Scholarship winners: Where are they now?
Part of a series of updates on past NIRSA Foundation Scholarship winners
The NIRSA Foundation is committed to educational and scholarly projects that enhance leadership development within campus programs. Each year the NIRSA Foundation offers student and professional scholarships so that recipients can attend various NIRSA educational programs.
This year, the NIRSA Foundation awarded scholarships to 17 students and 3 professionals. Since 1994, the Foundation has awarded 201 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 to enhance the professional and career aspirations of our Student and Professional Members.
From time to time, the Foundation Board will track some of our scholarship recipients to get an idea of how their lives and careers have turned out.
This month, we caught up with Earl Cabellon. Earl received a 2004 NIRSA Foundation Scholarship while a graduate assistant at Bowling Green State University.
Earl Cabellon, 2004 Foundation Scholarship Recipient
NIRSA Foundation: What are you doing now?
Earl: Currently, I am working at the University of Maryland, College Park for the Department of Campus Recreation Services (CRS). I began my employment at Maryland (UMCP) in July 2004 after graduating from Bowling Green State University with my master’s degree. I started in the position of Coordinator of Facilities and was responsible for recruiting, training, supervising, and evaluating 40 facility supervisors and 65 facility staff, managing the equipment issue desk, and assisting with the upkeep and maintenance of the facility.
This spring, I accepted the position of Assistant Director for Student Personnel and Training. My focus will no longer be solely in facility management or student staffing. I will be responsible for marketing CRS student employment and programs, screening potential student employees, and working with the Student Affairs “Learning Outcomes” initiatives here.
NIRSA Foundation: What NIRSA activity or event did you use your scholarship to attend? *
Earl: I used the scholarship to attend the Annual Conference in Albuquerque (2004). This was the conference where I interviewed for what is now my current position at Maryland.
* In general, Student Scholarships are used to cover the cost of registration fees for the NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Exposition. Certain NIRSA Foundation Scholarships and Endowed Scholarships allow the scholarships to be used at other NIRSA educational events.
NIRSA Foundation: What was your career track from the time you received the scholarship to now?
Earl: I have been full-time at UMCP since the scholarship. My career goal has always been to become a campus recreation professional. I realized this from my time as an undergraduate at the University of Rhode Island through my graduate assistantship at BGSU to my current position here in Maryland. I really want to thank my mentors for teaching me about our profession: Art Tuveson and Jodi Hawkins (University of Rhode Island); Cathy Swick, Thad Long, and Dave Hollinger (Bowling Green State University); and Andrea Thompson (University of Maryland). Without any of these people I would not be the person I am today.
NIRSA Foundation: Would you have been able to attend the Albuquerque conference without the foundation scholarship?
Earl: Yes, absolutely, I would have.
NIRSA Foundation: What was your favorite experience from Albuquerque that you would like to share?
Earl: It’s hard to recall, considering I was looking for a full-time job. I think the most memorable experience was the excitement of interviewing, spending time with new and old friends in the field, and presenting at the conference.
NIRSA Foundation: Winning a scholarship means different things to different recipients. What did your scholarship mean to you and why? Do you feel it has had a significant impact on your professional development? Do you believe that your Foundation scholarship helped further your career?
Earl: When I won the scholarship I was honored. I know I competed against many of my fellow students who were just as deserving of this award. NIRSA has been good to me with all of the networking, education, and opportunities it has given me. The fact that the NIRSA Foundation honored me with this award was truly humbling. I was a second-year graduate assistant when I received the award in 2004. While at the national conference I was searching for my first professional job. Winning the award benefited me greatly because of the additional exposure I received. The various universities and colleges that I interviewed with recognized me and my name. That year I ended up with many offers for full-time jobs and I truly believed it was partly because of winning this prestigious award
NIRSA Foundation: Any advice for our current students and future professionals?
Earl: My advice for current students and future professionals is to get involved! Serve on committees, present at state, regional, and national conferences. Seek leadership positions within NIRSA and network!
NIRSA Foundation: What’s on the horizon for you?
Earl: I have a few goals this year that I would like to accomplish. Going back to school is the main priority. I think it is time for me to pursue a Ph.D. and complete this within the next few years. As for NIRSA, I would like to do more within Region I. In my NEW position as Assistant Director for Student Personnel at CRS, I would like to expand more on student development opportunities for our student employees.
Note: This interview was conducted in mid-April right before the Annual Conference. Since then, Earl was nominated by his peers in Maryland/DC/Delaware to serve as State Director.