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CCU Atheneum: Recreation and sport management students Aaron Kowalewski, Brianna Arias, Morgan Rhine and Katherin Thorn volunteered for a week during the Monday After the Masters Celebrity Golf Pro-Am.
Recreation and sport management students Aaron Kowalewski, Brianna Arias, Morgan Rhine and Katherin Thorn volunteered for a week during the Monday After the Masters Celebrity Golf Pro-Am.

Monday After the Masters was a win-win-win for CCU

by Caroline P. Rohr
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“She’s going to get a job out of this.”

These words are music to any college student’s ears, and they were recently spoken to four Coastal Carolina University students this month who took advantage of a unique opportunity to gain experience in their field.

Katherine Thorn, Aaron Kowalewski, Brianna Arias and Morgan Rhine, all recreation and sport management (RSM) majors, spent a week earlier in April working with Empire Sport Management setting up and running the popular Monday After the Masters Celebrity Golf pro-am event held annually in Myrtle Beach.

Assistant professor Nick Schlereth coordinated the opportunity for the students after helping former RSM student Alexis Liscio land a spot as an Orange Bowl Ambassador last year. He has been on the lookout for student involvement opportunities ever since.

“I try to get students involved as much as I can,” he said. “We strive to make a difference for our students and give them the best experience possible. I was aware of Monday After the Masters, so I reached out to Empire Sport Management, and they said they wanted students involved.”

The opportunity was available to all 350 RSM majors, who had to fill out an application and turn it in along with a resume and detailed cover letter about how this experience would help them move forward.

Thorn, as a freshman, is still undecided about her career path after she graduates, but the opportunity was valuable for her, nonetheless.

“The experience really opened my eyes to the world of event planning and event marketing, which I am definitely interested in pursuing now,” she said. “Students should take advantage of all the opportunities they can. This was one of the best experiences of my life!”

Rhine wants to work in operations and sports event management after graduation, so the experience had extreme value for her, she said.

“I got hands-on experience with exactly what I hope to do when I graduate. I was reassured that this is what I want to do with my future!”

Despite the golf pro-am being canceled around 11:30 a.m. due to the weather on April 9, the students were significantly involved in all stages of planning. During the week leading up to the event, the students cleared their schedules outside of classes to work with ESM on sponsorship activation, setting up the course, VIP gifting, event logistics and more.

“ESM said they wanted to give the students a real preview of what it’s like to be in event management,” Schlereth said, “plus, they needed the help! We want them to see if it is a possible career they want to pursue, and one of the students has already been invited to do more things with ESM.”

Thorn echoed those sentiments. “I got lots of emails and phone numbers for possible opportunities for the future, and a standing invitation for the event next year,” she said. Rhine also came away with three contacts in the sports industry and has since reached out to volunteer at another event.

The networking opportunities turned out to be just as valuable as the work experience. During the event, Arias started talking to someone there who ended up being the vice president of ESM. Through their conversation, they realized they both had a connection to lacrosse, and he offered her the opportunity to work a lacrosse event with ESM this August at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.

“She didn’t even know who she was talking to, but because she took the initiative and wasn’t afraid of it, she got a job out of it,” Schlereth said. “It takes the experiences that you put in while you’re in school to give you a step up on your competition. You can’t be afraid of it. It was a big learning curve for them to see how it all works, but I was working alongside them and guiding them, so it was a great overall experience, including for me.”

Professor wins. Students win. Businesses win.

 

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