Sport Management student, Mike Willie works with the Ryan Martin Foundation to establish wheelchair basketball at UConn. A recent clinic was covered by the Hartford Courant.
Congratulations to Charles D. T. Macaulay, who received the 2017 Outstanding Student Researcher Award from the Neag School of Education's Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs, Del Siegle last week.
Charles D. T. Macaulay is a graduate student in the sport management program who was nominated for the award by Joseph Cooper. Macaulay has authored or co-author three recent research articles, which were published in Sociology and Anthropology, Sport Management Review, and International Review for the Sociology of Sport.
Charles is a dedicated student who is committed to his research while also planning and facilitating the Beyond the Field Speaker Series over the last year.
For read more on the other recipients from the 2017 Neag Research Awards, please read the full story.
Two representatives from the Neag School of Education at UConn, Patricia Bellamy and Jenna Stone, were awarded the 2017 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement. The reception for the award winners was held on Nov. 14 to recognize these individuals for their exceptional dedication and significant contributions.
Patricia Bellamy, Assistant Director for Programs and Partnerships for Husky Sport, recently received the 2017 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement in a full-time staff position.
Patti began volunteering for Husky Sport, a program established through the Department of Educational Leadership in the Neag School of Education, during her undergraduate career in 2009. She said that her initial passion for working with Husky Sport, and the relationships that she built in doing so, ultimately led her to switch her career focus and pursue a Master’s Degree in social work.
In working with students similar to and different from her, Patti learned that to truly connect with someone, one must be willing to understand where and who they are, without forgetting about his or her personal experience.
“Meeting people where they are is a social work term that I think more and more industries are grasping, but it’s understanding where people are, learning from them, not trying to be the expert of their career paths and their history, just letting people lead, listening and understanding from that and growing from that,” Patti said.
After receiving the award, Patti said that she was so proud that her experiences are being recognized, especially because she is normally shy when it comes to sharing her own accomplishments.
“I smiled like crazy but I couldn’t believe it, it seriously had not even been on my mind,” she said.
Justin Evanovich, Managing Director of Husky Sport, said that the people and partners of Husky Sport benefit greatly from Patricia’s sustained leadership, caring support and positive energy.
“She shines in this work through both her ability to foster meaningful relationships, and her facilitation of effective systems in collaborative partnerships,” he said. “Patricia continues to positively empower others as part of her impactful leadership throughout all facets of Husky Sport.”
When asked about where she would like to see herself working in the future, Patti said that a few years ago she might have said that she would like to have her own program but Husky Sport seems to have changed that path for her.
“Everything for me starts with an experience, a relationship and connections, building connections with people and I don’t want just anything, I want to really enjoy it,” she said. “The next thing is going to have to be ten times more awesome, twenty times more awesome, for me to even consider.”
Jenna Stone, a senior Elementary Education major in the Neag School of Education, was awarded the 2017 Provost’s Award for Excellence in Public Engagement as an undergraduate student.
Jenna currently serves as the coordinator for Jumpstart within Community Outreach, but has volunteered with the program since her freshman year at UConn. One of her primary focuses in this position is to decrease the achievement gap in early childhood education while acting as a liaison between team leaders and student leaders in Community Outreach.
Jenna has learned while working with Jumpstart that she can act as a leader not only for preschool students, but for college students as well. After receiving the award this year, she said that she was more excited to share her experiences than to receive the recognition.
“Any time I get to share about the programs I’m involved with, I get excited,” Jenna said. “Service isn’t about the need to be recognized, but when you are it puts a big smile on your face.”
Not only is Jenna involved with Jumpstart, but she also serves as a volunteer for Husky Sport. Justin Evanovich said that Jenna possesses an extreme work ethic and a mature approach to managing her many endeavors.
“I’ve been fortunate to learn from Jenna about her work with Jumpstart, as well as her peer-and-programmatic leadership roles with Husky Sport, the Office of Community Outreach and the IB/M Neag Teacher Prep Program, to name only a few,” he said. “In her everyday life, Jenna impacts many as an active citizen. We at Husky Sport are excited to support her next steps at UConn and beyond.”
