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November 16, 2012

Certain Hokies make most of summer opportunities

By: Reyna Gilbert-Lowry

CamilleCamille Bouvet took advantage of some time off this summer to
go to Vietnam and teach middle school students as part of
the “Coach for College” initiative.

While many students caught up on the R&R that comes along with summer break, several Tech student-athletes took advantage of reduced course loads and competition schedules. With what seems like yearlong dedication to their respective sports, many student-athletes have limited opportunities to study abroad or add internship experience to their resumés. The following two Hokies made the most of their opportunities this past summer:

• Leigh Allin, a mechanical engineering student and redshirt junior on the track and field team, was accepted for the Nike Innovations Internship and spent much of her summer on the Nike campus in Eugene, Ore. She worked in Equipment Innovation, a relatively small department where the next “big” ideas in equipment are developed. She spent much of her time in a test lab, working on materials research and durability testing for baseball fielding gloves. Allin also worked on a cross-functional project with nine other interns whose challenge was to solve a big-picture problem at Nike, specifically dealing with Brazil’s supply chain.

“Nike’s definitely not what I expected, but one thing I've learned is that you can never know what to expect,” Allin said. “Everyone at Nike has a different story, passion, perspective and nugget of advice. I now have a better awareness of the career opportunities at Nike and elsewhere, and I am developing a much clearer picture of the direction I want my career to take.”

In October, the collegiate programs coordinator from Nike was on campus to speak to a small group of student-athletes about the internship and Allin was on hand to provide a personal testimony about her experience.

• Camille Bouvet, a sophomore on the track and field team, participated in the Coach for College program, a global initiative to promote higher education through sports. She traveled to Hau Giang Province in Vietnam and spent three weeks alongside other ACC student-athletes coaching and teaching academics and life skills to middle school students. They partnered with local Vietnamese college students who helped lead the daily activities and assisted with the language barrier.

“I thought the experience was a great opportunity for any student-athlete who wishes he or she could either study abroad and/or participate in a non-profit teaching opportunity,” Bouvet said. “I loved how I was able to work with other ACC student-athletes and get to know a group of Vietnamese college students as well.”

Many students use their summers to work or take advantage of internship opportunities to get a head start on their career goals. For many student-athletes, the summer is one of the only chances they have to intern or engage in non-competition related travel.

“As student-athletes, we don’t really get an opportunity to study abroad or engage in jobs or internships throughout the school year,” Bouvet said. “The experience has made me more appreciative of my opportunities as an American, with college being so accessible and all the resources we are given throughout school.”

Most opportunities only come around once, and these Hokies know personally how important it is to take advantage of them. Whether it’s improving their athletics or academic credentials, for these accomplished young women, summer time was definitely not spent resting on their laurels.