Student-Athlete Career Night a Resounding Success
Last week, the Rutgers University-Newark Department of Athletics hosted the first-ever Student-Athlete Career Night in The Golden Dome, bringing back former R-N student-athletes to talk to the current crop of Scarlet Raiders.
More than 125 Rutgers-Newark student-athletes attended the event sponsored by the Department of Athletics with the help of the Career Development Center.
A total of 10 alums came back to work with the current group of student-athletes – Liana Abreu (women's soccer), David Cherry (men's basketball), Matt Connors (baseball), Mike Hanson (baseball), Peter Lake (track & field), Elyon Obamedo (track & field), Donald Parrish (men's basketball), Harun Saleh (track & field), Michael Svec (men's soccer) and Courtney Vacca (women's basketball) – and all 10 provided incredible insight, advice, anecdotes and life experiences.
"The event was everything we had hoped for and more," said Rutgers-Newark Director of Athletics Mark Griffin. "Not only did our current student-athletes learn first-hand what the realities of the employment market are after college, but we also saw how incredibly successful so many of our alums are."
The event began with an introduction from Griffin, a welcoming of the panelists (alums) and then a keynote from Harun Saleh and Courtney Vacca.
The panelists then split into three groups – Criminal Justice, Business, pre-Med/pre-Law – and the student-athletes were able to select which session to attend based on career aspirations and field of study. Those panels met for 45 minutes with the alums talking about life experience, their past at Rutgers-Newark, careers, trials and tribulations and much more. All three breakouts went long because of the fantastic student-athlete questions, and when the entire group reconvened, everyone casually ate and networked for the next 30-45 minutes before calling it a night.
"Our alumni panelists were on point," added Griffin. "They gave our student-athletes insight into the realities of employment after college, which is what we wanted, and they did a fantastic job answering questions. I also was really impressed with our current student-athletes who asked some really thoughtful questions."
Part of the NCAA Division III mission statement says the following: Colleges and universities in Division III place the highest priority on the overall quality of the education experience and on the successful completion of all students' academic programs. They seek to establish and maintain an environment in which a student-athlete's athletics activities are conducted as an integral part of the student-athlete's educational experience…
"At the Division III level we talk about not only playing college sports, but the value of getting a great education," added Griffin. "Tonight we were able to provide to provide a great educational experience with our own alums which was great to be a part of."
In addition to the alums connecting with the student-athletes, just about the entire Rutgers-Newark coaching staff was in attendance at the event, re-connecting with alums from the past after sitting in and listening to their former athletes talk about real-world experience.