A new collaboration between the Office of Student-Athlete Development and the M Club began last week as the Varsity REPS (Relationships Empowering Professionalism and Success) program held its inaugural event, Thursday, May 2, at TCF Bank Stadium.
Nearly 60 current and former University of Minnesota swimmers and divers gathered together last Thursday. The intent of the REPS program is to provide mentoring through relationship building and insight as current Gophers prepare for life after sport. The hope is to find professional development valuable for both current Gophers and their alums. It gives alums the opportunity to showcase their past experience with the current team. The initiative is set to continue through various Gopher athletic programs and continue to connect with their alums.
After introductions, a panel discussion kicked off the event that consisted of four alumni. Laurie Davis (Davisco Foods International, Inc.), Jimmer Dorweiler (Piper Jaffray & Co.), Oscar Godoi (Honeywell) and Cynthia McCollum (Judge, First Judicial District - State of Minnesota) were on the panel as Gopher alum David Plummer moderated a question and answer session.
“This program encompasses so many opportunities that I am looking for as a coach to simply help my students with what comes next,” men’s and women’s head coach Kelly Kremer said. “The biggest part of my job is to make sure they are prepared for life after their undergraduate work is complete. REPS will help me to best help them! In doing so, I engage our alumni as well. REPS helps us to connect our past, present and future. Isn't that what we are all striving to do? And yes, when I go out to speak with a young man or young lady and their families about joining our Golden Gopher family, I can speak about REPS as a program we have to prepare them for their future beyond swimming and diving. I am so thankful this program was brought to us!”
Following the panel, the current student-athletes and alums broke out into small discussion groups. The topics included careers and major fields, marketing/business, healthcare, legal, education and engineering.
"I was thrilled by the interest and enthusiasm of the student athletes," Judge McCollum said. "The questions posed by the athletes confirmed the need for these events. I hope the athletic department continues to facilitate contacts between alumni and athletes, as we all remember what it was like to search for that first job. Many of us are successful because of talent and drive, but also timing and networking."
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