By Anna Goorevich || Op Ed Editor
Last Sunday, LSP was host to a fairly unusual sight for an otherwise typical Sunday morning. While weekend mornings have a usually ghost-town-like atmospheres here at F&M, LSP’s auditorium was filled to capacity with excited student-athletes who were anxiously anticipating the chance to hear career advice from and network with some F&M, student-athlete alumni.
Dubbed “The Student-Athlete Experience: Authoring Your Story for Future Successes,” OSPGD and F&M Athletics co-hosted this two part series with support from the Diplomat Development and Discovery Initiative and the Tylus Family. The goal of these events were to help student-athletes reflect on the ways their athletic experiences can impact their post-graduate life. Ultimately, the event aimed to recognize, through the advice offered by a panel of alumni, that F&M student-athletes gain unique skills that are valued by employers.
Part two of the event, which was hosted on January 27, focused on teaching student-athletes how to articulate the value of their athletic experience to employers. “The ability to explain the value of the skills and lessons learned through being a student-athlete, whether in a resume/cover letter, in an interview, or in a less formal environment, is an essential skill” said Mike Vitlip, the Director of Legal and STEM Professions Advising at OSPGD and moderator of the alumni panel.
The alumni panel was extremely valuable to all those who attended. Panelists were representatives from many different career paths. Jennifer Galambos ‘88, Head of School at Kent Place School, represented the education sector. Brett Poniros ‘16 is a Chiropractic student and offered advice to those wanting to enter the medical field. Andy Gilburg ‘00 is Vice President of Higher Education Market at Benchmark Construction and represented the construction and business sphere. The final panelist was Kelsey Tylus Testa ‘09, Manager for Legal and Business Affairs at Major League Baseball, who gave advice for those looking to enter law, business, or sports industry fields.
The event offered many highlights for attendees. Some advice provided by the panelists were to identify and highlight the skills to employers that being an athlete has developed. For instance, the ability to work in a team environment, a winning mentality, dealing with constructive feedback and failure, and goal setting.
Vitlip reiterated the importance of recognizing the value of the student-athlete experience by saying “it teaches skills and develops character in ways that few other activities can … [being a student-athlete can] change the way [one] approach[es] a problem, a challenge, a failure, a success, a group project.”
One of the integral parts of this event was the opportunity to network and gain some personal advice from the panelists. Since the panelists work in career fields of interest to many of the student-athletes in attendance, many attendees took advantage of the chance to speak one-on-one with the alumni.
“Networking is so important for today’s professionals,” says Vitlip. “seeing a student overcoming their apprehension and striking up a conversation with a professional in their field of interest is hugely satisfying and was a definite highlight.”
This F&M Athletics/OSPGD hosted event was well-received by those in attendance. Not only did student-athletes gain career advice, but they were also equipped with the abilities to continue authoring their own student-athlete story in order to express the most valuable aspects of their experience to employers.
While it is unknown yet if more student-athlete targeted events like this will be held in the future, Vitlip stresses that “OSPGD’s doors are always open to student-athletes who are working to articulate how their experience at F&M has prepared them for life after college.”
Sophomore Anna Goorevich is the Op Ed Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.