By Kathryn Arena / Sports Information Intern
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University student-athletes representing most every program filled the Johnson Room of the J. Eugene Smith Library Tuesday night for the annual Warriors@Work program, a panel event sponsored by the Office of Alumni Affairs in conjunction with intercollegiate athletics.
Five former Eastern student-athletes – all of them recent graduates -- answered questions about their professional work experience, the steps they took while undergraduates in launching their professional careers, and gave advice on navigating college and preparing for their post-graduate careers as members of the work force.
In attendance was former track and field member John Boisette ’17, a former graduate assistant at Regis College who currently coaches track & field at Utica College. Boisette, from East Hartford, graduated from Eastern with a physical education major and health minor and achieved All LEC-honors throughout his college career.
Field Hockey alumni and former teammates Brianna Passero ‘16 from Trumbull and Alexandra Steward ‘17 from Old Saybrook were also in attendance to give advice to student-athletes. Steward, a leadership development senior analyst at Cigna Insurance Co. in Bloomfield, and Passero, an auditor with the Auditors of Public Accounts in Harford, were each four-year players. Former four-year basketball player Lexis Foster ’17 from Groton, as well as Cooper Goslin ’18, former four-year cross-country and track team member and teammate of Boisette, each provided insight on their fields. Foster currently teaches second grade at Mohegan School in Uncasville and coaches basketball at the high school and travel levels. Goslin works as a staff accountant in the auditing department at Blum Shapiro in West Hartford.
Men’s soccer coach Greg DeVito emceed the event with a series of questions directed toward the alumni. Common topics included how skills in athletics transfer over to professional careers, networking and resume building. Internships and job searches were also big topics of the night and each alumnus stressed the importance of utilizing on-campus resources. “Make your own platform,” Steward informed students. “Use your resources and you will be able to build your network.”
Goslin noted that athletes should utilize their own teammates for opportunities throughout their college careers. “It is valuable to know and see what your teammates are doing,” he said. Specific skills that have transferred over from Eastern athletics to professional work include teamwork, overcoming adversity, and taking criticism well. Foster added that when athletes take criticism well from their coaches, are more likely take constructive criticism well from a future boss or executive.
One of the questions that yielded great advice from the alumni was What are things you’ve learned now that you wish you learned while you were at Eastern? All of the alumni noted that when you get started in your professional career, nobody expects you to be an expert. That being said, you should always be willing to learn. “Be provocative and ask questions,” Goslin said. “Do not be afraid to ask questions.”
Director of Alumni Affairs Michael Stenko applauded the current athletes for coming to the event. “You are making an investment that will help you in the long run,” he said.