By Mike Gilbert, GoPSUsports.com Student Staff Writer
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa.- The job search is difficult for any student in college, especially one playing a Division I sport. For the Penn State softball program that search has gotten a little easier, as Lee Beard and Elizabeth King have created a program to help current Nittany Lion softball players have future success in the real world.
First, Lee Beard and her husband, William Beard, donated funding to create the brand new softball facility in October of 2009. Now, Lee is positively affecting the futures of the players by donating her time.
"The program that we've set up is really about providing networking, opportunities and some instruction, as well as mentoring for the softball team," said Beard.
The idea was formulated by head coach Amanda Lehotak, who reached out to Beard and King last year in an effort to ensure future success for her student-athletes down the road. Only less than a year from its conception, the program has already assisted many of the girls with gaining jobs and internships for this upcoming summer and beyond.
Two seniors, Macy Jones and Christy Von Pusch, are going to be working at the same supply chain rotational program in North Carolina and will be roommates. Senior Shannon Good will be attending Upstate Medical University in the fall. Junior Sam Shanahan has accepted one of two offered internships in her home state of Washington at the University of Washington giving Sports Nutrition counseling to the student-athletes there. Meanwhile, star pitcher and junior Marlaina Laubach has decided she will be working with children with autism, helping out in a special education program.
The program consists of frequent meetings about building LinkedIn profiles, resume workshops and etiquette dinners, among other things. All of these skills are being taught by Lee and Elizabeth, who have extensive experience in the fields of banking and human resources.
"Its been really helpful, the entire process, with both Elizabeth and Lee," said senior Reina Furuya, who is in the process of interviewing for her next step post-college.
"Elizabeth has been a successful VP with Starbucks for 18 years now. Having that direct contact with her, learning her tips and [having them look] at our resumes and [having them] follow us through the entire process has been very helpful," she added.
King reflected on why she is lending a helping hand and why it is important for alumni to give back.
"When I was a student-athlete, there wasn't a program like this, and I think what has happened over the years is as the student part of the student-athlete has become more and more important. Coaches like Coach Lehotak understand how critical it is to provide resources to the students to get them ready for after college."
The tradition that Beard and King have started with the softball program will likely spread to other Penn State sports, as the duo have also helped a Penn State swimmer better her skills during her interview process.
Beard and King lending their time and effort to the softball team not only is helping the student-athletes themselves, but will also serve to help the community where these talented individuals will find themselves later on down the road.