By: Elisa Edelberg - Maryland Media Relations Student Assistant
Just as a head coach prepares a game plan for an upcoming contest, the Student Welfare and Career Development program at the University of Maryland is helping Terrapin student-athletes formulate a strategy for life after college through a variety of programs including the latest Career Fair sponsored by Athlete Connections last Monday.
The Student Welfare and Career Development program understands that student-athletes have extremely busy schedules and the Terps couldn’t be more appreciative of the effort to maximize the little time they have.
“Having networking events at Comcast Center makes it is easy for us to go there directly after practice or from study tables, minimizing lost time with potential employers,” Adreené Elliott, a volleyball player who solidified a summer internship as an economic analyst Maritime Administration last year through one of the program’s events, said.
A few of the events held this year so far include a “Backpack to Briefcase- How to Network” workshop earlier in September and most recently a Career Fair sponsored by Athlete Connections in addition to an Etiquette Dinner last week.
“The networking events have allowed me to practice selling my marketable qualities, but also practice confident, relaxed conversation with recruiters,” Elliott said.
Employers know one thing for sure - student-athletes are highly motivated.
As a freshman wrestler, Tyler Goodwin was getting an early start on networking and gaining experience talking to professionals. “I’m only a freshman,” Goodwin said. “So I’m here for the experience and to see what it’s like for when I’m an upperclassman.”
Last Monday’s career fair was a first for softball player Shannon Bustillos who heard about the event through Ziz Abdur-Ra’oof, the director of student welfare and career development.
“We get text messages with dates and times and all the details about [the event] and a list of all of the people who are going to be there,” Bustillos said. “At this career fair, the list of attendees was quite extensive with representatives from companies like Aflac, MetLife, Hershey’s, Teach for America and the United States Secret Service.”
Many of these potential employers felt that athletes were prime candidates because they typically have qualities that are crucial in a business environment. CEO and founder of 3S Enterprise, Sers Sterlin said 3S Enterprise was drawn to the event for exactly this reason.
“Someone who has been able to excel in athletics throughout college usually has the work ethic to back that up,” Sterlin said.
Debbie Nelson of Aflac added that student-athletes also exhibit important personality traits which can be integral to a positive work environment.
“I think that athletes are very outgoing,” Nelson said. “They would do well in what we do.”