Hartford, Conn. - Trinity College women's ice hockey junior Sierra Lee (Ferguson's Cove, Nova Scotia) truly encapsulates the term “student-athlete”. A typical week includes hours of weightlifting at the Ferris Athletic Center and long periods of skating on the ice at the Koeppel Community Center, but time is always made in her schedule to tend to her job at Trinity’s Center for Career Success and her internship at Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education, Simulation, and Innovation (CESI). In addition to her pursuit of a neuroscience and engineering double-major, it is clear Lee prides herself in extracting the most from her college experience. Working closely with Trinity Assistant Athletic Director for Engagement and Strategy Karen Shu, Lee is eager to aid her peers in taking advantage of on and off-campus opportunities.
The Canadian native who attended Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire started out playing Division I hockey at Union College in Schenectady, New York, before promptly transferring to Trinity in December of her sophomore season. Her twin sister, Julia Lee, who had already been playing ice hockey for the Bantams for two years, was one of the main reasons Sierra decided on Trinity. The prospect of playing alongside her sister, as well as competing in one of Division III’s most challenging conferences, was an ideal setting for Sierra. “I have a lot more free time at Trinity than I had at Union,” Lee says. "That is a huge reason I got to become a career development intern”.
Lee finished her first season with the Bantams with a team-high 20 points and was named to the All-NESCAC Team. Her contributions helped the Bantams finish with an 11-11-3 record and earn a top-four finish in the conference. This winter, her four goals and NESCAC-best 22 assists has Trinity back in the post-season.
Last spring, Lee attended a resume workshop for student-athletes held by Trinity's Career Development Center, an event that not only was “very helpful” according to Lee, but also lead to her securing an intern position with Karen Shu. Currently, Lee works beside 12 colleagues at the Career Development Center to support students with cover letters, resumes, and networking sites such as LinkedIn, Handshake, and Trinity’s own Bantam Career Network. Even while operating as an intern, she still finds herself learning ways to improve her own cover letters or networking strategies.
Lee is quick to credit Shu and the rest of the Career Development team with providing unparalleled help to job-seeking students. “I will not submit a job application without having it looked over by one of the career coaches or Karen ,” Lee shares. “They are experts at what they do”.
“Karen and I are pretty similar,” says Lee. “Her athletic background and her job in the athletic department are things that appeals to me.” A college athlete herself, Shu graduated from Boston College in 2014 with a degree in communication and psychology while also sporting several accolades as a varsity rower. Shu and Lee both agree that the student-athlete experience proves indispensable in the job market. Aptitudes such as time-management, communication skills, and the ability to operate in a team environment are directly transferable from the realm of sport into an office setting. Shu understands that plenty of athletes feel their share of academic and athletic commitments afford them little time to follow through on career paths. Still, she is firm in her belief that athletic experiences leave students well equipped for post-grad life.
However worthwhile the student-athlete experience exists to be, it would be wrong to assume it is anything but difficult. Drawing from her own involvement as a student-athlete Lee warns, “Being a student-athlete on top of carrying a double major with engineering and neuroscience is obviously really hard. I take two labs every single semester”. Attending a professor’s office hours while juggling 20-plus hours of ice-hockey a week is no easy feat. Coupled with Lee’s off-campus position as a biomedical intern at Hartford Hospital, her time is certainly spread thin.
As Lee treks through the second semester of her junior year, she remains appreciative of the opportunities around her even in the face of daunting 14-hour days that begin in at 6 o'clock in the morning. Though there is little time for distraction in Lee’s schedule, she is undoubtedly enthused about her on and off-ice endeavors. She continues to advise Trinity students to take advantage of the resources around them and to pursue their interests with passion. Most recently, Lee and the Bantams won three of four games to close the year and qualified for the NESCAC Championship Tournament this weekend at Middlebury.