GAINING THE COMPETITIVE EDGE
By Austin Dunson '16 | Vol. 2 Issue 1
We may have all dreamed of playing in the pros, but the reality of sports is that it isn’t all about the big lights and thousands of screaming fans. There's more to gameday than tickets, tailgates and your favorite jersey, and Texas A&M sport management students get to experience all of it.
As a part of their coursework, sport management majors are provided with a capstone experience to apply what they learned in the classroom in a professional setting. For one Aggie, this experience exceeded all expectations.
"When I got the call, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity," said Haley Kovar ’15, sport management major.
Haley interned with the Houston Texans organization in the Fall 2014 semester, and she found that the experience was like no other. The internship shaped her career goals and brought along challenges she never thought she would face.
"I thought it was going to be a lot easier... I was surprised how much manual labor goes into it. Working in sports isn’t always glamorous; you do it because you love it."
Being from a small town, Kovar lived a sports lover’s dream by participating in almost every sport that was available to her. She took a liking to golf and had opportunities to pursue it after high school, but chose to chase her career goals at Texas A&M instead.
"I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, but I always knew that sports was my passion… I thought I would get lost in the crowd at Texas A&M, but I couldn’t have been more wrong."
Kovar felt at home in Aggieland with the help of her peers and professors. Faculty like former lawyer and sports agent, Paul Batista, JD, and internship coordinator, Shane Hudson, PhD, coach students like Kovar through the decision-making process of choosing an internship.
"Dr. Hudson and Dr. Batista were the biggest influences and mentors when I was choosing an internship. I couldn’t have done it without them."
The Aggie Family is full of connections and mentors outside of the classroom, as well. Kovar attributes her successes to senior vice president of External Affairs for the Cotton Bowl, Michael Konradi ’99.
"Mr. Konradi helped open a lot of doors for me. It’s unreal to me that someone in his position was willing to help a student find their way in this field. I’m so thankful."
Kovar isn’t the only Aggie experiencing the results of caring mentors. Benjamin Knighton ’13 gives praise to Professor Lydia Dubuisson, MS, for giving him the tools to succeed in his internship with local baseball club, The Brazos Valley Bombers.
"She challenged us to think outside of the box and even had us present our ideas to some of the heads of the Texas A&M Athletic Department," Knighton said. "Being able to see our work come to life like that was an awesome experience."
But it’s not just the students who reap the benefits of these programs. Professors like Dubuisson see their lives changing from working with their students.
"My students are my favorite part of my job hands down," Dubuisson said. "I’ll often catch myself laughing at something funny they said, or basking in absolute pride at their achievements or getting choked up over a struggle they are experiencing. It’s hard to imagine not having crossed paths with so many of these amazing people who, in reality, made an even bigger impact on me."