When Shannon Nix was still in high school, she heard from her brother, Joe, how much he loved the university he had attended. Nix, of Glencoe, Minnesota, followed in her brother’s footsteps and is now a senior at Upper Iowa University.
It wasn’t long before Nix began to carve out a niche of her own at UIU. She is a business administration major, with a minor in marketing and communications, with a goal of becoming an event coordinator when she graduates. But not just any event coordinator—Nix is passionate about giving back and envisions a future of fundraising projects. She is already on her way, having spent this last summer interning through the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) at the United States Sports Academy (USSA).
CASE, founded in 1974, serves educational institutions and encourages the advancement of professionals through alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and related areas. The professional association helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education. CASE also hosts various advancement services and works with other organizations to promote the growth of education worldwide.
“CASE is a wonderful organization that offers a great opportunity for young professionals to get involved in advancement and get their foot in the door,” Nix said. “I was blessed to have an opportunity to intern with them, and my experience there reinforced my desire for a career in event planning in fundraising.”
On June 5, Nix headed to Daphne, Alabama, to start her internship with USSA, working in the Student Services Department where she primarily connected with alumni over various social media platforms to interest them in becoming more involved with the Academy. USSA is known for its advancement in careers pertaining to sports. They offer several programs, including full degrees, single courses and internships. While attending USSA there are opportunities to meet and connect with alumni, joining in one of sport’s most extensive networks. With more than two-thirds of USSA alumni working within the sport industry, the Academy’s success and professionalism are well established.
Nix attributes her USSA internship to Naomi Aziz, her supervisor for her student job at UIU. The internship gave her the opportunity to move away from home and try something new for eight weeks. She reminisces that her favorite experience during her time at USSA was connecting with alumni who had previously attended the Academy.
“I had the opportunity to speak with many dedicated alumni who are doing great things with their lives,” Nix said. “I loved the conversations we had and I appreciate all the connections I made during my time there. I also had the opportunity to experience a lot of different things that were not available to me in the Midwest.”
The internship was just a few examples of the real-world experience that UIU regularly provides graduates of programs throughout the university. As is the case with most UIU graduates, these opportunities were very meaningful to Nix.
“This experience gave me the opportunity to see what the real world is like,” Nix said. “It was good to get a taste of what to expect after college is over.”
Today, Nix speaks fondly of UIU, much like her brother did years ago. She is now the one championing the benefits of a UIU education and the things she enjoyed most, including the hands-on and real-world learning opportunities, participation in student clubs/organizations and her experience as a student-athlete. After all, not only is she a devoted softball player, she is currently a student ambassador, president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and president of Kappa Zeta Tau.
“Upper Iowa University provides you so many opportunities,” Nix said. “I have loved my experience here and hope that one day someone else will enjoy these same experiences because they heard my story and decided to become a UIU Peacock.”