Athletes, alumni connect

The Yale Athletics Department announced last week the creation of a program that will help Yale athletes to better plan their futures after they leave the athletic field.

The Department of Athletics Outreach Office is working to develop a database, called the Career Network, that will match current and recently graduated Yale student-athletes with graduated student-athletes and athletic supporters.

“We’re assembling an internal database of alumni who want to establish themselves as resources and who understand the undergraduate experience and the pressures a student athlete has,” Yale Athletics Development and Outreach Assistant Bryant Blount said.

The graduated student-athletes and athletic supporters will serve as mentors for the undergraduates and help them prepare for the transition from college athletics to the working world, Blount said.

The alumni athletic supporters are members from associations that correspond to each of Yale’s 35 varsity teams.Mentors will provide support for students by giving them advice, discussing career options, letting them shadow their jobs, giving them summer internships and even employing them full-time, Blount added.

To get involved with the program, prospective mentors have to go to the Career Network page on the Yale Athletics Web site and fill out basic information about themselves as well as the sports they played while they were undergraduates and how they would like to provide assistance.

The coaches of individual sports teams will then be given a list of mentors associated with their particular sports and can match them to interested prospective mentees based on their professional interests, Blount said.

Since the announcement just over a week ago, 500 people have signed on as mentors, 97 percent of whom are former athletes, according to Blount.

“I’d love to have 2,000 within a month,” he said. “We have about 15,000 people connected to the [Yale Alumni Sports Associations]. I’d hope to get them all involved as mentors.”

Current student-athletes and their coaches have not yet been directly informed about the Career Network database, but Blount hopes that this will happen within the next couple of weeks.

Though few student-athletes interviewed knew about the program, they are receptive to the idea.

Football player Bryan Farris ’12 said that he thought the program would help him because he does not know much about his professional interests at present.

“It would help with networking and it’s a great opportunity to see what it is like to work in different fields,” he said.

Blount said that he thought the program would be useful for underclassmen as well as upperclassmen.

“I don’t think it’s a specific program for just upperclassmen,” he said. “Underclassmen could use it for advice about what’s out there and juniors and seniors are looking to get employed.”

However, varsity softball player Jacqueline Manzer ’13 said that she could not see herself using the program in her freshman year of college because she has not yet chosen a specific career direction at this point in time.

“Getting a mentor wouldn’t be beneficial to me now,” she said. “I’m not one of those people driven in a specific direction at this point in time.”

The Career Network page on the Yale Athletics Web site invites Yale Athletes to make an appointment to speak with a Yale Athletics Alumni Development staff member to get involved with the networking resource.

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