HCAC Mentorship Program
Bluffton student-athletes accepted into HCAC Women’s Mentorship Program
Two Bluffton University students are expanding their knowledge of collegiate athletics through the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference’s (HCAC) newest mentorship program. The Women’s Leadership Mentorship Program offers two female student-athletes from each conference institution assistance to further their goals to become coaches, athletic trainers or administrators.
Mary Jo Bash ’18 from Carey, Ohio, and Lauryn Foster-Wheeler ’20, from Sidney, Ohio, were selected as Bluffton’s participants.
“What this mentorship program will do is provide connections and networking experience that can help me get to the next level in coaching or administration,” said Foster-Wheeler, a business administration and sports management double major. “I think what will really impact me heading forward is having connections.”
Each participant is connected with a mentor from a different HCAC institution and keep in touch on a monthly basis. The mentorship aspect of the program runs through May, although students are encouraged to remain in contact with their mentor.
The student-athletes also attended the NCAA Convention held in Indianapolis, Ind., in January. They took part in informative seminars, conference meetings and Division III Legislative Forums where new legislation was adopted.
“Along with attending the meetings, both Mary Jo and Lauryn were able to meet with their mentors in person and learned more about their positions and were able to get some extra guidance in their career goals,” said Phil Talavinia, director of athletics.
“I have a very high interest in becoming a coach, and I became interested in athletic administration after the conference,” said Bash, a business administration major. “I knew this would be a good opportunity to meet people and get my name out there.”
The opportunity allowed the student-athletes to learn more about future career possibilities while broadening their sense of collegiate athletic programs. “The biggest impact that this experience has had on me is that it made me think about my future and if the future I am pursuing is actually something I really want,” Bash said.
Foster-Wheeler has applied the knowledge gained through the conference and mentorship program in the classroom. “Now when I sit in classes geared more towards my major, I have a better understanding of the practical use for the lesson, and I’m able to grow from that.”
Bash has also experienced the benefits of the program.
“I am currently using the tips that everyone I met at the conference gave me,” said Bash. “I think it has been beneficial so far, and I am thankful for all the advice that was shared.”
Cara Echols, ’19 Student News Writer
What this mentorship program will do is provide connections and networking experience that can help me get to the next level in coaching or administration,” said Foster-Wheeler.