Tell us about what you have done since you graduated.
My current job title is alumni director, but being at a non-profit, that means that I wear about 17 different hats. So I work with all of our alumni here at the camp, development, volunteer programs, and I oversee a program called Camp Catch-A-Rainbow, which is for children who are living with cancer. They get to come to camp for free for a week.
I live 20 minutes down the road. I've worked here every summer since 2011, and then when I graduated from undergrad, I worked here for a semester essentially to get some money before going to Michigan. Then once I graduated, I was pretty much right back here. I was the sports program director for three of those summers, and I still have some involvement with the sports programming during the summers. I needed a summer job and it worked out well that first year, and then they just kept opening up things to help me develop a little bit more and flourish a little bit more. That sports program specialist position didn't exist, and then they kind of opened it up so I could use it as an internship, and then they just kept it going. It's just been a lot of fun being here because you get to interact with a lot of different people. We're not just Michigan. We're Toledo. We're Indiana. I've been out to Illinois for some alumni events. So there are things like that and there's a lot of different things to do. I get to meet a lot of different people and get to use a lot of experiences that I've had from a lot of different positions and schooling.
What is the best part about the Sport Management master’s program?
I think it was just the diversity of things that you were able to learn. It wasn't just focused on sports, fitness, or business. You were able to learn about research methods. You were able to learn about non-profits, you were able to learn about health trends and all of those things really impacting me here. When you work with a diverse population of people, you need to know how to serve a 10-year-old's needs compared to a 50-year-old's needs. And you need to know the trends, and you need to be able to look at how your budget's going and that kind of stuff. So it was really so many different ideas of thought were a part of that program, and it's really helpful with the four different things I oversee. I'm able to balance that and have a lot of information to draw off of from what I've learned.
You get to do so much, and that it's not just Sport Management. If you were to hear my job title right now as an alumni director, you'd think well that's not Sport Management at all, but it takes into consideration working with health needs for kids who are here, or with an older population, how to accurately do your budget, how to know where you're researching your new funding or your new activities you need to plan.
So even though I have a Sport Management degree, and I'm not technically in the sports field, I'm in the service industry, which is what Sport Management really is at its core. It may just be a specialized service industry, but you get this degree and you're going to be good if you're in person-to-person communications, or if you're trying to put on an event for someone or anything like that. This sets you up to be able to do so many things in the service industry.
What would you like prospective students to know about the program?
I think the biggest thing is that it opens up a lot of opportunities and you need to be able to take advantage of as much is offered around you. I use the women's basketball team as an example a lot when I tell people, especially undergrads, if you want to get into a manager role or something, it's best to work with those smaller teams. Because when I worked with the women's basketball program, since it was so small, there were 10 of us, maybe, as managers and that rotated through, you got to see so many different aspects of the team. Whereas, if you're working with the football team, there's going to be 70, 80 students who are holding the ball for practice and that's all they do.
I think it was just the diversity of things that you were able to learn. It wasn't just focused on sports, fitness, or business. You were able to learn about research methods. You were able to learn about non-profits. You were able to learn about health trends.
How has your Kinesiology degree contributed to your success?
Sport Management opened the doors to the women's basketball program because they were actively seeking out people who were in the School of Kinesiology. So that helped out a lot. I met one of my best friends, who was the grad assistant, she was also in the program. So I was able to make that connection. We're still really good friends. She's an assistant coach out at Yale now and we still hang out a lot.
I also do a lot of volunteering for my high school’s athletic department, allowing me to better understand everything that goes on and the need for volunteers. In addition, I'm a track and field official with the state of Michigan, and it gives me another idea of all the stuff that goes on. I know what goes into all the planning, and having that degree makes it so I can do my job better.
I've been working with a lot of sports organizations for their charitable giving. I actually did an independent study my last semester all about corporate social responsibility and fundraising. Now, I kind of have an idea of all these different organizations I can reach out to. For example, back in August, we partnered with NASCAR and the NASCAR Foundation to put on an event for about a hundred kids here in the Jackson area.