Ally Burr starts series of career readiness events on campus

Since the beginning of college athletics, the career transition process for student athletes has always been a somewhat difficult one. The lives of student athletes during their four to five years spent in college are extremely busy and most times are set aside from the lives of non-student athletes because of all the time commitments. This includes up to 20 hours of practices and workouts per week in season, travel for away games, all the meetings and film sessions, not to mention time and effort dealing with injuries and recovery.

Although it seems like there are so many professional athletes, the reality is that your chances of going pro are so extremely small. Most numbers indicate that you have less than a five percent chance of being drafted into the NBA, WNBA, NFL, etc.

The unfortunate reality is that student athletes, unlike their non-athlete peers, do not have near enough time to put forth towards preparing for a career or going through pro development experiences, such as internships. Internships most always require large chunks of time away from campus which is nearly impossible for an athlete to accomplish.

Many athletic programs with large budgets have life skills or career development programs. These programs do not always give the student athlete career transition training that will prepare them for later down the road. If compared, other students (non-athletes) have much more time to take on internships and devote the needed time during the year and summer towards their career goals. With that being said, student athletes are at a decided disadvantage and face an uphill struggle in transitioning into their career from college sports compared to the general student body. In an effort to combat some of these difficulties at Washburn, senior tennis player Ally Burr has worked with assistant athletic director Brittany Lauritsen to provide some on campus programming to help student athletes begin preparing for a career now.

Burr states, “It became apparent to me that student athletes are a population of students that have not placed much emphasis on preparing for a successful career after college, solely because the time commitment that it takes to be a student athlete is so tolling. Many student athletes have not had someone to tell them to start now, and I know that because I would not have started career development unless someone had stepped into my life and told me.”

Burr has participated in several career development programs and conferences, including one with the U.S. Olympic Committee and several at Washburn.

“I have been a part of several really impactful programs at Washburn, one being with the Leadership Institute”, Burr says.

With these thoughts in mind and Burr’s aspirations to someday work in collegiate athletic administration, she brought an idea forward to Lauritsen.

“Basically, the idea was to provide programming to help student athletes begin preparing for a career now”, Burr says.

Last week, Washburn hosted its annual fall career fair in Lee Arena. The day before there was an event held in the Union where students could take their resumes to professionals and have help to perfect them before taking them to potential employers at the career fair. The event was the first event put on that came from Burr’s ideas.

“That is where this first career readiness event came into the picture. The event last Tuesday was the first of hopefully many that allow student athletes to have their resumes edited and hear networking tips from professionals within the athletic department and the university”, Burr says.

Burr worked with Brittany Lauritsen, who is one of the Assistant Athletic Directors and the Senior Woman Administrator. Her job is with compliance, which means she is making sure that everything that has to do with sports on campus is being done in conjunction with the NCAA rules.

Lauritsen is certainly familiar with the struggles of being a student athlete. She played soccer in college while majoring in biology before switching and going to law school before her junior year.

Lauritsen brings to light the importance of people going the extra mile and seeking out opportunities to help themselves be successful.

“People who are willing to go the extra mile, for sure. People who are willing to seek out opportunity… you have to, because the kind of world of athletics is inherently competitive you can’t sit back on your heels, at all”, Lauritsen says.

She stated that was the biggest trait looked for in someone who is looking to go into the athletic administration field. This is certainly what Burr has done in creating these events to help athletes start preparing for life after sports right now.

Several more of these career readiness events will take place this year so be on the lookout for them across campus.