Hazelwood Participates in NCAA Career in Sports Forum


Recent Skyhawks graduate joins 215 fellow student-athletes at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis


EASTON, Mass. (June 30, 2015) – Recent Stonehill College graduate Grace Hazelwood (West Simsbury, Connecticut/West Simsbury) and member of the women's lacrosse program recently completed a four day trip to the NCAA national office in Indianapolis to participate in the NCAA's Career in Sports Forum where she was among 215 fellow NCAA student-athletes selected from roughly 1,000 applicants.

It marks the sixth year the NCAA has invited student-athletes from across all three divisions who expressed an interest in pursuing a career in sports and were viewed as leaders on their campus were invited to apply to attend the forum after a nomination by athletics administrators at their respective schools. Many current and past attendees are members of their Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the student-athlete voice within the NCAA governance structure.

"The Career in Sports Forum taught me a lot of new skills and techniques on how to become a better leader as I transition from student-athlete into an employee," said Hazelwood of her experience during the four day event. "I really enjoyed taking the competitive nature I possess by being a student-athlete and learning how to channel these transferable skills to create an improved 'personal brand'. Being able to connect with athletes from all three divisions was really unique and maintaining these new relationships will be very important if I want to work in collegiate athletics someday."

Hazelwood (center) with some of her fellow student-athletes at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum at NCAA Headquarters in Indianapolis.

Hazelwood (top row six from the right) was a member of the "Teal Team" at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum.

One of more than 20 annual programs and resources organized and directed by the NCAA leadership development department, the Career in Sports Forum provides college athletes with a broader scope of the career tracks available within the sports business, with the primary focus on college athletics. The forum provides student-athletes interactive experiences with successful individuals in the sports business and a peek into their day-to-day duties and responsibilities. The participants also learn best practices for gaining employment and gathering a better understanding of what future expectations will be once they get a job in sports. Keynote speakers included: NCAA president Mark Emmert, Great Lakes Valley Conference commissioner Jim Naumovich, Antonio Neves, director of higher education for aboutme.com, and Stevie Baker-Watson, director of athletics at DePauw University in Indiana.

"Each individual had a story of how they got to the position they currently hold and many went through a lot of failures and experiences in order to grow," said Hazelwood. "It was clear to me that the industry of sports is a desirable and difficult one but we can all use our skills as athletes, dealing with adversity, time-management, ability to solve problems, sacrifice, being pro-active, being held accountable and to continue to fight for what we want in order to be successful."

The student-athletes were also split up into smaller teams where facilitators engaged them about career goals and objectives to consider how personal values intersect with career opportunities, to better understand how behavioral styles impact individual effectiveness and to discuss professional and career development information to assist transition from student-athlete to working professional. The benefit being the opportunity to network with key decision-makers within sports at the campus, conference and national level.

Hazelwood (right) with student-athletes from Auburn and Tennessee.

Hazelwood was a four-year letterwinner on the Stonehill lacrosse team. (PHOTO BY SportsPix)

Hazelwood was a four year letterwinner for the Stonehill women's lacrosse program, earning Northeast-10 Conference Commissioner's Honor Roll status seven semesters and Athletic Director's Honor Roll accolades five semesters. She appeared in 34 games over her career, including 14 with nine starts on the Skyhawks defense as a senior. Hazelwood collected 26 ground balls, four draw controls and seven caused turnovers over her career. She also completed an internship within the athletic department at Stonehill, was a member of the LifeSkills Committee and also interned at Major League Baseball.

The NCAA leadership development department provides professional and personal development for the entire Association, including student-athletes, coaches and administrators, through accessible resources, strategic partnerships and annual customized programming at little or no cost to the membership.

Stonehill (15-5, 10-3 NE-10), ranked seventh in the final Intercollegiate Women's Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA) Division II poll, earned its eighth NCAA Tournament bid this season, falling to eventual national champions Adelphi University (10-6) in the national quarterfinal round. The Skyhawks also appeared in their 17th Northeast-10 Tournament, reaching the semifinal round for the 17th consecutive year. Head Coach Katie Conover '03 collected her 100th win in eight seasons at the helm of her alma mater with a 16-9 win at Assumption College on March 28.

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