Network provides internships for student athletes

By Megan Parker, Transcript Correspondent

A new opportunity has arisen for Ohio Wesleyan student athletes who are looking for internships.

Athlete Network is a website dedicated to helping student athletes make career connections. It includes information about internships, graduate programs and other networking outlets.

“Athletes are at their best when they are in a competitive environment that propels that spirit,” said Chris Smith, founder and CEO of Athlete Network, on the website. “We feel we are able to positively impact athletes’ quality of life in three key areas: careers, networking and content.”

OWU freshman Tyler Mansfield, who is on the swim team and track and field team, began working as an intern for Athlete Network this spring.

“I have a series of tasks to complete every month, anywhere from four to five tasks, and basically it’s just getting the word out about the website … I’ve had meetings with Rock Jones and the athletic director, just so we can try and get the whole campus involved with it because it’s a really good networking site,” Mans eld said. Internships are becoming increasingly important, and only 38.6 percent of students who graduated college in 2014 were hired without having prior internship experience, according toU.S. News & World Report.

Students who use Athlete Network to find internships receive a direct response from the companies to which they applied 84 percent of the time, according to Athlete Network.

“It’s definitely helpful for nding connections in the field that you want to do, because companies have profiles on there and they have recruiters that you can contact. So, if someone wanted to get a summer internship for Enterprise, they could do that through the site,” Mansfield said. “Being on the site lets them know that you’re serious about a job offer.”

In order to work as an on-campus intern for Athlete Network, like Mansfield, a student can sign up for the site and apply from there. Benefits of the on-campus internship include college credit hours, personal introductions to potential employers and incentives like clothing and gift cards, according to Athlete Network.

Beyond helping with internships, Athlete Network offers content including advice on dieting and working out, athletes’ personal stories about their sports and opinion pieces about sports and school. The site also connects student athletes with similar interests and those who go to the same school.

Summer internships still available thanks to grant

With the school year winding down, many Ohio Wesleyan students are looking for summer internships.

In August of 2014, OWU career services received The Great Lakes Career Ready Internship Grant for summer internships of $133,333 from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation. This grant was used to help students with financial needs.

“We’re excited and appreciative for this grant and the potential it creates for our students,” said Director of Career Services Leslie J. Melton in a press release when the grant was announced.

Now that money is available to more students looking to gain experience over the break. This is in large part thanks to the additional donations of two OWU alumni.

“Up until mid-March we were really limited in the number of students who could benefit from the dollars,” said internship coordinator Jill Walters. “We were able to change that a little bit so that the money could be available to more students.”

Walters said that this has recently created a buzz about internships.

“Now we’ve been sending all kinds of emails and trying to get folks interested because the group of eligible students is a lot larger,” Walters said.

The number of quality applications turned in by students seeking internships has grown since then according to Walters.

Even students who have already accepted unpaid internships can seek help from career services to change it to a paid one.

“We were able to reach out to those employers and say ‘hey there would you be interested in partnering, the student is eligible for grant dollars, we would love to pay their salary while their participating in an unpaid internship with you,’” Walters explained.

This was another thing career services were unable to initially do when the grant money was first received.

Internships made available by career services range from locations in Ohio, all the way to Texas, with many others in between. Students can work in fields that include: music, journalism, zoology, psychology, politics and government, business and fitness.

“It’s a really nice mix, something that was really important to our office,” Walters said.