BLACKSBURG – Nine Virginia Tech student-athletes completed the athletics department’s Career Game Plan before graduation this spring, and for their efforts, received custom-made business suits to wear for future interviews, as they pursue professions in their various fields of study.
The group included women’s soccer players Kelsey Irwin and Jordan Hemmen, men’s swimmers Simon Shi and Aaron Boyd, lacrosse players Taylor Caskey and Sarah Vanadia, women’s swimmer Baillie Cameron, softball standout Olivia Lattin, and baseball player Reagan Teegarden.
“The Career Game Plan at Virginia Tech was very important for me because it allowed me to get exposed to several careers that I would be interested in,” said Shi, who took a position as a software developer with Wipro, an information technology company, in its Mountain View, California office. “I had a lot of questions regarding my career, and these events associated with the Career Game Plan had helped me be more confident in life after my athletics career.”
Irwin, a two-time All-ACC selection, plays professional soccer in Europe, but saw her season end because of the pandemic. Armed with an undergraduate degree in criminology and a master’s degree in business administration (with a concentration in hospitality and tourism management), she has been interviewing for positions and hopes to finalize something within the next few weeks.
She echoed similar sentiments as Shi in that the Career Game Plan prepared her for a future in the corporate world.
“As athletes, we often place so much emphasis on our sport that we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about life after we stop playing,” Irwin said. “In addition, we don’t have a lot of time like traditional college students have to acquire internships and build our network, especially during the school year. The Student-Athlete Development team sees this gap and provides excellent resources for student-athletes to truly fine tune their professional development skills. All it takes is for us to be willing to open ourselves up to those opportunities.”
The Career Game Plan is a program developed by the athletics department’s Office of Student-Athlete Development. To complete the plan, student-athlete must participate and finish each of the program’s four steps, including:
• Major Matchmaker (an exploration of majors and careers to determine the one that best suits a student-athletes desires and skills)
• Resumé Remix (an event in which student-athletes learn how to get the most out of their resumés, with the assistance of professionals from local, regional, and national companies)
• Career Jumpstart (an event for juniors and seniors that allows them to connect with professionals in various industries to strengthen networking skills and enhance postgraduate opportunities)
• Beyond VT (the final component of the Career Plan that provides graduating student-athletes with an opportunity to reflect on what’s beyond athletics at VT, develop tools to assist in transition, and learn how to leverage transferable skills to reach postgraduate goals).
The suits came from Reveal Suits, a company in Grand Prairie, Texas that specializes in high-end custom-made suits and blazers and whose clientele includes colleges and universities from around the nation. The Virginia Tech suit features a blazer with a white lining that includes the official maroon Virginia Tech logo.