Shenandoah University continues to offer students the chance to team up with working professionals to develop a strong foundation upon which to build their own paths into the professional world through the Leadership and Mentoring Program (LAMP).
Started in 2015, LAMP is a partnership between SU, the community and various corporations, companies and industries through which students are connected with mentors that provide career guidance, leadership development and career exploration.
Former Shenandoah student and football player Jason Euman ’21, who graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration with a sport management concentration, wants to one day become a college athletic director and hopes the foundation he laid during his time at SU will help him achieve that goal.
Euman is working toward a Master of Arts in kinesiology with a sport administration concentration at the University of Alabama, while serving as a graduate assistant in the university’s athletics department. He has LAMP to thank for opening the door to that step in his professional development, as it was through that program and its director, Fritz Polite, Ph.D., Shenandoah’s associate vice president for student leadership and development, that Euman ended up at Alabama.
While Euman was a student at SU, Dr. Polite encouraged him to join LAMP and linked Euman up with mentor John Vincent, Ph.D., professor and graduate coordinator of sport administration/management at Alabama and a former classmate of Polite’s at Florida State University.
The relationship that me and Dr. Vincent have now has benefitted me. He’s not just a teacher to me, he’s someone I can go to for guidance. If it wasn’t for me just asking to talk to him about my future, then this GA position probably never would’ve opened up in my favor. It pretty much goes without saying: without LAMP, I probably wouldn’t be in the position that I am today.”
Jason Euman ’21, Shenandoah alum and LAMP mentee
Though Euman was heavily involved in business school programs from the moment he stepped onto Shenandoah’s campus, LAMP was one opportunity that he didn’t jump into right away. Starting his first year at SU, Euman took experiential learning trips with the Sport Business Association (SBA) to high-profile sporting events like the College Football Playoffs National Championship (twice, in 2018 and 2020) and the Super Bowl (2019). Euman also traveled to South Korea during his sophomore year to work the Seoul International Marathon, an Olympic-qualifying event.
Each of those trips, Euman said, was an instance of him recognizing opportunities presented to him, a message that Dr. Polite had stressed to Euman since Day 1 of class.
“Every time, it’s just like you learn something new, another skill set, another story to tell,” Euman said.
Euman became director of administration for the SBA as a sophomore and eventually became vice president of the student-led organization his senior year. It was during Euman’s junior year, when the question arose about Euman’s post-college plans, that Polite recommended he check out LAMP.
Jacob Shaffer, ’17, ’18, MBA, Shenandoah’s student leadership and development office manager, explained that the initial pairing of LAMP mentors and mentees includes one-on-one meetings and other methods to gain an understanding of their personality traits and other useful information. The idea, Shaffer said, is to find “that personal fit that works well.”
Through LAMP, Euman met Vincent in April 2020, and their initial conversations focused on establishing a relationship and discussing Euman’s future goals. When it came time to apply to graduate school, Euman chose his mentor’s university to push himself back out of his comfort zone and try something new.
Once at Alabama, Euman took a job with academic services to pay rent before the graduate assistant position in event management opened up. Vincent told Euman that becoming a college athletic director is a 20-year process, Euman said, so he had to get his “foot in the door somehow.”
Euman has done that in his role as a GA, through which he’s had the opportunity to work “pretty much every kind of home (sporting) event” that Alabama has held since October.
It’s hard work, I’m pretty busy, but I’m having a blast and just not taking for granted that I’m a kid from a small school in Shenandoah now working at Alabama. It’s just amazing seeing where I’ve come from, from being that shy 18-year-old in Dr. Polite’s class and taking a couple words and life lessons from that point and just using it in everything I do, to now being a grad assistant at the University of Alabama. It’s been an amazing experience and I can’t thank Dr. Polite, Shaffer, the SBA and Shenandoah enough for everything that they’ve given me.”