Upon graduation, Jenna said that she hopes to be working in either a first or third grade classroom or as a fifth or sixth grade math teacher. She said that ultimately, she hopes to find a school that is diverse and that encourages students to raise the bar every day.
Jenna mentioned that during her freshman year, she would have never expected to hold the Jumpstart coordinator position, or even serve as a volunteer coordinator as she did last year.
“I think when you’re passionate about a topic, and a program, you truly do give your everything and you love every minute of it,” she said. “That’s how Jumpstart makes me feel.”
Motivational Jumpstart interviews current master’s student, DeShon Foxx.
Sport Management’s Dr. Joseph Cooper featured in Daily Campus article covering UConn’s Day of Metonia on Nov. 8, 2017.
Written by: Patrick Rowley
My name is Patrick Rowley and I am a 20-year-old Sport Management major from Newtown, Conn. with an interest in data analytics in the sport industry. This summer, I was an intern with the University of Connecticut Athletic Administration, working for eight different sports teams during my time with the department. My office was located directly inside the Hugh S. Greer Fieldhouse in the middle of the UConn campus, directly adjacent to the Athletic Business Office. During my time working in the business office, I got to know the head of the athletic administration, Kim Gedney, quite well and she told me that she could use another intern this summer and asked if I would help.
The biggest aspect of my job this summer was helping with coach’s travel for recruiting and convention purposes. This includedfinding their preferred flight times, booking hotels and rental cars, handling travel reimbursements and making last minute adjustments for coaches when they need changes on the fly. However, this job was also interesting in terms of seeing what it is like to be on the bottom of the totem pole of sorts in an organization and seeing the eclectic nature of tasks that were passed down to me. This could be as mundane as walking across campus to drop off a form, helping determine how much money needs to be added to certain accounting lines in order to pay invoices and helping to choose and order apparel to give out at promotional golf tournaments. This job has truly given me an entire additional perspective of the sports industry and having both played and coached in the past, it was fascinating to see all of the grunt work that goes into holding game at the division one level. I have also made some tremendous connections in my office, other departments in UConn and among UConn’s incredibly talented coaching staff.
My internship with the UConn Athletic Administration helped me learn how to think on my feet and react to crises in a calm and timely manner. I learned a tremendous amount of information this summer and ultimately, I think that this experience was the one that will help me the most in the future. Although I loved interning in this office, I think that I want my future in athletics to be on the data analytics side, particularly for baseball. This is something I have been slowly realizing for years, but I wanted to try out many different potential paths before throwing myself into a specific field completely and I now think that I am ready for that. I have been in contact with the Baseball Info Solutions company, based out of Allentown, PA, and have reached a tentative agreement with management regarding an internship next summer that I cannot wait for.
My name is Kyle Caron and I am a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, having received my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. This past summer, I interned with The First Tee of Connecticut in Cromwell, Conn., this region’s chapter of the international First Tee organization. The First Tee is an organization that focuses on teaching the game of golf and instilling important life skills in young players. During my time there, I was able to gain experience in many aspects of running a non-profit organization such as marketing, financial development and community outreach.
For the first half of my internship, I worked in several community outreach efforts. This included going to different golf courses to teach clinics to children who may have not had access to the game otherwise as well as attending networking and marketing fairs to organize demo stations for kids to play in while I explained to their parents what The First Tee is all about. I also spent time volunteering at various tournaments throughout the state, as a representative of the organization, to help foster relationships with local golf clubs to attempt to spread the word about our programs and attract new students. I spent the second half of my internship working as a counselor for our Summer Camp program where I supervised campers and taught them ways and techniques to improve their game.
