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Inside Education and Health Sciences

Experiencing the Final Four

By Emily Clemenson

Nine students in the University of Dayton's sport management program had the opportunity to volunteer with the NCAA Women's Final Four in Cleveland last April. 

The trip was coordinated by Dr. Haozhou Pu, associate professor in the health and sport science department, thanks to a former student who works for the Greater Cleveland Sport Commission. 

"We were also particularly encouraged by the tremendous popularity in women's college basketball this year and believe this will be a great opportunity for our students to witness the growth of women's sports," Pu said.

Cleveland is just over three hours by car from the University of Dayton, and a number of students jumped at the opportunity to participate in such a high-profile athletic event so close to home.

"I learned so much about fan engagement, running sporting events, and networking," said junior Connor McDonough. "I was able to experience many wonderful events and meet some pretty amazing people."

Freshman Nathan Teller is interested in working on the event side of sport management, so the opportunity to volunteer at a well-known NCAA event was the perfect experience.

"I had an amazing time interacting with fans from so many different schools while I helped run different events," said freshman Nathan Teller. "I couldn’t thank the University of Dayton HSS [Health and Sport Science] Department enough for this opportunity I got to share with the rest of the group!"

The sport management program builds a number of experiential opportunities into its curriculum. All students complete a semester-long practicum in a realm of the sport management industry. And because the NCAA Men's First Four has historically been held at the University of Dayton arena, students often get an opportunity to go behind the scenes there as well.

"I have taken an interest in marketing and event planning and this experience has enhanced my appeal towards both of them," said freshman Michelle Hickey. "I was able to see how a big event like this runs and what goes into it. I became more intrigued by events because I got to see that hard work and dedication can pay off and make the event run smoothly!"

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