Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Student Spotlight: Meet Sorelle Ineza

Student Spotlight: Sorelle Ineza

Meet Sorelle Ineza, a standout student-athlete whose journey at Hofstra University exemplifies the power of dedication, balance, and leveraging campus resources for success. Juggling the demands of basketball, academics, and career development, Sorelle not only thrived on the court but also secured a prestigious postgraduate internship with the NCAA. Reflecting on her experience, Sorelle underscores the importance of leadership experiences, resilience, mentoring, and collaborative campus support at Hofstra.

At the dynamic intersection of sports and career exploration, Sorelle discovered a passion for sports communications during her sophomore year. From there, she sought out industry mentors and participated in formal mentoring programs. On an individual level, Sorelle shadowed mentors in the Hofstra Athletics Communications and Marketing departments, receiving invaluable support from professionals like Rachel Vogel, Stephen Gorchov, Daniel Savarino, and Hannah Geller. According to Sorelle, “They were a huge help in teaching me the skills necessary to be successful in their profession.” Additionally, Sorelle joined the Women’s Sports Foundation/NBC Sport Group Mentoring Program.

In addition to participating in mentoring, Sorelle took the initiative to incorporate career development into her leadership experiences. She served as the media relations coordinator for Hofstra’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Executive Board for two years, aligning her career and athletics passions with a role through which she honed her media skills. Sorelle also chose to participate in the Pride Leadership Academy, through which she developed her personal leadership style and learned a variety of leadership strategies and tactics that she will take with her into her desired future career with the NCAA.

When reflecting on how Hofstra’s support systems helped her juggle the competing demands of her athletics commitments and preparation for her career, Sorelle noted the importance of mentoring and synergistic relationships among campus departments that helped her navigate Hofstra’s resources. “I have to give a huge shoutout to our director of women’s basketball operations, Shaaliyah Lyons. She played a big part in keeping me focused on my career development. She made sure I used the resources that we have on campus, like the Center for Career Design & Development, and put me in contact with them. I am so thankful for their help.”

Sorelle also noted that the Center for Career Design & Development’s nimble approach to student service was helpful as she balanced competing demands. “They have helped me with my resume, interview process, and confidence building. Even though I had a hectic schedule, they still found time to take me in and prepare me. I would come in after practice or on my off days, or I would exchange emails with them. Sandra Buatti-Ramos is AMAZING! She was available throughout my whole interview process with the NCAA. I truly don’t know what I would have done without her. Every time we met, my confidence would go up. She always took the time to remind me how amazing and prepared I was. She made this whole process a whole lot easier for me. She’s a REAL one!”

When asked how engaging with the Center for Career Design & Development has added value to her experience as a student-athlete, Sorelle explained, “As student-athletes, we often think that we are not qualified to apply for anything because of how much time we spend practicing and playing or sport. I thought that I didn’t have enough experience to apply for the NCAA Postgraduate Internship Program, which was not the case. It is because of the Center for Career Design & Development that I started seeing how valuable and transferable my skills were for the position. Sandra made sure to show me how valuable everything that I have gained while being a student-athlete was. Just to name a few: Hofstra SAAC, Pride Leadership Academy, NCAA Career in Sports Forum, Madison Square Garden, community service, etc.”

Like many college students, Sorelle was initially hesitant to reach out for career preparation assistance, but she explained that her interactions with the staff helped set her at ease. “I was scared to reach out at first, but they made me so comfortable once I got there.” She remarked on her distinguishable experiences with the professionals at the Center for Career Design & Development as a positive influence on her career development. “The staff was very welcoming and supportive. They are professionals who understand what college students need. They ask about your day, classes, practices, games, and more. Very personable people who care about us as human beings! Moreover, they are very flexible and make time for us no matter the circumstances.” Sorelle also reflected on the staff’s ability to tailor their support and services to meet her unique needs. “What stood out to me was how intentional they were in getting to know me at a deeper level. For instance, what motivates me in life, what are my strengths and weaknesses, and more. By doing that, they were able to know who I am as a person and find the tools necessary to connect with me and help me reach my goals.”

As leaders often do, Sorelle reflected on advice she would offer to her student-athlete peers when it comes to navigating the balance between sports and career development. “I would tell them that they are much more than just student-athletes. Yes, it is important to focus on their sports, but life has so much more to offer. It is crucial to make time for career development. Like our coach often says, “the ball will stop bouncing one day,” and you cannot wait until your career is over to find what motivates you outside of your sport or who you are as a person. Get involved on campus, talk to people, network, ask questions, shadow people, etc. We are surrounded by professionals! We often forget how lucky we are because of how consumed we are with our sport. Get outside of your comfort zone, touch on different things, sharpen your skills, and build a network. Put in the same effort in your career development that you put in your sport, and you will understand how powerful and equipped you are to be successful outside of your sport.”

Sorelle also reflected on the importance of connecting with the Center for Career Design & Development. “It is crucial for student-athletes to use the Center for Career Design & Development because of how insightful the staff is. We are much more than just student-athletes and need to think about our future outside of our sports. There's no better place on campus than the Center for Career Design & Development to help us understand our transferable skills, how valuable our experiences are, and how qualified we are to work anywhere we want.”

When asked if there was anything else she would like to note about the support she received at Hofstra, Sorelle stated, “I cannot thank the Center for Career Design & Development enough! They have made my experience a great one and helped me land one of the most prestigious postgraduate internships in the country. Thank you so much!”