Student-Athlete Prepares for Success with Aggie EVO

Kwong
By Clémentine Sicard

The Aggie EVO Program is all about preparing student-athletes for the changes they will face as they graduate and find careers. When it comes to big life changes, women’s soccer team member Tami Kwong ’21 is no stranger.

Kwong transferred to UC Davis last fall after attending San Francisco State University for her first two years of college. When Kwong’s coach at SFSU became the head coach of women’s soccer at UC Davis, Kwong and three other teammates decided to follow her here.

The transition of moving from one university to another can be stressful, but Kwong felt supported the moment she stepped onto campus.

“Everybody here is so welcoming” Kwong said. “I was nervous coming over, but the support I received from academic advisors and the soccer community made the transfer a lot easier.”

As much as students love the UC Davis campus and community, however, they know that their time here goes by fast and will one day come to an end. Students are all too familiar with the big question, “what are you going to do after you graduate?”

“College can be difficult because you want to make your most of the time you spend there, but you also have to think about the future,” Kwong said.

This paradox can be especially challenging for student-athletes who must juggle rigorous training and games in addition to classes and homework. With such a busy day-to-day schedule, it can be hard to set aside time to figure out and prepare for long-term career goals.

Aggie EVO

This is where Aggie EVO steps in to help student-athletes plan for life after graduation. “EVO” is shorthand for a student-athlete's “evolution” during college—a time for them to develop professional skills and practice. The program is committed to helping student-athletes successfully launch into their careers once they graduate.

The Athletics initiative has been so successful, UC Davis is scaling the model up to offer it to all students through the Aggie Launch Big Idea. Like EVO, it will offer professional skill development and career preparation programs.

“The EVO program is really helpful for student-athletes,” Kwong said. “They know how busy our schedules are and make events outside school and practice hours so they are easier to attend. EVO is also incorporated in our soccer program so we can stay up to date on events that they host.”

“EVO is a very unique program here,” Kwong noted. “We didn’t have anything like it at my previous school. Its helped me practice real-world skills for entering the job market. Resume workshops and 'coffee talks' with alumni have enabled me to expand my network and become more confident in my job search."

One event Kwong attended was a speed networking mixer where students interacted with professionals from different fields and learned how to give an “elevator pitch” to introduce themselves. As Kwong knows from the soccer field, practice is key when achieving your goals.

“I feel a lot more confident interviewing for a job after going to the speed networking event. Having that opportunity to practice was really valuable, especially since I’m not sure what I want to do yet after I graduate. This event helped me make connections and learn about different fields.”

Kwong is a communications major and is involved on campus as an officer on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). While she isn’t exactly sure what job she wants to do after graduation, she knows she wants to work in the business/marketing realm.

“EVO is a very unique program here,” Kwong noted. “We didn’t have anything like it at my previous school. Its helped me practice real-world skills for entering the job market. Resume workshops and 'coffee talks' with alumni have enabled me to expand my network and become more confident in my job search."

Optimism for the future in unprecedented times

The commitment that the Aggie EVO program has to helping student-athletes prepare for their futures is especially crucial now in such uncertain times. In addition to their classes being affected, many student-athletes have had sports seasons cancelled or delayed.

The start of the year looks very different for Kwong and other members of the women’s soccer team as training is voluntary and all outdoors. However, Kwong has dealt with change before and she remains positive and hopeful.

“Being on the women’s soccer team has taught me how to persevere in the face of a challenge,” Kwong said. “It’s very frustrating that my last season might be affected by COVID-19, but I’ve also learned to stay positive, be a good teammate and be there for my community.”

Learn more about Aggie Launch >>

Category

Tags