July 23, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - In April, the Purdue Athletics Department selected six student-athletes to serve as interns in various areas this summer, one each in communications, compliance, John Purdue Club, marketing/fan experience, ticket operations and the John R. Wooden Leadership Institute.
The first-year internship program, coordinated by academic support services advisor Laura Schnell, aims to provide student-athletes real-world experience working within a university athletics department and help them in their desired career paths. They will be working 150 hours between May and August and will be paid $1,500 for their service.
Senior midfielder Soraya Toppin-Herbert, a movement and sport sciences major, took a little time away from her preseason training and her internship with the John Wooden Leadership Institute to update purduesports.com on how everything is going.
How has the first month on the job been going?
The first month has been great. I have learned so much in the first four weeks, which stems from the many projects I have completed in this short time span. The best part about the first month has been working on a variety of projects and seeing them come to fruition.
What, if anything, have you learned through the internship so far?
The biggest thing I have learned so far is that leadership depends more on your actions than the position you hold. I have also learned how to effectively work across departments to get projects completed and how to be confident when giving presentations.
Do you have a new respect or understanding for what goes on behind the scenes in the department?
After working on the Student Services Annual Report I realized how much goes on in the athletic department both academically and athletically. Furthermore, my day to day interactions with those working in Student Services has definitely given me a deeper respect and understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.
What is your typical day like? How do you balance your new work schedule with your offseason workouts?
When I arrive, I check in with Cathy Wright-Eger (my supervisor) and discuss the progress of my projects, then I spend the rest of the day working on my projects. Some projects require me to network via email, while others require me to have in-person meetings. Luckily all of my offseason works are completed before 9 a.m., which makes it easy to plan my work schedule after workouts each day.
Has your internship changed your career plans or made it clearer to you what you might want to do?
My internship has reaffirmed my interest in sports administration. I have loved every aspect of it so far and I am even more confident that this is the career path I want to follow.