Mount Ida Alumni Turn Passions into Careers

January 14, 2014-


A lifelong soccer player, Jen Kelly’ 07 always knew that she wanted to bring the joy of athletics to others. Kelly says that Mount Ida’s Sport Management program was the perfect fit for her because it incorporated both her love of sports and her interest in business. Once she decided to pursue a career in Sport Management, encouragement and excellent teaching from Professor Jackie Palmer helped her succeed: “Jackie’s door was always open and she wanted me to excel academically and athletically.”

As part of the Sport Management program, Kelly gained hands-on experience early, managing Mount Ida athletic events beginning in her sophomore year. This experience served her well when it came time for her to look for an internship senior year. Applying the real world skills she had gained at Mount Ida, Kelly decided to take an internship teaching Preschool Sports at the Charles River YMCA in Needham, Mass. The practical experience and strong work ethic that Kelly brought to the internship landed her a full-time job as the Branch’s Youth Sports Director shortly after graduation.


Real-World Experience Leads to Success in the Workplace

During her five years at the Charles River YMCA, Kelly forged strong community partnerships and headed a thriving volunteer coach program — which attracted an unprecedented 180 volunteers. Kelly’s leadership allowed the Charles River YMCA to substantially increase their community sports offerings, filling a need within the community.

Today, Kelly’s role has grown substantially, serving as a Child Development Program Director in the urban communities for the YMCA of Greater Boston, she is a part of the Blueprint for Child Achievement Team, the YMCA’s initiative to provide high-quality child care and a safe learning environment for all children.

When Kelly announced her decision to transition to the Blueprint for Child Achievement, the Charles River YMCA immediately looked to Mount Ida’s Sport Management program to seek out top talent to fill her estimable shoes. Kelly is happy to share that the YMCA has offered her position as Youth Sports Coordinator to Kyle Lawson ‘13, an alumnus of the 4+1 Master in Science Management for Leadership in Sport program, which allows students to complete both their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in five years.

Experienced Professors Pave the Way

Like Kelly, Lawson believes that his professors’ expertise in the day-to-day work of sports administration played a pivotal role in his career development. “Having professors who could not only provide a solid background in theory, but also drew upon their own real-world experience was tremendously helpful,” recalls Lawson. “It was great to be able to ask a professor how they would handle an actual situation that could come up on the job.”

Both Lawson and Kelly are excited about their new roles and the relationship Mount Ida’s Sports Management program has with the YMCA of Greater Boston. Both alumni asked us to let current students know that the Charles River YMCA is looking to welcome new interns from Mount Ida in the future. In addition, YMCAs across Massachusetts seek to create a broader partnership with the College. To learn more about the YMCA, please visit the YMCA’s website. For more information about Mount Ida’s Sport Management program, visit our undergraduate majors page here.