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Jackie Wallgren graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Superior in 2007 with a degree in Business Administration and minors in Sport Management and coaching. She was also a member of the Women's Soccer team from 2003 to 2006. In August 2011, Wallgren was hired as the Assistant to the Commissioner of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, the conference that the UW-Superior Yellowjackets are a part of.
Like many students coming into college, Wallgren had never considered sports administration as a possible career path. She explains, "one day it kind of dawned on me that there were all of these people around me working to make it possible for me to practice and compete. I realized then that I'd like to be one ofthose people, and, as they say, the rest is history!"
Wallgren realized that to obtain her goal, she would need to go on for further education. Upon graduating from UW-Superior, she continued on to the University of North Carolina and earned a masters degree in exercise and sports science.
When asked what contributed towards her career, Wallgren credits her involvement as a student-athlete as the biggest influence. She remarks, as a student-athlete "I learned how to manage multiple commitments simultaneously, the value of hard work, and how to work within a team environment. Working in sports is a lot like being on a team, if you can't get along with your teammates (co-workers) and your coach (supervisor), you won't be in the game for long."
She also worked on campus in order to better understand how higher education administration works.Realizing that she needs to successfully navigate the politics of athletics and education, Wallgren draws upon her experiences as a member of the Student Government Association.
A piece of advice Wallgren would give to current students preparing to enter the field of sports administration is to "Volunteer to help with things that you find interesting, and don't be afraid to ask questions. The people in this industry all started out where you are now, and we all want to help you to be successful. I've never once offered to help out with a project or event and had someone turn me down."
She continues by saying that students should realize just how important all of the classes they take are to their future. Wallgren believes that the liberal arts education she received at UW-Superior made her a stronger candidate and employee. She became a more critical thinker and better problem solver through her experience. Wallgren draws upon the science, art and other subject matter she studied, on a regular basis, whether it is graphic design-related or testing hypotheses, like she did in chemistry class.
There are a wide variety of opportunities available to Wallgren in her future. When asked what she sees for her future, Wallgren stated "Ideally, I'd like to do [event planning] within a major NCAA Division I football program. The progression from there would be to become the Director of Football Operations at a major BCS football program. I started out in Football Operations at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and I enjoyed my job there tremendously. I would love to return to working in football operations, if that opportunity presents itself."
Jackie Wallgren was interviewed as a part of the Career Services Day in the Life project. Her full interview and those of other UW-Superior alumni can be found on the Day in the Life website, http://www.uwsuper.edu/career/students/day-in-the-life.cfm.
Interview conducted by Tashina Martinson on March 5th,2012. Article written by Shannon Gilligan
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