What happens to our Kinesiology graduates once they walk away from Cooke Hall for the last time? Many of us think about the students we got to know well, and hope they’re enjoying satisfying lives and careers made possible by their years of study and hard work. Current students often wonder what the future holds after they complete their degree. So, each month we’ll ask an alum to tell us about life after Kinesiology and share words of advice and wisdom learned during her or his time here. Our December 2015 feature is Joshua Lupinek.
Josh started in the PhD program in Fall 2012 in the Sport Management emphasis, working with Dr. Stephen Ross. He started a tenure-track position at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks this fall, teaching two courses and working on developing a sport sales or event management course. The U of A is hoping to grow their sport management minor into a major concentration, and Josh will be instrumental in that process. Josh and his wife Tracy just had their first child, Ava Therese Lupinek, on December 12. Josh is working as an ice hockey referee for the WCHA this season and maintaining a position on the Big Ten officiating staff as well. Lots of new beginnings!
What sparked your decision to go to graduate school?
Sitting in a graduate Sport Law course during my Master’s program at UConn sparked my interest to pursue a Ph.D. Dr. Janet Fink (now at UMass) led a roundtable discussion on assault and battery in sport and we discussed ice hockey-related examples. I remember at that moment thinking, “I can’t believe she gets to do this as a job. I want to do her job!” Over time, I learned what it really means to be a faculty member and pursue a degree in Kinesiology/Sport Management.
How do you think your experience at the U of M helped you in your career and personal goals?
The U of M provided me with the teaching experience necessary to be a desirable faculty candidate. I owe much of my success to my teaching mentor Dr. Tiffany Richardson and the pedagogical advice she provided me. Additionally, programs such as KIN’s Kickstart Open Lab helped me integrate new technologies into the classroom and become a confident instructor. Dr. Stephen Ross provided me with the support and knowledge of the administrative expectations of becoming a successful TA and future faculty member. At conferences he introduced me to all of his industry connections that have become my peers, fellow researchers, and future colleagues. He also was instrumental in helping develop my current/future research agenda.
What were some of your greatest challenges and best experiences as a graduate student?
My greatest challenge was completing my degree program in a timely manner while meeting the financial obligations of having a family. We are very fortunate to have T.A./G.A. opportunities through KIN. However, many of us still have to find outside employment and work those jobs during our program.
My best experiences are definitely summed up by the relationships I have developed with other KIN graduate students in and out of my cohort. I still remain in close contact with those who graduated before me and those relationships have been extremely valuable in my degree completion process and the job search process.
What advice would you give incoming graduate students?
Get to know your students. When you take the time to get to know the undergraduate students in your classroom as a T.A., one of the best feelings is when they come back and say thank you for helping them get an internship or a job! Also, make a connection with a local organization or non-profit off-campus during your first year. My role with the Active Kids Association of Sport (AKASPORT) and relationship with AKASPORT founder and director Chris Schulz has provided me with numerous opportunities for professional success on and off campus.