A 2010 alumna shared her experience working in college athletics and advice for students to turn their passions into a fulfilling career path.
Sara Eisenhauer, Saint Mary’s graduate and assistant commissioner of the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC), visited campus on March 8 for the Breaking Barriers event. In college, Eisenhauer was a member of the women’s hockey team and decided to merge her love of sports into her work.
“I feel so passionate about my experience [as a student athlete] that I just want to be able to make an impact at a higher level,” said Eisenhauer.
Though stable in her career now, Eisenhauer explained that pursuing her passion was not easy to start. Eisenhauer said the first paid position she held out of college was an internship with the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Office. In this position, Eisenhauer said she only made $500 a month and was residing with a friend’s family.
However, Eisenhauer said she would do nothing differently. She was able to gain experience in many different areas as the MIAC Office required her to “wear many different hats.”
“That internship was a really good opportunity for me to develop the skills I learned in school,” Eisenhauer said.
From there, Eisenhauer worked at St. Catherine University for three years as the sports information director before moving on to her current role with the UMAC.
Though Eisenhauer says “no single day is the same” in her line of work, she enjoys interviewing student athletes most. She explained how learning about students’ stories and being able to tell those stories to the public is very rewarding for her.
Eisenhauer encouraged current students who share her same passion to work in sports to prepare themselves by seizing any opportunities available.
“Volunteer for anything and everything that might get you to where you want to be,” she said. Eisenhauer explained how at Saint Mary’s she would head up countless projects and events that seemed relevant and as a working professional, she still takes time to volunteer for various state championship tournaments.
She also said for students to not limit themselves to what has been done before. “If there’s currently no opportunity to do what you want to do, create one,” Eisenhauer said.
Eisenhauer said volunteering and other such involvement helps students with the task of making real connections with the experiences they have and the jobs they apply to, which employers find crucially important.
In Eisenhauer’s experience, the drive to go above and beyond and sheer creativity win out when working in sports.