As the recipient of an NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant, MCLA has welcomed Kaylyn Smith as the new assistant to the director of athletics. Smith, a former college athlete whose family background is based in sports, is excited to begin her new position on campus.
A recent graduate of Springfield College with a Master's of Education in physical education and a concentration in athletic administration, Smith's love of athletics and her family's fondness for spending time in the gym made her chosen career path a natural choice for her.
Smith's father was an athletic director for a high school in her hometown of East Greenbush, N.Y. And, as the fifth of six children, "I've always had the competitive drive and interest in being around athletics. I grew up in the gym."
For the next two years, Smith will work closely with MCLA Director of Athletics Scott Nichols, Assistant Athletics Director Dot Houston, and Jeff Puleri, sports information director and the College's head baseball coach. She will be involved with marketing and promotion of athletics, special events, sports information, compliance, home game management, and the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), to name a few areas of responsibility.
According to Nichols, the primary purpose of the NCAA grant is to create professional administrative opportunities for minorities and women, and to enhance diversity and inclusion within athletics administrative staffs.
"It is a very competitive process, and we are fortunate to have received this grant," he said. "Kaylyn will be an outstanding addition to MCLA and the Athletics Department."
Smith, who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology with an education minor from Western New England University in 2010, played field hockey for one year and basketball for four years as an undergraduate.
"Because I was a college athlete, I can relate to what these kids are doing every day and what the coaches are doing," she explained. "At the Division III level, you choose to play. I really respect that and want to be part of it. I want to give the same joy back that I got from being an athlete at college."
Smith found her background in psychology very helpful at a previous internship, and when she worked in the athletics office at Western New England University.
"A lot of the job is working with people and understanding them," she said. "I think that's especially important in an athletics capacity, because you're working with teams and you get to see how players work with one another and with their coaches. It all ties in together."
MCLA offers values Smith believes in.
"Students are taught community service, citizenship and leadership, while they are trained and prepared for opportunities outside of the campus," she explained. "The athletics department is very competitive and is in a great league with the MASCAC. I wanted to see this level of competition.
"This is the type of college and position that I wanted to be part of," Smith continued. "It just fit perfectly."