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Internship: Penn State Athletics
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Aaron Nadolsky

Hometown: Altoona, PA
Major: Communication, Arts, and Sciences
Minor: Sociology

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I learned of this opportunity through my former internship with Penn State Cross Country Coach Beth Alford-Sullivan, who suggested it would be a good idea to intern with the Director of Operations of Penn State Athletics to get a better understanding of the administrative portion of coaching as a career.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

My experience was actually a lot of fun and very educational. My work days were often split up due to a constantly changing schedule. Some days I would be working in the office. This could include filing papers, doing projects for the coaches, researching prospective recruits, and many other tasks that are essential to maintaining an athletic program. One specific project I worked on was compiling a play list that was both popular and appropriate for collegiate and high school track meets. Another project I worked on was compiling a spreadsheet of past qualification requirements to the NCAA championships, school records, and qualification standards to make national teams. Other days, I would attend meetings, observe our Director of Operations (Ryan Foster) in action as he would typically be the one who spoke to the Track and Field team about details on upcoming competition, gear distribution, and other organizational information. The Director of Operations position at a major Division 1 athletic program is a fun and face paced work environment that is constantly changing and keeping me on my toes.

"I had some major projects that I worked on sporadically throughout the semester for my internship that really forced me to manage my time well to meet deadlines. This was challenging at times, but I feel it really prepared me well for a future career in this field."

How did this experience impact you academically?

Being in my final semester, I had the freedom to take online elective classes, so most of my academic commitments were online only. This allowed me to really immerse myself in the internship during the day, continue with my athletics, and focus on my schooling in the evenings. However, I did have some major projects that I worked on sporadically throughout the semester for my internship that really forced me to manage my time well to meet deadlines. This was challenging at times, but I feel it really prepared me well for a future career in this field if I am fortunate enough to find a position in athletics after I graduate in a few weeks.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

I have been pursuing a career in athletics at the university level. Preferably I would love to coach track and field at the Division 1 level, but the reality is it is tough to immediately break into that type of position right out of college. Usually, one must start at a smaller university or even a high school, gain experience, and then eventually work their way up the ranks to a Division 1 program. This reality allowed me to broaden my career search to other positions within collegiate athletics, which include academic athletic advisers, director of operations, and recruiting coordinators. As I would love a career at a university within their athletic department, I am open to all career opportunities at this time, and I have been actively going to career fairs and seeking other career fields as well.

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