By Kierra Lopac, St. Olaf College
St. Olaf College student Emily Carr '19 didn't apply for her summer internship with the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) — she created it.
And the driving force behind creating her own internship came from creating something equally as important on campus: her major. Through St. Olaf's Center for Integrative Studies, Carr created a major titled "Athletic Administration and Management: Issues of Equity and Access."
After talking with MIAC Director Dan McKane, over the past few years about her future plans, Carr is now interning for the organization. Her work includes researching the history and current status of female coaches in the athletic conference, as well as assisting with conference scheduling, strategic planning, budgeting, bylaw policy writing, a sportsmanship policy review, and academic year preparations.
Carr is a catcher for St. Olaf's softball team and is Chair of the MIAC Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
She shares how she's carving her own career path.
Why did you decide to create an independent major?
I decided to create my own major because it was an opportunity for me to focus on something I was truly passionate about. Growing up and even throughout my first year at St. Olaf, I struggled to find typical academic subjects that really struck my interest. When a friend introduced me to the Center for Integrative Studies, everything became so clear. I was finally able to combine the two things I have always been passionate about: sports and relationships with others. This has given me the opportunity to study things I am excited and extremely passionate about, and I am so thankful to St. Olaf for that.
Can you describe your major?
Essentially what I did when I built this major was bring in a bunch of little parts of other academic disciplines that I found interesting to create this cohesive study. There are classes from the Psychology, Exercise Science, Management, Women's and Gender studies, and even Theater departments (that one is for public speaking!), among others. When I brought all the coursework together, it built a foundation for a major focusing on women in the field of athletic administration/management and coaching, which is the field I will be going into after graduation.
How does your current internship correlate with your major?
This internship has given me the opportunity to explore another aspect of collegiate athletic administration, and has helped me further my skills in interpersonal relationship building, communication, and problem-solving; all of which are skills that are applicable to any future occupation I might have, especially in the field of athletics. This internship was an opportunity for me to see another sector of collegiate athletics that I might be interested in working in post-grad, and has been wonderful so far.
What has been the most surprising/impactful part of your experience at this internship?
The most impactful part of my experience so far has been the opportunity to meet others involved in the field of collegiate athletics. Everyone in this field, as in most other fields, comes from such an individualized background. It is so cool to meet people and hear where they come from and how they've gotten to be where they are, and it also has helped me plan my own path for my future.
Looking to the future, do you hope to continue to work in this field?
Absolutely. After graduation, I plan on pursuing a master's degree in sports management as well as a graduate assistantship position coaching collegiate softball. This will allow me to pursue two things I love, and at the same time to continue to carve my own path … which I guess is how it all started in the first place.