My time spent with The First Tee of Connecticut allowed me to learn more about what it takes to run a golf and youth development organization, specifically a non-profit one. As a non-profit organization targeted at kids who want to learn the game, I saw how creating relationships with other organizations in the community could be just as beneficial to an organization’s reputation as a large marketing campaign. I also saw the impact that sports can have on the development of a child’s life by teaching them ethics and values to live by such as respect, perseverance and integrity. Many of the kids who came up through The First Tee program are now successful college students with plenty of accolades and scholarships that reflect the character that our programs assisted in building. Because of the effects I saw due to children’s involvement with The First Tee, I would like to further pursue a career in sport-based youth development and try to make that same difference in the lives of future generations. Working with The First Tee of Connecticut was a valuable and enriching experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Written by: Maddy Hooper
My name is Maddy Hooper and I am from West Hartford, Conn. I did my summer internship at The First Tee of Connecticut, which is located in Cromwell on the grounds of TPC River Highlands. I first saw the position of Community Outreach Intern for this summer in one of the Sport Management weekly newsletters. I noticed it one day over Christmas break and immediately emailed Mark, my boss from this summer, and sent in my application. I interviewed for the position at the end of March and found out a week later that I gotten the position.
I did a lot of different things this summer. In my first few weeks before the kids came for the summer, we worked with children after school and completed tasks around the office. A few of the big projects that I completed during this time were reorganizing all of the closets and storage spaces in our building. The week before school got out was the week of the Travelers Championship. This was truly the busiest week of my life. We ran a ton of events that week and worked all over the course during the pro-am and tournament. This week was really cool for me because I met tons of important people in the golf world including the president of the PGA Paul Levy, and many professional golfers, such as Rory Mclroy and Paul Casey. Once school got out, I really began the work that I did this summer. For the remainder of the summer, I spent most of my time at different summer camps all over the state giving golf lessons. I went to places like Camp Courant, Channel 3 Kids Camp and Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.
My main takeaway from this summer is that it’s important to be helpful in every way possible. I became really close with everyone that I worked with and the full-time employees called me “the best intern ever.” I think they called me this because I was willing to do anything they asked me to do and did everything to the best of my ability, even if some days this was just sorting golf balls and moving cases of water. You can really leave your mark in a place by doing more then what is asked of you and making positive and friendly impressions. I hope to use the skills that I learned this summer and bring them with me as I pursue a career in non-profit youth development. The First Tee or any organization similar is where I would love to end up after graduation.
Collective Uplift and Sport Management Program hosted successful Race, Sport, and Activism Panel as covered by The Daily Campus.
Written by: Dr. Joseph Cooper
On September 1, 2016, before the NFL regular season game between the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers, Colin Kaepernick captured the nation’s attention by kneeling during the playing the of the national anthem as an act of protest against police brutality and social injustices in the United States (U.S.). Although, Kaepernick had chosen not to stand during the NFL pre-season games of the 2016-2017 season, the visibility of the nationally televised Thursday night game generated a broader national conversation on activism and sport. Since Kaepernick’s initial kneel, there ongoing debates and discussions about protests, patriotism, police brutality, politics, and power relations in the U.S. society. These conversations have occurred everywhere from mainstream news shows, internet blogs, coffee shops, late night comedy shows, sports shows, schools, barbershops and beauty salons, political speeches, town halls, and community spaces.
On October 18, 2017, the UConn campus community extended this dialogue by engaging in a formal conversation on the topic of “Race, Sport, and Activism.” This event was co-sponsored by the Collective Uplift student organization, UConn Athletics Department, and UConn Sport Management Program. The aim of the event was to facilitate a healthy discussion on how race, sport, and activism have been historically and contemporarily intertwined and contributed to positive social progress. Dr. Joseph Cooper, Assistant Professor in Sport Management, was the lead organizer and moderator for the event. According to Cooper, the event provided
“A much needed concerted space for the campus to focus on the ways in which sport and athletes use their respective platforms to communicate messages about broader social issues and ignite positive change in society.”
The panel began with an evocative video of a spoken word artist named Tariq Touré who delivered a powerful poem titled “For the Love the Game.” The poem provided illustrative descriptions of contested sporting spaces that reinforce damaging power relationships between White male economic elites (i.e., NFL owners) and Black male laborers (i.e., a majority of NFL players) , reflect persisting racial inequalities, and fosters an apolitical culture that suppresses Blacks’ engagement in political and social justice engagement. Following the video, Cooper highlighted the historical legacy of activism efforts through sport for race-related social justice causes. Within this description, different types of activism were presented including symbolic, scholarly/educational, grassroots, sport-based, economic, political, legal, media, and music and art. Each of the aforementioned types of activism have been utilized by Black athletes and institutions redress injustices in society. In addition, the historical overview connected sport activism dating back to the late 1800s to the most recent acts of activism in the 21st century.
