Matt Battaglia (football), Brittney Callahan (women’s basketball), Daniel Green (football), Chanel Kellyman (track & field), Claire McAuley (cross country/track & field), Sara McLaughlin (women’s tennis), Logan Pegram (football), Danny Pulliam (women’s basketball) and Courtney Stephen (football) all participated in the four-day event.
The nine Huskies were among 300 student-athletes selected from a pool of more than 650 across all three divisions by the NCAA Student-Athlete Affairs Committee.
“One of the focus areas of our student development program is career preparation and the NCAA Career in Sports Forum is one of the premier opportunities for student-athletes to strengthen their career preparation skills,” said Monique Bernoudy, associate athletics director for career development.
“We were very pleased to have nine student-athletes attend the forum this year and engage in workshops that will expose and prepare them for careers in athletics. I was fortunate to serve as a facilitator at the first two forums and knew the specific curriculum they would be exposed to and the exceptional opportunity it would provide them,” she added.
“These student-athlete leaders returned from the forum with renewed energy, a personal game plan and a commitment to encourage their fellow student-athletes to prepare for their futures. They are very appreciative of the opportunity they had to network with fellow student-athletes, learn from professionals and have a skill set they can use to propel them forward.”
The event was divided into two areas of focus, with student-athletes choosing between coaching and administration.
“The one thing I took from it was that the best way to get ahead in a coaching career was to network with people and make an impact on people,” said McAuley, who took part in the coaching track. “The way I’ll take that on is, even though I am only a junior, if I see anyone of importance to me, I will start networking and getting to know people and start planning for my future.”
“It was a very motivational weekend and anyone who is considering getting into this type of career in the NCAA, it teaches you a lot. I recommend it to anyone who wants to do it as a career.”
The NCAA Career in Sports Forum is a four-day event through which selected student-athletes explore and are educated on careers in sports, with a primary focus on intercollegiate athletics. The forum provides an extension of that educational goal by coaching student-athletes on how to become the industry’s next generation of leaders.
“The biggest thing for me was the overall knowledge (of the speakers),” said Pegram, an administration participant. “They put in a lot of wisdom from their many years being in the field and the importance of networking and doing a great job when you do get your foot in the door. The ability to network and have connections in the administration and sporting fields is huge.”
“I would tell them to be ready and to go there with an open mind. Approach it as an interview. Go there ready to learn and approach it as if they are trying to interview for a job.”
The participants are given an educational opportunity to learn and gain valuable exposure to careers in sports, specifically in the areas of coaching, administration and sports entertainment. A range of seminars discuss key issues coaches and administrators face, examine the participants’ personality traits and how they can help or hinder their paths to success, and introduce them to networking and communication skills that are essential to breaking into and navigating the athletics world.
Additionally, the forum dispels myths about careers in athletics, as well as facilitates the opportunity to obtain information from current and future athletics professionals.
For more information on NIU athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.