Thursday, October 29, 2015

One-on-One: L. Bernal-Wood

Let me have the pleasure of introducing this fine young woman to you! Her name is Lisa, and she is an amazing wife, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, friend and so much more (not just because she's my cousin!). Her and I share very similar passions, a few of them being football and student-athletes. She's got some great insight to share with you as it pertains to being a student-athlete or being surrounded by a student-athlete and coach!
Q // How did meeting your husband and your Master's Thesis play a part in your passion for sports and student-athletes?
As a football wife, I stay involved in football by helping my husband with recruitment, tutoring, campus visits, etc. It is important that we are here to help our student-athletes. We do this because we want our students to succeed - in and out of the classroom. It is hard to see talented youth be turned away from their football dreams, losing their football scholarship, or being unable to graduate after their eligibility has expired because they do not have the grades. 
Somehow, student-athletes are being lost in the process of grades and games. I wanted to study ways to increase student-athlete football graduation rates. I focused specifically on football because studies have shown that student-athletes who participate in high revenue sports (such as football) had lower cognitive outcomes and learning benefits than other students and even other student-athletes. This special student population will dedicate so much time to their sport, and it is their academics that takes a back seat to the sport, and sometimes it is their academic career that pays the price.
Q // What tips can you share with student-athletes that you wish someone told you in college?
I wish someone told me - go to the career center the first semester you are on campus! Make sure you LIKE or even LOVE the career you are in because you are going to be doing it for a long time. Study and get your degree - you are paying lots of money to get smarter... so get smarter!!
Q // How might students prepare best for post-graduation?
Try to work (or at least intern) while you are in college in your field because today employers are looking for candidates that have education AND experience. Be the candidate that has both!! As a student, we focus on being just that - a student. We get tunnel vision and don't think outside of our schooling and sport. Although some degrees require internship hours to graduate, not all majors do. Internship hours are great because they not only get you the experience you need, but most of the time you can get college credits for your internship hours - talk to your academic advisor about it!!
Lisa has some GREAT points that I think can benefit from student-athletes or students attending college. I think there needs to be an emphasis on what life will be like post-college. There's nothing wrong with taking the time you need to explore your passions before jumping into a job!

Do you have any tips you would like to share for college students during and after college regarding a future in their career?

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