July 14, 2015
WASHINGTON - Rising junior placekicker Ben Priddy (Davidsonville, Md./Severn) was among a group of over 200 student-athletes invited to NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. in June to take part in the annual Career in Sports Forum. The four-day seminar focused on exploring potential careers in sports and networking with fellow student-athletes and administrators from around the country.
“It’s probably the coolest and best experience I’ve had at any sort of formal event,” Priddy said. “It really was just nice to be in a place with other student-athletes, who are from all over the country, schools of all sizes and people from completely different backgrounds, but having a few things in common, that brought us all together.”
For Priddy, a career in sports has been something on his radar before his arrival on the Hilltop in the summer of 2013. So when the opportunity came in the form of an email from Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Leadership and Development Dr. Mike Lorenzen, he was quick to respond.
“I know that I want to work in the world of sports and I had been on the lookout for opportunities for this summer, mainly internships in the sports world,” Priddy admitted. “Dr. Lorenzen sent out an email with information about the forum and links to the NCAA website that described it. I knew that it was for me when I read it and emailed him back right away.”
Priddy went through the nomination process, answering a series of short answer questions, before ultimately being accepted into the program a few weeks later.
Upon his arrival in Indianapolis, he found himself as one of the younger participants, with a higher-percentage of the student-athletes in attendance being rising seniors or recent college graduates. Priddy credits his relative youth with being able to gain insight into what his own future may hold.
“I was one of the youngest people there, so it was valuable to get the different perspectives from everyone that I spoke to,” Priddy said. “It was great to be able to sit back and listen to people who have had some more or different experiences than I have had, especially since they were all things I could relate to.”
The bonds that Priddy formed during the week with student-athletes and administrators opened his mind to the wide array of career opportunities in sports and some of the qualities, inherent in student-athletes that potential employers may covet.
“Learning all the areas you can work within sports, I didn’t realize how many different opportunities there were,” Priddy said. “It’s overwhelming how many departments there are and then to have the opportunity to speak with people in those roles and learn about their paths was really eye-opening and unforgettable. And talking about what we bring to the professional world as a student-athlete, there are a lot of things that I didn’t think about in terms of qualities and transferrable skills that are very sought after.”
Priddy soaked in information during seminars about building his personal brand through social media, behavioral assessments and leadership styles and several other group activities, but he noted that the best thing to come out of the four-day conference was building strong relationships and becoming more comfortable in sharing his opinions.
“The best advice I received was to work on forming relationships,” Priddy said. “To make time to have a 15-minute meeting with an administrator and just learn about their path and be a sponge, talk to as many people as you can and soak it all in and that can help you find your own way. One of the best things that happened was I came out of my shell so quickly in Indianapolis and that is something that I’ve brought with me.”