What happens to our Kinesiology graduates after they leave Cooke Hall? We hope they’re enjoying satisfying lives and careers made possible by their years of study and hard work. Recently we asked Vicki Schull to tell us about life after Kinesiology and share her words of advice and wisdom.
Vicki started her career at the U of M in 2007 as a doctoral student in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management. She was advised by Dr. Lisa Kihl and Dr. Mary Jo Kane. Upon graduating in 2014, Dr. Schull accepted a position as assistant professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Could you describe your career in detail? How long have you held your current position and what do you like best about it?
I am in my third year as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Performance at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MSUM). I teach graduate and undergraduate classes in the Sport Management Program including: Sport Ethics and Professional Development, Principles of Sport Management, Legal Aspects of Sport and Physical Activity, Applied Sport Business, Sport Administration.
We have a really hands-on program where students gain a lot of real world experiences through volunteerism, internships, and service-learning projects. So, I really enjoy seeing our graduate and undergraduate students develop as professionals during their time at MSUM and obtain positions in the sport industry. It is also very exciting when they come back to campus for alumni events and provide networking opportunities for current students.
How do you think your experience at the U of M helped you in your career and personal goals?
I served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant while attending the U of M, and those teaching experiences were very instrumental in my current career. The mentorship of faculty members in the School of Kinesiology also had a positive influence on my career goals and has led to some meaningful collaborations and research projects.
What sparked your decision to go to graduate school?
I’m not sure exactly what sparked the decision, but once I decided to research Ph.D. programs, I knew I wanted to attend the U of M because they offered specializations in both Sport Management and Sport Sociology. I knew my research interests would be an integration of these two disciplines, so it seemed like a good fit.
What were some of your greatest challenges as a graduate student? Best experiences?
My first year was a challenge because I had been working in college athletics for 10 years. It was difficult because I had to make the adjustment back to being a student again. Part of that transition was immersing myself in the current and relevant literature and understanding a variety of research methods that would be appropriate for my own research interests and inquiries.
During my second year of my Ph.D. program, I developed some important friendships with other graduate students that continue today. The camaraderie and support of those individuals had a big impact on my overall experience.
What advice would you give incoming graduate students?
My advice to incoming graduate students would be to take advantage of the many professional development resources available to you at the U of M, find good faculty mentors, and develop a good support network of your peers.
Any details about your life outside of work you’d like to share?
I am a mother to 4-month old twins, Isla and Leo.