Olympic panelists and job fair featured at Sport Management conference


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Jeff Quinn, Assistant Football Coach and Senior Offensive Analyst at Notre Dame, speaks with students after his presentation at the Central Michigan University SMAC on Feb. 25 in the Bovee University Center Auditorium.

The seventh annual Sport Management Association Conference allowed 120 students to learn about what their job prospects truly entail.

The conference was started by Central Michigan University alumni Nathan Kopp. His goal was to allow students and professionals in the sports industry to connect and learn from each other.

The two-day event was put on in the auditorium of the Bovee University Center by a group of 20 students led by Holland senior Rachael Starr and Dearborn senior Sara Forystek. 

Starr and Forystek are president and vice president, respectively, of the Sport Management Association registered student organization.

The event brought 16 speakers from the industry, many of which are CMU alumni or have had worked at CMU in the past.

The talking points of the speakers involved their college experience, getting into the sports industry, how they pick and choose interns and what students can do to further their sports experience.

There was a panel of speakers involved with the Olympics moderated by University Recreation Vice President Stan Shingles.

Panelists discussed the recent 2016 Olympics in Rio, adapting to the culture of other countries, the political aspect, the steps taken after a city wins a bid to host the games and where to look for internships for Team USA.

A big talking point for Kyle McKinnis, manager of Paralympic Sport Development for the United States Olympic Committee, was awareness of the Paralympics and the true meaning behind the games.

“’Para means parallel," McKinnis said. "We are in the same venue, playing the same sports, it just happens two weeks afterward."

A career fair was also held during the conference.

“I liked the career fair,” said Julia Henderson, a Grosse Pointe Senior, “the companies were presenting both internship and full-time opportunities.”

Companies that participated in the career fair included Minor League Baseball team Great Lakes Loons, Mount Pleasant Parks and Recreation and Detroit Red Wings affiliate team Toledo Walleye.

“You don’t have to be a sport management major to be able to enjoy the assets of the conference. (Different Majors) can all be applied to sports,” Starr said.

Forystek was pleased with the event, which was attended by roughly 120 students, Starr said.

“There was a bigger turnout than we thought and all of the speakers provided great insight,” Forystek said.

When it comes to how they plan to do next time, the co-chairs said they want to reach out to more majors. They also say they will survey opinions from the attendees and the speakers. “We will see what they think and go from there,” says Forystek.

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