This guest post was written by Mackenzie Rice, a junior studying political science and economics at Towson University. She is a member of the Women’s Golf team and interns with the Regional Economic Studies Institute.

Many athletes that play Division 1 golf in college are striving to turn professional after their four years of studying and eligibility are over. However, I never saw professional golf in my future. I never wanted to put the pressure of making a pay check on the line, in case it would cause me to fall out of love for the game. As a result, ensuring that I am able to gain professional experience in my intended career field while studying at Towson University is absolutely critical for me. With my busy schedule as a student athlete, I thought it would be impossible to find an internship experience relating to my major, Economics and Political Science, that would give me experience working on real projects, while allowing me enough time to fulfill my significant practice commitments, even during the summer.

Fortunately, at my team’s fundraising event at Caves Valley in May, I had the opportunity to play golf with Dr. Daraius Irani, vice president, Innovation and Applied Research, Towson University and chief economist, Regional Economic Studies Institute (RESI), Towson University. Dr. Irani gave me some information about summer internships at RESI. He told me that RESI would be able to work with my golf schedule so that I could balance my athletic, academic, and intern commitments. I was lucky enough to intern at RESI and gain valuable experience doing research for a variety of projects during the summer, and was able to continue my internship experience into the fall semester and my competitive season.

Balancing Multiple Responsibilities

However, balancing an internship, classes, and athletics does not come without its challenges. On a typical day when I intern at RESI, I rush between being in the weight room with my team at 6:30 a.m., working at RESI from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., practicing with my team at Eagles Nest Country Club from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and finally catching up on my homework at night. Constantly switching from an academic to an athletic mindset can be tiring, but I have found that taking on multiple responsibilities is also very rewarding.

Despite my hectic schedule, the skills that I have learned so far at RESI during my summer and fall internships have been invaluable. I know that in the future when I graduate, the fact that I have been able to gain some real experience in the economics field during my collegiate golf career and studies at Towson University will carry a lot of weight. I am so thankful that I have had the opportunity to work with such an understanding institution that encourages my academic and athletic success and is flexible enough to accommodate the commitments that I have on and off the golf course.