Story by: Brianna McCullough
Representing one’s athletic team is the assumed role of a student-athlete, but the notion that a given student-athlete is also equally representing his or her field of study or department is often overlooked. At Missouri State, student-athletes in the communication department proudly reflect on their commitment to their field of study and what it has to offer students at the university.
Aaron Clardy, an offensive linemen on the football team, is a senior at Missouri State studying public relations. For Clardy, public relations was not the route he thought he would be taking when he started out as a Bear.
“I initially came into MSU wanting to be an international business major because I’m bilingual and speak both English and Spanish fluently, but I wasn’t as interested in it as I thought I was,” Clardy said. “I eventually changed my major three more times and finally chose Communication. It has been quite the experience, and I enjoy it very much.”
The communication department is a vast program which particularly aims to strengthen verbal and written communication skills. Students can specialize in this area by declaring communication as a major or minor.
While being a student-athlete is difficult and offers struggles at times, the communication department benefits student-athletes by helping them improve the communication skills that are necessary for everyday tasks.
“Being in a sport, there’s a lot of communication that takes place across the board. There are always meetings and setting times as well as changes that are communicated throughout the day that you have to make sure and get the details for,” Clardy said.
In addition to gaining experience with effective communication and planning, Clardy feels that the department has a lot to offer that goes beyond coursework and classroom time.
“My favorite parts about being a COM major are the relationships I’ve built with my professors over the past couple years and how much I’ve learned from them not just in the classroom but also what they’ve taught I could do better in life with my career.” -Aaron Clardy
Upon graduation in December, the senior student athlete has his eyes set on work beyond playing on the field.
“I would love to be doing work for MLB teams and go through the process of working my way up through the Triple AAA affiliates,” Clardy said.
While his time as a student-athlete is coming to an end, Clardy credits his confidence of being equipped and ready to enter the “real world” to his work in communication.
“There are so many things that the department has done for me, and the resources they provided to their many students is just awesome. I’m so happy and blessed to be a part of the COM department.”