Meet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Current and Former Resident AssistantsMeet Current and Former Resident Assistants

Meet Ryan Grabau

University: University of South Florida, Class of 2020

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Hometown/Place You Call Home: Valrico, FL

When were you an RA (add the years): 2017-2018

In which building: Maple A (Pre-Nursing LLC)

Favorite thing about Maple: It was big enough to feel connected but small enough to feel homey.


Why did you apply for the resident assistant position? I applied because I thought it would be a great opportunity to grow my leadership skills as well as make a difference in the lives of students here at USF. Freshman year I was lucky enough to live on one of the best floors at USF and I really believe that if it weren’t for the experiences I had and the friendships that I made on that floor I would not be the same person I am today. I wanted to foster an environment that allowed other residents to feel this way too.

What did you learn as a resident assistant? Through getting to know my residents and being an RA I have learned that sometimes it is the smallest things that can really make a difference in someone else’s life. Whether it’s as simple as holding open a door for someone, or sending them a quick text to check up on them people just need small encouragement in life to let them know that there are people who care about them.

What motivated you while in the job? Honestly, it’s all about the residents. Watching most of them come in as Freshmen into a very hard and arduous degree program (Pre-Nursing) and flourishing was really inspiring.

What skills do you currently use in your life that you gained from being a resident assistant? I really believe that my communication skills and flexibility have improved leaps and bounds through my RA experience. Being an RA is all about building those deep personal connections with your residents and cultivating an environment where everyone can feel free to express who they are. This takes a lot of time and energy but in the end is so incredibly powerful. The amount of adaptation and flexibility required to be an RA is profound but has allowed me to handle many situations in my everyday life with more control.

What was your favorite memory from being an RA? As the Pre-nursing LLC we had a life size skeleton to aid the pre-nursing students in studying for anatomy. It was an ongoing prank to dress him up in weird clothes/hats and place him in weird spots around the floor or building. I remember one night I came home from the library at 3:00 am after a long day of studying to find him dressed up and outside of my room.

What is one thing you would have done differently (while being an RA)? I would have made more of an effort to plan floor bonding events at the very beginning of the year. The first few weeks of the school year are extremely important to incoming student success and if students aren’t engaged within those first few weeks it makes it more difficult to become involved.  

What advice would you give for current and/or future resident assistants? Don’t compare yourself to other RAs. While having role models is fine, just remember that you are a unique individual and you shouldn’t try to cram yourself into the mold of another’s leadership style. Everyone has something different to bring to the table and that is part of what makes this job so great!

How was being part of a team while an RA? Being a part of the RA team was inspiring because it allowed me to gain insight into many different ways of being a leader. I learned a lot from the others on our team and was able to build friendships that have really impacted my life.

What are your goals after graduation? After graduation I plan on attending medical school where I hope to become a physician working somewhere in the pediatric field.

What are you currently doing? I currently just wrapped up a long-standing project through USF Health developing drug conjugated nanoparticles to treat heart attacks. I also serve as a Development Coordinator for Camp Kesem at USF which is an organization that works to support kids through and beyond a parent’s cancer, and am a member of the Kosove Society.

Contact information - Email: or Instagram: ryan_grabau

Ryan's Top 5

Favorite place at USF: Pinnacle Starbucks

Favorite place in Tampa: Amalie Arena for a Lightning Game!

Biggest accomplishment: Presenting at the Oxford International Health Conference and being published in a high-level medical journal.

Favorite Movie: Oceans 11

Favorite Book: Divergent