Community Relations

Director Bio

Caryn Nesmith

Caryn Nesmith is director of Community Relations at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg campus. In this role, she serves as a central access point for campus and the community to enhance USF’s ability to serve the St. Petersburg community and promote productive relationships among the university, City, businesses and community members.

Prior to this role, she was special assistant for strategic initiatives to the regional chancellor. In that capacity, she oversaw development and execution of new projects and programs on campus and in the community that advance the university’s mission and the regional chancellor’s priorities.

Before joining USF, Caryn spent 13 years as a consultant creating and executing communications strategies for international policy on behalf of U.S. and foreign government clients, including overseas assignments as a media advisor and senior strategist in Iraq, Colombia, and the Philippines. In 2012, she moved to Tampa Bay to work at U.S. Special Operations Command on MacDill Airforce Base where she led a Strategic Engagement team in the International Liaison Division.

In her early career, Caryn was a journalist in Puerto Rico at the San Juan Star and the Caribbean Bureau of The Associated Press. She has worked with non-profits focused on empowerment of communities: as a civil society coordinator in the mountains of Peru with the international non-profit CARE; as a teacher in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador with World Teach, and as an event coordinator throughout North America with Up With People.  

Caryn earned a Master’s Degree in International Relations with a concentration in Latin America and International Economics from Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. 

In St Petersburg, she has served on the board on the Warehouse Arts District Association and the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival. She was a member of the 2021 cohort of Leadership St. Pete and is currently a board member for the Historic Kenwood Neighborhood Association.

Contact Caryn via email @