Alex Danas '18 knows there are plenty of benefits to playing a team sport in college. Not only do student athletes benefit from the regular physical activity, but they also learn time management and leadership skills. And if sports are useful to students like Danas, then they are especially advantageous to cadets studying at military colleges like the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in Lexington, Va., where Danas interned this summer.
As an athletic administration and basketball operations intern, Danas supported several programs at VMI. The public undergraduate college prepares its cadets to be educated, honorable members of the military or civilian world, and an integral part of the student experience is the NCAA Division I athletics program that fields 18 men’s and women’s teams.
Danas was responsible for a variety of administrative duties for the men’s basketball team. She helped the Keydets prepare for the upcoming season by making the travel itineraries, which was an exercise in research and economics. She also created player and coach binders that included drills, practice plans, plays and the travel itineraries.
And while the summer break meant Danas could only help plan the college athletes’ season, she had an active role in the summer youth basketball camps hosted on campus at Cameron Hall. In addition to marketing the camps to the local community, Danas also had the opportunity to coach.
“Seeing the work I completed for the camps play out was rewarding, especially when I could see improvement in the campers from day to day,” said Danas.
A sport management major, Danas attributes much of her internship’s success to her education. She appreciates that Colby-Sawyer’s curriculum exposes her to hands-on work, guest speakers and case studies, and all of the experiential learning opportunities helped her complete her internship. Sport and Recreation Programming and Administration, taught by Assistant Professor of Exercise and Sport Sciences Stacey Watts, was especially useful: much of Danas’ work at VMI echoed assignments she completed for that class.
“Colby-Sawyer starts you in your major from the moment you start taking classes, which is something I really liked,” said Danas.
Danas also knows the game like only a player can. She plays guard for the women’s basketball team at Colby-Sawyer, which no doubt came in handy when she was coaching.
Danas’ internship required her to complete a few duties that went beyond the typical scope of her Exercise and Sport Sciences classes, such as filming practices and editing the footage. She was quick on her feet and adapted easily thanks to her liberal arts education. “I feel that I have a truly well-rounded education,” Danas said. “Each class has been important to how I have grown as a student and has prepared me for this experience.”
When Danas entered Colby-Sawyer, she was unsure if she wanted to work in either professional or collegiate sports. After interning at VMI and completing an earlier internship with the Connecticut Sport Management Group, Danas knows college athletics is where she’s meant to be.