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Follow the Leaders: Celine Mangan, Western Illinois

An inside look on the Emerging Leaders Seminar through a participant's eyes

Celine Mangan is a graduate assistant in athletics academic services and student-athlete development at Western Illinois University, where she is pursuing her master’s degree in communication. A committee from the NCAA membership selected her for the 2017 NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar, a gathering of more than 200 graduate assistants and interns from member schools and conference offices at the NCAA national office. Mangan graduated from Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, where she majored in education and played on the women’s basketball team.

My involvement with the national SAAC made me realize I wanted college sports to be a career. I started serving on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee when I was a freshman and stayed on until I graduated in 2016. Originally, I majored in early childhood education and special education because I thought I wanted to be a teacher, but after serving on SAAC for so long, I realized I could be around sports all day as a career.

I found out about the Emerging Leaders Seminar through the other NCAA leadership development programs I attended. I spoke at the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum and attended the Career in Sports Forum this past year and knew I wanted to apply to this seminar after taking part in those programs. It’s a great opportunity to come to Indianapolis and learn from the best of the best. Being here is a great environment that recharges your excitement and sparks your interest for the field.

The seminar allows you to become diverse. Just like many of the speakers touched on this week, it is important to learn outside your own institution, your own division and your own sport. Here, you meet many people from all over college athletics.

Hearing from current female administrators, Meg Stevens and Karen Stromme, was awesome. My dream is to be an athletics director at a Division II or Division III school, and both Karen (University of Minnesota Duluth) and Meg (Averett University) are representatives of those divisions. It is amazing how long they have been in the business. And I love that when they walk in the room, they light it up. Their energy is incredible.

I learned things from the seminar that I will bring back to campus. I currently work in academics for men’s basketball and occasionally track and field, but I have an interest in compliance. I attended the compliance breakout session at the seminar, and after it, immediately texted our compliance director at WIU, telling him all I learned and the different things we should try. My notebook is full of notes that can be applied to my daily work. There were study habits and study skills and meeting sessions that I learned from the academics and student-athlete development breakout session.

Check It Out

Previous participants of the Emerging Leaders Seminar talk about how the program developed their careers in college sports.