Following the historical overview, three videos of Colin Kaepernick’s initial post-game explanation of why he chose to take a knee, President Trump’s recent comments about how he feels NFL owners should respond to players who choose not to stand for the anthem, and President Obama’s response to a military service member who inquired about his feelings about the NFL anthem protests were presented. After the videos, the six panelists were introduced. The six panelists included
- Deshon Foxx – current graduate student in the UConn Sport Management program, UConn alumnus (’14 in Sociology), former UConn football player (2010-2014)), and former NFL player (2014-2017)
- Angelo Pruitt – current Financial Advisor for Merrill Edge, UConn alumnus (’15 in Economics), and former UConn football player (2010-2015)
- Tyrae Sims – current undergraduate student in the UConn Sport Management program and former UConn football player (2013-2016)
- Kelli Thomas – current undergraduate student in Human Development and Family Studies and current track and field athlete (2013-present)
- Folorunso Fatukasi – UConn alumnus (’17 in Sociology) and current UConn football player (2013-present)
- Aaron Garland – current undergraduate student in Political Science and current UConn football player (2015-2017)
The panelists were asked questions regarding their perspectives on the videos of Kaepernick, President Trump, and President Obama as well as their thoughts on athletes engaging in activism and specific recommendations that felt would contribute to positive change in society.
Pruitt emphasized how his heightened social consciousness during the latter stages of and following his athletic career influenced his perceptions of activism through sport. He said
“Your sport is what you play. It is not who you are.”
In his opinion, although he did not engage in activism during his playing career, if he could go back knowing what he knows now he would encourage more activism among current athletes. Foxx reflected on his NFL career when he was a member of the Seattle Seahawks immediately following Kaepernick’s activism. He described how he and his teammates agreed locking arms as a team would send a powerful message about unity while expressing support for Kaepernick. He also highlighted the real fear that comes with a lack of job security as a professional athlete when considering to engage in activism. However, he explained how his increased social consciousness throughout his playing career has motivated him to encourage athletes using their platform to foster positive change in society.
Sims expressed the need for athletes challenge power systems that suppress their authentic identities. He explained how athletes are not disconnected from social injustices occurring in the broader society and being educated on these issues is an important first step. Specifically, he referenced how in his hometown community, police brutality and other offenses were not uncommon and thus athletes like himself who are closely connected to these issues feel more compelled to speak out and do anything they can to address these issues. Thomas provided an important lens as a Black woman athlete and described how often times she feels she does not have the same influence as her same race male counterparts in more high profile sports (football and basketball). She explained the importance of athletes using a range of platforms to challenge social injustice outside of sport.
Fatukasi offered an insightful perspective on being a current college athlete and the legitimate fears associated with engaging in activism. Similar to Foxx, Fatukasi has NFL aspirations and said engaging in activism as a current player could hinder his chances of achieving his professional goals. He also emphasized the importance of athletes’ developing themselves holistically and accessing support systems to assist them with balancing difficult decisions about how to promote social change while minimizing the adverse impact on their sport aspirations. Garland expressed the power of collective efforts when seeking to address social injustices. He described how pursuing these efforts alone can be challenging and gaining the support and involvement of an entire team or a group of people is a way to achieve more impactful change. The panel concluded with Q&A from the audience.
The event was well-attended with over 60 attendees and media coverage from CTN and university based media outlets. Cooper said he hopes this is event serves as
“One more step forward within a larger legacy of social justice efforts to create more reflection, education, empowerment, and action that leads to positive changes in our society.”
For those who attended this event and heard from the panelists, it is clear this message resonated loud and clear.
Connecticut Network covered the full discussion, click here to listen in.