Student/Alumni Profiles

Vanessa Farinelli '13
Account Executive, Learfield Sports at The University of Rhode Island

Vanessa Farinelli“I realized that in order to pursue my dream of working in collegiate athletics, I needed to continue my education to stay relevant in the job search,” says Vanessa.  “As the sports industry continues to develop and become more popular, standing out and differentiating yourself becomes key!” 

After Vanessa applied to a graduate position through the athletics department of Marquette University, she learned about the graduate program in sports leadership.  Studying leadership with a sports specialization directly relates to her current professional work in sports and future career goals, which was an important factor when Vanessa was considering where she would continue her education.        

“The experiences I had and the relationships I developed with people while at Marquette have proven invaluable to me as I continue to work and gain experience in my current role,” she says.  An added bonus was having classes scheduled in the evenings, which worked very well with her schedule. 

“Continuing my education was important to gain valuable experience working in collegiate athletics and also increase my knowledge of the industry.” 

Dan Sweeney ’12

Dan Sweeney

Since Dan is involved with coaching youth and high school soccer programs and he has always enjoyed being a leader in a sports environment, he decided that he wanted to go to graduate school for sports management.  After he heard about the graduate program in sports leadership at Marquette University, Dan decided to enroll in order to strengthen his leadership skills and advance his sports career. 

“The Sports Leadership program worked well with my busy schedule,” says Dan.  “With the blended online class design, I was able to balance family, school and work at the same time.”  In addition, Dan was able to connect with a network of Marquette students, faculty and staff who are professionals in the sports industry.    

“My education has helped me grow both personally and professionally,” remarks Dan.  “Personally, I feel I have more control over the challenges I will face.  Professionally, my education is helping me move forward to achieve my goal of becoming an athletic director and helping people reach their full athletic potential.” 

Dan has been selected from hundreds of applicants for an internship with the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado.  “I believe that having a degree from Marquette University jumped out on my resume and helped me obtain this great opportunity,” he says. 

Click here to view Dan's story in the summer 2012 issue of Marquette Matters.

Sidny Harker '13
Reservation & Event Services Operations Manager, Carroll University

Sidny HarkerWhen Sidny heard about Marquette’s graduate program in Leadership Studies with a Sports Leadership specialization, she decided to continue her education to gain knowledge on how to become an effective leader in the sports industry. She was drawn to Marquette for their reputation of excellence in education. “I knew the education I would receive at Marquette would not only contribute to my current position, but help to prepare me professionally for any future positions I may hold,” says Sidny.

“With smart time management and some flexibility offered by professors who understand that I have a full-time job and personal responsibilities, I have been able to balance school, work and other activities,” remarks Sidny. “By furthering my education I hope to improve my leadership skills to benefit those I work with now and in the future.”

Armen Saryan - Student
Producer, WTMJ Radio

Armen SaryanArmen earned his bachelor’s degree in Broadcast and Electronic Communication at Marquette University and interned at WTMJ Radio, which led to getting hired as a producer after graduation. The thought about going back to school to get his master’s degree was always in the back of Armen’s mind. When he heard about Marquette’s new graduate program in Sports Leadership it seemed like a natural fit with his career goals and he decided it was the right time.

“I enrolled in the Sports Leadership program because it combines my love of sports with my desire to be a quality leader and advance my career,” remarks Armen. “I knew the program would be good because of Marquette University’s great academic reputation and resources.” He was also drawn to the flexibility of the program, which allows students to balance school, work and personal responsibilities by attending part-time on weeknights and taking some classes online.

Starting with his first class, Armen was able to immediately put the leadership theories he was learning about into practice at work to help improve teamwork through collaborative synergy. “This program is helping me enhance my interactions with people in my business and personal life. Since ethics is a huge focus, I am learning how to apply what I learn in a positive way and make the best impact in the world around me.”

Meredith Black - Student
Head Lacrosse Coach, Marquette University

Meredith BlackWhen Meredith heard about the graduate program in Leadership Studies at Marquette University and learned that she could specialize in Sports Leadership, she thought it was a perfect fit with her passion for sports and a great opportunity to continue her education. 

As the head coach of the varsity lacrosse team at Marquette, Meredith is in charge of the whole operation of the team.  Her responsibilities include administration, recruiting, coaching, hiring, planning for the future, and more.  “Leadership is very important to me and very important to my job on a daily basis,” she says.  “Since I am in sports and plan to be in sports for my entire career, the Sports Leadership specialization was the way to go for me.”

To get her school work done, Meredith sets aside time in her day and week.  Managing her time is important because she travels a lot for both work and pleasure, and she loves to spend time with her husband.  She also needs time for a business she owns called Black Lax, an organization for female Wisconsin youth to learn the sport of lacrosse. 

“I hope to gain knowledge about leadership and to grow professionally,” Meredith says. “I lead 35 people every day and any sort of help I can get is great!  I love learning and I think this major will help me to be a better coach. This should help me gain success both on and off the field. In theory, it could help me win more games!”


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Marquette University College of Professional Studies
707 Building, Room 403
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee WI 53201-1881
Phone: (414) 288-3153 or (800) 793-6450, extension 2
FAX: (414) 288-3298