BLACKSBURG - Dani Anderson and Jessica McNamara of the Virginia Tech softball program recently returned from Indianapolis, where they took part in the NCAA Career in Sports Forum. McNamara is a rising junior from Centreville, Virginia, while Anderson recently wrapped up her playing career and is starting graduate school work at Sacramento State in California after earning an NCAA Women’s Enhancement Program Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics.
Organized and directed by the NCAA Leadership Development department, the Career in Sports Forum was created to provide student-athletes with a broader scope of the career tracks available within the sports business, with the primary focus on intercollegiate athletics. The forum provides student-athletes interactive experiences with successful individuals in sports business and a peek into their day-to-day duties and responsibilities.
During the forum, participants heard from keynote speakers and panelists – including former University of Tennessee women’s athletics director emeritus Joan Cronan, Rice University athletics director Joe Karlgaard and WISH-TV Indianapolis sports anchor Anthony Calhoun – and also learned the best practices for gaining employment and gathering a better understanding of what future expectations will be once they get a job.
Hokiesports.com got a chance to catch up with both of them to ask them about the trip and what they learned.
Why did you decide to apply for the Career in Sports Forum?
JM: I decided to apply to the Career in Sports Forum because I hope to pursue a career in sports. It was definitely a great opportunity for me since I’m still unsure what exactly I want to do in the future, and this forum allowed me to explore the variety of careers found in athletics. Also, I have never been to Indianapolis before, and I wanted to explore the city.
DA: I received the NCAA Women’s Enhancement Program Postgraduate Scholarship for Careers in Athletics and as a scholarship recipient, I was required to attend the Career in Sports Forum.
How has your experience as a student-athlete impacted your decision to pursue a career in sports?
JM: I love being around the student-athlete environment. The personalities of athletes are what intrigue me the most, particularly the competitiveness. I want to share my insight and help young athletes succeed and reach their academic and athletic goals. I was able to experience this guidance and help. This makes me want to pass it along.
DA: My experience as a student-athlete impacted my decision to pursue a career in sports because I know I want to work with like-minded people who understand hard work.
How will this experience help with your future career goals?
JM: This experience allowed me to network with many people, creating multiple connections. I learned so much from the NCAA employees and the guest speakers. This forum helped me better understand myself, and more importantly, how to brand myself.
DA: Being a student-athlete will help with my future career goals because I now know what it’s like to have a vision. As a student-athlete, I pictured winning games, but as a professional, I will picture treating patients and helping them rehab successfully.
What was your most memorable part of the 2014 NCAA Career in Sports Forum?
JM: The most memorable moment of the forum was definitely Joan Cronan’s speech. She’s the University of Tennessee Women’s Athletic Director. Her speech was inspirational and uplifting. I didn’t want it to end.
DA: The most memorable part of the 2014 NCAA Career in Sports Forum was when Joan Cronan from the University of Tennessee discussed her journey as a female athletics directors as well as the interactions she shared with Pat Summitt.
In three words, how would you describe your experience?
JM: Beneficial, inspiring, networking.
DA: Enlightening, social, useful.
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