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Senior associate athletics director dishes out career advice
By Jordan Hite
Chosen by the COMS 460 class, which was in-charge of organizing COMS Week this year, to be one of the speakers, Stephanie Ballein focused on using her personal experiences to inform students of the challenges they may face when searching for a career.
“I changed my major three times in college,” Ballein stated to assure the crowd that they’re not alone.
Ballein joined the Radford Athletics Department in the fall of 2008. She not only works as the Senior Associate Athletics Director, but she is also the Senior Woman Administrator (SWA). Her job entails overseeing all internal operations within the Radford Athletics Department as well as supervising all women’s sports. In other words, Ballein looks over everything that a student athlete does whether it be advising them academically or in their sport of interest.
Though Ballein is content working where she is today, she admitted that it took her a long time to get here. Originally from Chesapeake, Virginia, Ballein ventured to the New River Valley to receive an undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech. With this, she started a career in sales and marketing. Ballein excelled tremendously in this field but because of the long hours and her desire to start a family, she decided to go back to school to receive a teaching license.
After doing so, she found herself teaching high school but left after only a short year knowing that this career path wasn’t for her. Ballein then went back to Virginia Tech and became the coordinator of the student teaching program and also studied to complete her master’s in education. Ballein is also currently in the process of completing her doctorate in education at Virginia Tech.
Although Ballein does sometimes miss being in the classroom, what she is doing now feeds her interests much more. “As a former student-athlete, I believe I can relate to the students’ demands and assist in providing accommodations to meet the daily challenges and athlete experiences,” stated Ballein.
Ballein explained to the audience that being passionate about your career is the key to success but do not get discouraged if your first job isn’t the exact job you’re looking for. To motivate the audience, Ballein said, “My current situation is not my final destination,” adding that face the challenges and find your passion.