MEDIA, Pa. — Nicole Doyle, who earned her Penn State degree from the Brandywine campus in December, recently started a full-time career that merges her passion for sports and her academic background in human development and family studies (HDFS).
Doyle, the youth programs coordinator at United Sports, actually began working for the company part time as a Penn State student. Before that, she worked in sports retail. United Sports offers youth programs, camps, clinics and leagues at its 72-acre indoor/outdoor facility in Downingtown.
“I went right to work at 16, and I gravitated toward sports-related jobs because I fell in love with sports growing up,” said Doyle.
In addition to working at United Sports as a Penn State student, Doyle was a student-athlete who played women’s soccer at Brandywine. She split her days between working at United Sports, training with the soccer team and studying for her HDFS classes.
Near the end of her undergraduate studies, Doyle needed to find an HDFS-focused internship — something that she assumed would take her away from United Sports. Instead, United Sports surprised her with an offer that not only aligned with her HDFS studies, but allowed her to stay with the company.
She became the youth programming intern, assisting the department with a variety of tasks, including administrative work, before and after school programs, and coordinating activities for United Sports’ Little Kickers class.
“Youth programming called upon a lot of the themes I had studied in my HDFS classes,” she said. “But I especially saw my studies applied in Little Kickers.”
Little Kickers is a developmental program for children as young as 18 months old. It uses imagination games and fun themes to teach rudimentary soccer skills.
“Many of the students in the class can’t really talk yet, but you can still help them get the concepts,” said Doyle. “Having some background in child development has made a big difference for me while working with that age group.”
A few weeks into the internship, Doyle’s supervisors offered her a full-time position as the youth programming coordinator.
At work, she finds herself not only using the skills learned in her HDFS classes, but surrounded by fellow sports lovers — and several Penn Staters — who encourage her in her career path.
“I love my position now and hope to be there for a long time,” she said. “I had the chance to assist the other supervisors while I was an intern, and now I get to adapt the youth coordinator role and make it my own.”