By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Approximately 150 Willamette University student-athletes attended the Professional Development Night sponsored by the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee on Monday, March 12 at the CAT Cavern. Twenty professionals from Salem and Portland answered questions about their jobs and discussed their career paths. Thirteen of the presenters were Willamette alumni. SAAC partnered with Career Services at Willamette to organize the event.
The professionals were grouped into seven career communities. The communities were: Sales/Finance/Business; Creative Arts, Media and Communications; Healthcare; Natural Resources and Sustainability; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); Education, Counseling, Training and Youth Development; and Public Service/Government.
Each student-athlete was able to meet with groups of panelists during a series of speed networking sessions followed by a much longer open networking session. All participants were required to arrive in professional dress.
"This event was a huge success thanks to the 20 professionals who volunteered their time and the 150 student-athletes who made time to attend," Willamette SAAC Advisor Leslie Shevlin said. "Mandy Devereux, director of Career Services at Willamette, as our emcee for the evening and helped the event flow from conversation to conversation. The student-athletes asked good questions and I even heard a few mentorships being set up. I look forward to how we can make this an even more successful event in the future.
Panelists were (sports played at Willamette in parentheses when applicable):
Matt Benjamin '02, '05 MBA (football/baseball) - Northwestern Mutual
Dan Maslankik '09, '10 MBA (baseball) - Nike
Juliet Valdez - Willamette MBA Director of Recruitment
Reuben White '17 (swimming) - Piper Jaffray
Darrell Fuller '88 - Lobbyist and Owner of Fuller Representation
Morgan Smith '03, '07 JD (football) - County counsel for Polk County, Oregon
J.R. Tarabocchia - Willamette Law Director of Recruitment and Student Activities
Education, Counseling, Training and Youth Development
Genesis Williams '01, '03 MAT (softball) - Instructional Coach at Judson Middle School
Rob Schoepper '01, '02 MAT (football) - McKay High School Principal
Emilio Solano ''09 (baseball) - Executive Director of Willamette Academy
Gwen Shulze '10 (swimming) - Physical Therapist at Therapeutic Associates, Lake Oswego
Gloria Summers - Exercise Physiologist, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab at Salem Health
Brian Gilmore '04 (baseball) - Dentist at Gilmore Family Dentistry, Ramsay Dental Group
Kelly Gilmore '07 (baseball) - Dentist at Gilmore Family Dentistry, Arrow Dental public clinic
Mari Gilmore '07 (soccer) - Genetic Counselor with Kaiser Permanente Northwest
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Rachel Pirot - Engineering/Slope Stability Geologist with Weyerhaeuser
Tim Shevlin - Director of Sales and Marketing for Geobrugg North America
Creative Arts, Media and Communications
Chris Sabato - Willamette University Assistant Athletics Director, Media
Devin Bales '15 (baseball) - Willamette University Alumni and Parent Relations Associate
Natural Resources and Sustainability
David Muller - Founding Member/Membership Coordinator of Sport & Sustainability International