GALLOWAY – Stockton University athletics student-athletes Susann Foley (Tabernacle/Seneca) and Darren Wan (Egg Harbor Twp./EHT) were among a group of 200 varsity student-athletes who attended the 2022 NCAA Career in Sports Forum June 2-5 at the NCAA National Office in Indianapolis.
The NCAA Sports Career Forum brought student-athletes together to discover and explore potential careers in sports. The program included keynote speakers, panels, and breakout discussions on a variety of topics designed to present an in-depth understanding of athletics as a career path.
The forum also allowed participants to network with their student-athlete peers as well as with professionals in sports-related fields.
Upon their return, Foley and Wan reflected on the experience.
Can you describe your experience at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum?
Foley: Going into the NCAA Sports Career Forum, I was excited and nervous. It was intimidating to be in a room of 200 student-athletes and not knowing what we were going to talk about or participate in. However, over the course of four days, I networked and was amazed by the openness, honesty and willingness to help of the professionals present.
Each speaker and panel provided insight into what it really takes to succeed in athletics. We were also placed in groups where more self-development took place. We talked about our strengths and weaknesses, as well as reflections on ourselves to work on our personal and professional development.
Wan: At first, I was overwhelmed by the forum because I didn’t really know what I was getting into. But then I was about to network and make friends with fellow student-athletes. And now I can say that I came out of the forum with more knowledge in leadership development, networking, career perspective, diversity and inclusion.
What was your favorite part of the NCAA Career in Sports Forum?
Foley: My favorite part of the forum was connecting with other student-athletes and meeting members of a college sports medicine team. Each athlete had a different goal as to why they attended the conference. Some were there as graduate students hoping to find a job, while others were young in their search and looking to get a better idea of career options.
Personally, I am interested in chiropractic and exercise prescription. Working with Brian Gerlach (University of Indianapolis) he was able to shape my career idea and help me create a new form of injury prevention through chiropractic adjustments and exercise prescription. I am currently applying to chiropractic programs and studying in hopes of passing the CSCS exam for strength and conditioning coaching.
Wan: My favorite part of the forum was hearing from the keynote speakers and panelists. They offered unique insight and experiences on a career in athletics as well as motivational speeches that empowered individuals
What did you learn from the NCAA Career in Sports Forum that could influence you in the future?
Foley: The forum has provided me with a new awareness of my strengths, embracing my individuality and the unabashed confidence it will take to succeed. As a woman pursuing a career in sports, it is obvious that there will be obstacles as it is a male dominated field. Listening to Dr. Lacee’ Carmon-Jones’ experiences as the only woman in her position in the NBA (Basketball Advancement Manager, Toronto Raptors), I was inspired by what she had to overcome.
Listening to the other speakers, panels and moderators of our personal reflections, I understand better that what sets me apart will only contribute to my future success. By conforming to what others do, you lose who you really are and what makes you unique. I am proud to have been selected to be part of this experience and moving forward I feel ready to create change in a career in athletics.
Wan: I learned a lot about new career paths and opportunities for me, especially that I didn’t know about before or didn’t see myself in. For example, I am now interested in roles related to the development of student-athletes and/or athletes as as well as academic advising to student-athletes.