Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa Student-Athlete Academic Services is in its first year conducting the Hawkeye Professional and Career Exposure (P.A.C.E) program, an initiative designed to give student-athletes a chance to gain experience in their career fields and learn from professionals.
A spin-off from the Hawkeye Health Career and Research Exposure (C.A.R.E), a program UI Academic Services started three years ago to arrange for pre-med student-athletes to shadow medical professionals, P.A.C.E was implemented to assist all Hawkeyes, from business majors to open majors.
The Hawkeye Health C.A.R.E. program matches student-athletes with doctors and other health care professionals to conduct informational interviews and shadowing experiences at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) and private practices and labs in Iowa City and Coralville. “Three years ago, the pilot program included 3 student-athletes, and this summer we have over 40 participants.” – Kara Park, Senior Associate Director for Student-Athlete Academic Services.
The success of Hawkeye Health C.A.R.E led to the creation of the P.A.C.E program.
“We thought to ourselves, ‘What about the rest of our student-athletes who are not going into med-school? What can we do for them?'” Park said.
Then the P.A.C.E program was born. With 15 students currently enrolled, they are at the halfway point of the high impact, eight-week summer program.
“It’s a great experience because I’m able to get real world exposure and make sure this is what I want to do,” said freshman gymnast, Jake Brodarzon.
Because many student-athletes are busy with class, practice, homework, traveling, and more during the traditional school year, they rarely have the opportunity to gain work experience during their time in collegiate athletics. Park and Andy Winkelmann, Director of Educational Programs, determined the summer was the best time to run these courses.
“Summer is a great time not only to workout and take classes, but to also have open time to meet with contacts in your career interest and shadow them,” Park said.
“We are modeling it after Health C.A.R.E, but it looks a little different in that these students are either open majors or have had no experience in the job they think they want to go into.”
Every week has had a different theme, from learning strengths and weaknesses, to bolstering their social media presence. It has all led up to meeting the business professionals they want to shadow.
Students met four Mondays in June to discuss their strenths, career interests, build their resume and LinkedIn accounts, as well as discuss the ins and outs of internships and professionalism. “We then have a chance to shadow business professionals, and that is the main thing about this program, getting exposure in the real world.” said junior men’s gymnast, Andrew Botto.
The professionals range from connections made by Park and Winkelmann, to former student-athletes who have started their own businesses in the area.
“We had some great connections from the Pomerantz Career Center and others that have strong connections with the university,” Park said. “We relied on them first, and just by word of mouth people are saying they want to get involved.”
As the program continues and grows, Student-Athlete Academic Services continues to look for more ways to provide opportunities for student-athletes looking gain work experience.