BOSTON, Mass. – In January, junior softball player Kiera Prusmack (Houston, Texas) was chosen to participate in the NCAA Student Immersion Program as part of the 2019 NCAA Convention, which was held in Orlando, Florida.
Prusmack was one of 40 participants that traveled to the NCAA Convention. In addition to the regular programming, Prusmack and her fellow student-athletes also attended sessions with the Division and Inclusion Work Group.
BeaconsAthletics.com caught up with the native of Texas to talk about her time at the convention, and some of the most memorable moments, and what she plans on using in Beaconville.
Tell us about how you got to the NCAA Convention.
I got to the NCAA Convention through the Student Immersion Program for Diversity and Inclusion, and found out about that program through a former staff member at UMass Boston, Tracey Hathaway. I applied to the program my sophomore year, but wasn't chosen that year. So, I decided I would apply again last fall, and thankfully I became the first and only person from UMass Boston to ever get chosen to this specific program. The NCAA was kind enough to have all expenses paid for, including flights, transportation, food, etc., and it was honestly one of the best experiences since I've been in college.
What was the biggest take away from each day at the convention?
After the first day, the main thing I took away from the convention was to make connections. We met our mentors and the head of our program and we just started talking about our careers and where we want to be after college. The second day was very informative in regards to new mental health awareness workshops and sexual violence prevention discussions, and I'm actually very excited to bring what I learned back to my campus SAAC that I have been a part of for two years now. The third and fourth day were mainly about issues throughout DIII and there was a forum regarding the new bylaws that were being put in place, and it was really cool to learn about what goes on in the NCAA that the student-athletes do not see every day.
If you could have done something differently at the convention what would it have been?
If I could have done something differently at the convention, it would have been to attend more educational programs about different things going on in the NCAA. Our schedule was very tight and planned out for us so we were only able to attend two, but I would have liked to attend at least four because I had never been exposed to many of those topics and I wanted to learn about them.
Did you connect with any administrator while at the convention and what did he/she teach you in the time together?
I mostly connected with my own administrators from my school. It was very interesting to see what they do and what their jobs consist of, especially in our Little East Conference meeting. But I also connected with administrators from different private schools, the Naval Academy, other Division III schools and conferences. The main person I connected with was my career path mentor, Megan Tustin, from Arcadia University in Pennsylvania. She taught me how to overcome challenges within myself and within the workplace as well, especially being a black woman. She gave me so much advice on how to connect and stay connected with people and how to take action to lead myself down my own path.
What would you say to a fellow student-athlete who is interested in getting involved in college athletics administration or attending the NCAA Convention?
I would say to make as many connections as possible. Meet as many people as you can, get to know them on a personal level. Talk to your own administration at your school, talk to your coach, talk to your athletic academic advisor about jobs or internships that you are interested in and what career you want to pursue.
Now that you have attended the convention, where do you see yourself in college athletics/administration after you graduate?
After being a part of the Student Immersion Program, I would like to see myself in charge of that specific area in the NCAA. The people I met there were so helpful and kind, and I would like to be a role model for someone else who looks like me. If a student-athlete is unclear of their path and where they want to go and what they want to do, i want to be able to guide them down the right path, help them make the right connections, and ultimately gain a healthy, professional and personal relationship with them as well.