Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences

Alumni Spotlight: Marva Smalls

Marva smalls and Jataka Eaddy on stage at the Full Circle event.

Marva Smalls attended the University of South Carolina specifically to be close to the center of state government. She knew she wanted to work in politics, and she wanted to start right away. 

"You couldn't ask for a better commute," she says, recalling her walk across the tree-lined Horseshoe to her jobs in and around the South Carolina State House. 

After earning her bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration, Smalls served as chief of staff for a South Carolina congressman. But in 1993, as that congressman retired, Smalls got an unexpected job offer at the television channel Nickelodeon, where she built a public affairs office from the ground up. 

Today, she is an executive vice president for public affairs at parent company Paramount. She credits much of her success to her background in creating policy and serving the public, which she gained during her time at USC. 

"The challenges and the opportunities that I experienced here at the University of South Carolina are fundamentally key to where I am today,” Small says. 

"You never leave politics. You never leave the opportunity to influence policy. That’s the beauty of being able to engage in thoughtful and meaningful dialogue.” 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.