This semester, Neil Huskey moved 50 yards closer to his goal of becoming a college athletics director, thanks to an internship he did for his kinesiology degree program at the University of Houston-Victoria.
He graduated this month with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology and a concentration in sport management. During his final semester, the Pettus student completed the UHV kinesiology program’s new internship requirement by working part time as an intern for St. Edward’s University’s Athletics department.
“This internship has opened up a great opportunity toward the next step in my career and given me confidence that a career in collegiate athletics is not out of reach,” Huskey said.
His internship led to graduate assistant job offers from St. Edward’s and one other university. In January, he will begin as a graduate assistant in the athletics department at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri, while studying for a master’s degree in sport and fitness management.
The UHV kinesiology program faculty created the internship program last year and launched it in August, said Raymond Tucker, an associate professor of kinesiology and chair of the UHV College of Education & Health Professions’ kinesiology, health studies, counseling and nursing department. It requires kinesiology majors specializing in sport management, exercise sports science, and pre-allied health to complete 300 internship work hours before graduating – the equivalent of a part-time job during a semester.
“We wanted our students to have opportunities for experiential learning and applying what they have learned in the classroom to an actual work environment, and also to develop professional relationships,” Tucker said. “If they find the right employer and do what is expected of them, it can lead to other opportunities.”
Students secure their own internships, as they would when finding a more permanent job. This semester, in addition to St. Edward’s University, students had internships with Citizens HealthPlex, UHV Athletics and a professional soccer team in Dallas.
“The UHV kinesiology internship program is great because it forces you to take what you learned in the classroom and apply it to your work,” Huskey said. “I personally work best and learn the most when I am thrown straight in and have to learn to adapt quickly to my surroundings. There are many things you can learn in the classroom, but I find that putting that knowledge into practice is the best way to grow as an individual, student and professional.”
At St. Edward’s, Huskey assisted in hiring and managing 25 student workers, overseeing a new student athletics ticketing system, serving as the point of contact for opposing team coaches and officials, overseeing marketing for on-campus athletic events, coordinating and assisting with game-day setup and teardown for home athletic events, and assisting in managing the video and scoreboard systems.
“The assistant athletic director of operations at St. Edward’s University, Cody Jones, was great in my internship,” Huskey said. “He continuously went out of his way to teach me new job duties that will benefit my future in athletics.”
Tucker recently visited St. Edward’s University and met Huskey’s supervisor.
“He was extremely impressed with Neil and said he was well prepared for his internship,” Tucker said. “In fact, Neil did such an outstanding job there that they want more of our students to do their internships. That is a big plus for us.”
Huskey expressed his gratitude to the entire kinesiology faculty, including Willie Black and Chang Woock Lee, for creating the internship program and opening many doors for students. He also expressed gratitude to Tucker, noting, “Dr. Tucker was crucial to the success of my academic career at UHV due to his motivation and wanting the best for his students.”