NU Sports – I-MAP Recipients Reflect on Professional Experience of a Lifetime

EVANSTON, ILL. – Last week, six student-athletes had the opportunity to gather and share some of the highlights from their week-long industry immersion experience through the I-MAP program with family, teammates, mentors and coaches. Each year, the I-MAP program awards six sophomores the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in the professional field of their choosing while helping to illustrate how the skills they have developing as student-athletes will help them to be successful in the workplace.
From finance to film making, these six student-athletes explored a wide range of career paths that led them all across the country. The six winners of this year’s award were Barret Benson (Men’s Basketball/Film & Entertainment), Sean Lynch (Men’s Soccer/Finance), Abby Dein (Women’s Soccer/Political Affairs & International Relations), Abbie Wolf (Women’s Basketball/Journalism), OliviaViscuso (Volleyball/Healthcare) and Erica Hootstein (Field Hockey/Predictive Analytics).
Erica Hootstein spent her time with ESPN and the Houston Astros, learning the ins and outs of baseball operations, statistics and stadium operations. Hootstein was able to see first-hand the decisions made to ensure the success of stadium flow and also worked with a team to optimize the stadium experience for Astros’ fans. Her work with the Astros also allowed her to explore the new technologies that are being used to help enhance athlete performance and track their progress. With ESPN, Erica worked with their statistics teams was able to spend time on set some their most notable shows. 
Barret Benson used his I-MAP experience to further explore his interest in production and writing. Barret had the opportunity to explore the campuses of media giants such as Netflix and Hulu, while meeting with executive producers and writers who were able to provide insight and share their experiences. Barret used this valuable opportunity and the connections to gain insight on the many different avenues that could be pursued within the entertainment industry.
Abby Dein, took to the nation’s capital to explore the intersect of business and international relations. Through NU for Life and Northwestern alumni connections, Abby was able to shadow within government organizations, such as the Peace Corps and see the different ways that sports are used to help assist diplomatic efforts and bringing together people of different backgrounds.
Abbie Wolf was able to take her interest in storytelling to the City of Angels and explore the world of journalism and entertainment. Through meetings with executive producers and entertainment executives, Abbie learned the importance of sharing a great story and was inspired to find the best way to share the story of someone very special to her. 
Olivia Viscuso used her love of service to help the lifeguards of Los Angeles County in partnership with a professor for University of Southern California. During her immersion experience, Olivia conducted a survey to measure the overall job satisfaction of lifeguards in relation to mental health. In addition to conducting research with life guards from numerous beaches throughout the county, Olivia also was also able to pick up some new life guarding skills and was able to see first-hand how much lifeguards do within their communities.  
Sean Lynch set out to the Big Apple to learn more about investment banking, sales and trading and investment management. During his week long experience, Sean was able to see what happens on the trading floor and make connections that will extend long past the time he spent in New York. Through his experience, Sean was able to not only see the many areas of finance, but was even able to narrow down where he plans to focus as he prepares to search for summer internship opportunities.
While each student-athlete’s experience was unique, they all shared feelings of gratitude for the opportunity and the unwavering belief that this experience has put them in the best position to be successful once they graduate. Each of these experiences were made possible through the vision and generosity of Kellogg alum, Michael Price.
Throughout the night, Mr. Price shared what inspired him to start the I-MAP program and the goals he had for each student-athletes who is awarded this opportunity. In addition to providing an opportunity to build critical professional relationships, he emphasized that I-MAP was created to help close the gap in understanding the expectations and responsibilities that come along with careers in each fields so that student-athletes are prepared when they begin to look for summer internships and jobs when their time on campus comes to a close. 
NU for Life strives to equip Northwestern student-athletes with the resources necessary to excel professionally upon completion of their athletic careers. These resources are available to student-athletes the minute they step on campus and remain with them long after they graduate. NU for Life programming, initiatives such as I-MAP, and the alumni network have had a significant impact in the post-graduate success for NU student-athletes.

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