Career options for student athletes


Blacksburg, Va,. Oct. 16–Students gather in the presidential suite in Lane Stadium for Career Jumpstart. Athletes had the opportunity to meet with workers from across the New River Valley to learn about life in the “real world.” Photo: Brady Hess

by Brady Hess–

Scott Morgan writes that in every sport other than baseball, less than two percent of collegiate athletes turn pro. At Virginia Tech, the Office of Student-Athlete Development within the Athletic Department has started Career Jumpstart to show student-athletes their options after their playing days are over.

According to, the “Career Jumpstart provides opportunities for Hokie student-athletes to enhance career development skills, while interacting with alumni and professionals to make connections, learning about specific career fields, and enhancing their networking skills.”

Whether it is getting a feel for what the path is to become a medical professional or learning to change four tires on a racecar, a wide variety of work was on display in Lane Stadium.

Billy Hardee, a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine at the Community Health Center of the New River Valley, said it was encouraging to see young athletes seeking out their options in the workforce.
The admiration also came from the student-athletes for their new colleagues.

“Tonight was really awesome,” said Mandy Powers, a senior on the Virginia Tech volleyball team. “We just had a great time meeting so many people from so many different companies.”

Like Hardee, other employers sang high praises of Virginia Tech for hosting an event of this nature for its athletes, but they also sang high praises for the student-athletes inquiring about their futures.

Kim Adams, the director of SOX and accounting policy at Union Bank & Trust, is also an alumnus of Virginia Tech. Adams said that she has always tried to give back to the school in which she attended and that Career Jumpstart provided another way for her to do just that.

“I never had the opportunity to do something like this when I was a student-athlete here,” said Dr. Billy Hardee, a former Virginia Tech student-athlete. “It’s great that this is very much a part of Virginia Tech and their athletic department.”

Hardee discusses his experiences with the event in the audio slideshow below.

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