaris and our other UVA McIntire Graduate Marketing & Admissions team members by attending an upcoming admissions event or registering for an advising session.

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