Hartford, Conn. - Trinity College has a long history of excellence in the classroom and on the playing courts and fields. There are over 600 student-athletes on campus who devote countless hours a week in season to their sports. Now, a newly-formed partnership is allowing athletes to take their hard work and determination to another building on campus. The College's Office of Career Development and Trinity’s Athletic Department have partnered in an effort to help athletes prepare for all that comes after life as a Trinity student-athlete.
Said Breton Boudreaux, Trinity Class of 2004 and assistant director, alumni career services and program director at Career Development, “There has never been an official department-wide collaboration. In the past there have been individual teams and coaches that have organized events. The goal now is to help athletes recognize how all of the skills they develop on the court and in the rink translate into the workforce.”
Director of Athletics Michael Renwick echoed Boudreaux’s statements, adding, “Since my arrival I have always thought there should be career development component to the student-athlete experience at Trinity. We are currently in the first year of a program we plan to build to be much larger. Our hope in the end is to live up to our department's mission, which is to educate and develop students for life through sport. I see this as one piece to that entire puzzle in helping us ultimately accomplish our mission.”
Career Development has no shortage of opportunities to offer students. The office has done everything from resume and cover letter workshops to the Smart Start Program and alumni networking events. Many of these events are coordinated team by team with the idea that student-athletes will be encouraged to visit the office frequently after they are introduced to the array of services offered. According to Boudreaux, the office has seen a much higher percentage of athletes in the office meeting with advisors immediately after programs.
In addition to the variety of events being offered, personalization based on team and age has enhanced the experience for students. Career Development recognizes that squash might need something different than ice hockey, juniors and seniors may benefit more from some programs than first-years and sophomores, and women could gain more from certain workshops than men.
The Smart Start Program is an example of an event that specifically targets women. In January, the juniors and seniors of the women’s swimming and diving team, along with the upperclassmen on the women’s basketball team, participated in the two-day workshop that was created to help educate women on the wage gap and how to negotiate a fair salary.
Said Daisy Letendre, senior co-captain of women’s swimming and diving, "The Smart Start Workship was extremely beneficial to me as a graduating senior. Young women are often unaware of the wage gap they face upon entering the workforce and the long-term consequences they face as a result of the issue. It is important to educate and counsel young women on the subject and I thought this program was a great way to do so.”
Renwick and Boudreaux also touched on the idea that a student’s role as an athlete is important to highlight when preparing to enter the workforce.
Said Boudreaux, “People want to hire athletes. Athletes have already proven that they communicate effectively and they have already proven they are dedicated having maintained their athletic careers through college.”
Renwick added, “I believe the experience of being a student-athlete in college plays a tremendous role. Many employers that reach out to our career development center ask directly for student-athletes. That indicates to me that employers are looking for the exact traits we believe being a student-athlete instills into our students.”
The office is also mindful of the busy schedules that student-athletes inevitably juggle. Boudreaux noted that all of the team workshops are also open to other students, but the student-athlete specific events are scheduled around practice and game times. He also emphasized another goal of the partnership: allowing access to student-athletes all Career Service opportunities that they may have otherwise been unable to attend.
Paula Shea, Class of 2014 and a member of the field hockey team, was directed to My Trin Net, the Trinity College alumni online community, by a career development advisor. Shea said, “My Trin Net is a great data base to connect with Trinity alumni. You can find alumni by their major or their industry. It is easy to connect by sending a networking email to get advice or to ask about their career path.”
Mike Mancini, a member of Trinity’s 2012 NESCAC Champion football team, elaborated on the resume-building aspect of Career Development.
“Mr. Boudreaux and the staff at Career Development have been great in helping us prepare for life after college. A handful of resume workshops have been set up in which the advisors put together presentations to show us how to construct our resumes, what types of things to avoid putting on our resumes, and taught us how to make our resumes stand out from our competitors. I now have a professional-looking resume that is well put together and ready to be given to any potential employer upon request” said Mancini.
Mancini is looking forward to developing his relationship with Boudreaux and the Career Development Office. One option for other students looking to do the same is the newly-established peer career advisor position. The office is looking for sophomores and juniors who are interested in a paid position for the 2013-2014 school year. Peer Career Advisors would be paid and trained to lead programs like the resume workshops so many teams have benefitted from.
Renwick is also focused on the future of the relationship between the athletic department and career development. Said the Athletic Director, “I see this as a long standing partnership between career development and athletics. I see this having a much more structured format that includes the participation of our alumni/ae network. It also includes the further development of an alumni/ae network for our student-athletes to reach out to for advice on a field of interest regardless of your sport.”
Career Development is looking to use the same approach to work with various other groups of students. Said Boudreaux, “We are excited to work with different groups on campus. Whether it be a fraternity, The Fred, or the Trinitones, if there is a group that wants us to help run a program, we are happy to partner with them and do it.”
Based on the glowing recommendations from student-athletes, Boudreaux’s offer is not one that should be ignored.
written by Emily Johnson'14