TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The office of Student-Athlete Development strives to establish a commitment to the total growth and development of each student-athlete. After a successful 2018-19 academic year where student-athletes took advantage of 25 different programs, the department will look to continue to produce even more opportunities this season.
Embracing the mantra to “Serve, Lead, and Live Unconquered,” the department focused on the areas of leadership development, career readiness, personal development, professioNOLE Networking and community service in 2018-19 and saw drastic improvements.
“As a department, it’s our obligation to ensure we equip our student-athletes with the resources to launch their professional careers,” Assistant Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Development Ashton Henderson said. “We had some great success last year and we’re looking forward to another productive year.”
In May of 2019, 14 student-athletes traveled to Orlando, Florida where they had the opportunity to connect with internal stakeholders to create networking spaces and learn more about their fields of interest after the conclusion of their athletic careers.
The department hosted its first annual engagement social in March of 2019, which served as a career fair where student-athletes interacted with businesses across the country. The event was a huge success with over 100 FSU athletes in attendance in search of career opportunities.
Building off that professional development success, Adulting #101 is a program that started this fall in order to get student-athletes ready for their careers following graduation. The program is designed to work in cooperation with Florida State’s Career Center to acquaint students with job search process, provide networking and ultimately assist with the end goal of job placement.
The second workshop of the semester will be held on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m.
“This event will expose our student-athletes to various career sectors,” Henderson said. “It gets our student-athletes thinking about what’s next after their sport.”
Another area that saw improvement in 2018-19 was leadership development, offering four programs. The Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC) has been in place at FSU for over 15 years and is made up of student-athletes from every sports team and spirit group. In addition to SAAC, other programs such as WILD Women and REAL Men meet every week in order to provide unique opportunities to develop leadership skills.
Fabiana Ingram, a four-year member of the women’s swimming and diving team and Darvin Taylor II, a former football student-athlete, took advantage of the programs offered, especially as a senior and now act as graduate assistants.
“Athletics is a unique environment to foster the interpersonal skills that strengthen the education we gain in class,” Ingram said. “The student-athlete development and the leadership programs we have here at FSU gave me the abilities, confidence, and networking exposure I needed to take that next step in my career.”
In addition to professional development, Florida State athletic teams contributed 6,224 hours of community service, with three new department-wide initiatives.
So far in 2019-20, the Seminoles have read to kids for the Extra Yard for Teachers and have raised awareness for the Green Dot. This month, there are six opportunities where Seminoles are expected to be active in the community, including a signing of a Team Impact teammate following the swimming and diving meet against Virginia Tech and Duke on Oct. 12 at 10 a.m.