The Impact of WPU Grad Assistants
by Emery Songer
WPU Sports Information Graduate Assistant
In this new age, the growing institution of William Penn University has seen an increasing number of students and success in the classroom and in the athletic fields. With this, another group has emerged to help Penn get to that point as well: the graduate assistants.
Nearly every sport has a graduate assistant, or GA, employed in the athletic department. Depending on the situation, a GA could be in a position to pick up experience, or be a vital part of the success of a program.
The GA gets the job opportunity for three potential types of pay: tuition for graduate classes, free housing, and/or stipend checks. Some GAs get all three, some only get one. It truly depends on the situation and the financial scenario for their particular sport or department.
When it comes to the average day for a GA, it depends on their role and if their sport is in season.
Current GAs, like the group working in Strength and Conditioning, put in hard hours every day, all year long. The athletes they work with may change, but the workouts never stop. It takes a tremendous amount of dedication for these assistants, especially considering the time that must be allotted to homework and going to class.
Steve Latos, the golf GA, wears many different hats. Along with helping the coaching of the men’s and women’s teams, Steve helps with Booster Club fundraisers and is always found helping in the concession stand at every Penn home event.
For Penn’s appreciated department behind the scenes, Abu Ibrahim has stepped into quite a big role. The athletic trainers are always an overlooked part of a University’s athletic success. Ibrahim has been working hours as though he were a full-time employee.
“I work in the office regularly, but the important times are the times before and after practices,” Ibrahim says. “The events themselves are also important, as we travel with our teams. I’ve worked three events in one day before.”
These busy days in the training room are also a big part of Alice Ross’s life. Alice is more known for her work with the track and cross country teams, but because of her certification, she willingly pulls double duty to get even more experience in her field.
Ross, along with fellow track and field GA Kyle Armstrong, is also a big part of the recruiting process of the program. They help make calls and target potential future Statesmen to help Head Coach Allen Friesen and the budding program grow.
The GAs for nearly every sport have some sort of hand in the recruiting. Moises Oseguera of the men’s soccer program has been to several high school showcases scouting talent and will be primarily relied upon for coaching the goalkeepers.
Oseguera works with newly hired Head Coach Raphael Martinez, who is a success story of the William Penn graduate program. Martinez was officially the interim head coach while leading the Statesmen program to one of the best seasons in school history. The young team has responded to his leadership along with Oseguera, as the two are a great tandem to sell the opportunities of a GA.
Martinez is joined by Sean Gosewisch, a recently hired assistant coach for the track and field and cross country programs. Gosewisch wrapped up the graduate program at WPU in 2013.
KC Routos has a little bit different story in her current role as the Administration GA. KC, a 2013 graduate of William Penn, played softball for Head Coach Mike Christner. While Coach Christner already has a pair of GAs himself in Athena Rosario and Ashley Kingery, KC helps with a small recruiting load and at practices. KC’s usual duties involve helping manage events at Penn, mainly working the clock, assigning “ball boys,” and other things of that nature. This makes for a busy day, but well worth it for the pay-off: a Master’s Degree in Business Leadership and well needed experience in a field of interest.
Every GAs story is different. There are GAs who have full time jobs at other places. There are also GAs that spend full time hours working on campus. Roles range from recruiting dozens of prospects to writing articles summarizing sporting events’ results.
The other side of the coin is the administrators that are hiring the GAs. The prospects must apply for the position and must apply for school as well. As most graduate schools, William Penn’s program demands a 3.0 GPA, so many potential GAs are turned back. If the prospect gets accepted to school, it then turns to the administrator for the prospect’s hire.
Levi Tarbell is the PAC Director on the Penn campus and has hired numerous GAs for different roles on campus. His focus on hiring GAs has to do mainly with their background in the field.
“I don’t necessarily focus on the degree or the GPA,” Tarbell explained. “As long as they have work experience in recreation, or got their degree in recreation, that will be good enough to make them a candidate. The specifics will possibly get them an interview, and then we go from there.”
Tarbell is just one of many administrators who are on the lookout for GAs who can help the university and get more experience in their field.
For the GAs themselves, it has become a family-typed atmosphere. From those who are close to finishing class, to the many who are just getting started, mutual respect and teamwork throughout their respective programs have made the “graduate assistant” tag mean something at William Penn University.
All graduate assistant bios and contact information can be found on the Athletic Directory on the WPU Athletics website.