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Sports Uncovered: Brittany Henderson - Graduate Class of 2012

Sports Uncovered: Brittany Henderson – 2012 Masters Graduate

The class of 2012 is leaving college with something that many graduates since the start of the Great Recession have lacked: jobs.

In some ways, members of the class of 2012 got lucky. They arrived on campus in September 2008, the same month that Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers collapsed, touching off a financial crisis that exacerbated the recession.

On campus, they were largely insulated from the collapsing U.S. economy. While older brothers and sisters graduated into a dismal job market, they took shelter in chemistry, philosophy and literature classes.

They used their college years to prepare for the brutal realities of the job market that would await them. They began networking for jobs much earlier, as freshmen in some cases. They pursued summer internships not simply as resume boosters, but as gateways to permanent jobs. And they developed more realistic expectations about landing a job in the ideal place and at the ideal salary.

Women are still a minority when it comes to working in the sports industry, with men outnumbering women as respondents in the Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal salary survey by more than five to one. Across all segments of the industry, only 16% of the respondents were women. (“2002 Salary Survey. ” Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal. May 27- June 2, 2002.)

Brittany Henderson – Masters Graduate, Minnesota State University

Minnesota State University Women’s Track & Field          2006 - 2010
• 2010 Female Athlete of the Year
• Team captain
• North Central Conference Academic Honor Roll
• NCAA All-Academic
• 14-time NCAA All-American
• 6-event Minnesota State University record holder
• 4-event Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference record hold

I am a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I attended high school at Whitefish Bay High School. After high school I attended Minnesota State University, Mankato, where I received my Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. Immediately following my undergraduate I went on to get my Master of Arts in Sociology at Minnesota State University, Mankato as well.

How was your transition from high school to college? Did you face any particular problems?

The transition from high school to college was interesting.  With my new-found independence I had to quickly learn that I was accountable for my actions and had to make decisions that reflected my maturity as well as the lessons I had been taught prior to going to college. Since I was participating in intercollegiate athletics I had a pre-assigned “family” or team as some would call it, so that made the transition wonderful. There were people I could talk to if I had questions. My coaches were very adamant about us attending class, practice, and any other obligations we had, which helped me realize my responsibilities as a student-athlete.

I would have to say, the one thing that I found most challenging about going to college was living in the dorms. Nothing could prepare me for having to share a community bathroom with 50 other girls and eating food from the café. Cereal is the safest alternative to “Mystery Casserole!”

What is your athletic background?

Initially I wanted to play basketball, so all through middle school I played and was pretty persistent in my practices. I had a gym teacher during that time who thought I should run track. I did for a while, but I still had a passion for basketball. When I was not able to play basketball my freshman year of high school, the only sport I could really do was track in the spring so I did. I had a pretty good season and continued to run throughout high school. I was able to get involved with a summer track program, which was an awesome way for me to develop some of my skills. I still loved basketball and had been given the opportunity to play for a church league, which was still very competitive and fun.






(L) Celiangely Morales of Puerto Rico, Barbara Pierre of St. Augustine and Brittany Henderson, Minnesota State University.  2008 Track - NCAA Division II Track & Field Championships - May 24, 2008 - Walnut, CA, USA  Photo by:  Image of Sport / PR Photo

I was not a stellar runner in high school, but kind of lingered in the middle of the pack at the state track and field championship. I had been recruited by some smaller schools, but eventually I became very proactive in my search for a university where I could compete and stumbled upon MSU (Minnesota State University). I made significant advancements in my track career while competing collegiately. I was able to qualify for every indoor and outdoor national championship, where I was NCAA Division II All-American each season, but one. This resulted in me being a 14-time All-American and a 6-event school record holder.

Needless to say, it was fun.

As a recent graduate, how did sports prepare you for life?

Being involved in sports has had a remarkable impact on my life. It has given me the opportunity to learn discipline, responsibility, develop leadership skills, communicate effectively and work as a collective with others to accomplish goals.  One of the most valuable things I was able to take away from being involved with sports is getting to know so many wonderful people.  The ability to be able to network with so many people from different places has helped provide me with a number of opportunities that have helped create great life experience.

Why do you want to work in the sports industry?

Since sports and education have been so influential in my life I want to be able to provide the same support to other athletes. The life skills and lessons people can learn from sports can only be gained through experience and my goal is to maximize athlete potential both in their sport and as a person.

What is your ultimate dream job?

I would love to be an athletic director at a college or university!  I believe student-athlete development is essential and being able to lead a program that is dedicated to strong academic achievement and a great athletic program would give me the opportunity to help student-athletes see what they are truly capable of accomplishing.

Wish I knew then what I know now:

Honestly I am glad I was able to learn and experience everything as I progressed through life. If I had known the things I know now, then, I probably would not have worked as hard. With that said, I am glad I didn’t know then what I know now! smiley

2012 college grads enter improving job market
Published - May 13, 2012 by SCOTT MAYEROWITZ, AP Business Writer / News

Bernell Hooker

Bernell Hooker is the Founder and CEO of Images of Us (IOU) Sports; a non-profit organization that empowers girls and women through education and sports. "Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success." - Mariah Burton Nelson