Engagement Opens Doors: UISRM Feature - John Leo & Kyle Mickle

Jon and Kyle

The word ‘engaged’ is one that students hear Anna Jensen, UISRM Field Experience Director, use often. As an adjective, it can be used to mean ‘involved in activity’ or ‘greatly interested’. Two UISRM students, recent graduate John Leo and Kyle Mickle (ex. BS 2019), are identified by Anna as engaged students and, as a result, were able to accept unique experiential learning opportunities outside of Iowa City while completing online coursework.

John and Kyle’s stories are similar. They’re both strong students in the classroom who used part-time employment and program resources to position themselves for desirable employment opportunities. While the desirable positions offered required them to leave Iowa City, UISRM online coursework allowed them to maintain their status as a full-time student and stay on schedule toward their anticipated graduation date.

John Leo – On Press Row

With parents and family who are in the medical field, John was close to attending the University of Oklahoma to be a meteorologist. However, a chance opportunity to perform the radio play-by-play broadcast for Oelwein wrestling during his senior year of high school opened John’s eyes to a new passion. After enrolling in the UISRM program in Fall 2016 and serving as Sports Reporter for Daily Iowan TV, John forged a relationship with UNI Panther play-by-play broadcaster, Gary Rima (pictured below). This relationship led to the opportunity to announce games for the Cedar Valley CourtKings during the summer of 2017.Jon with Gary Rima

The CourtKings experience and mentorship from UISRM faculty led to John becoming the 2018 play-by-play announcer for the Bismarck Larks of the Northwoods Baseball League. During a Larks series in Waterloo against the Bucks, Rima invited John as a guest on his radio program, On Press Row. What was supposed to be a 30-minute commitment ended up being a two-hour contribution to the entire On Press Row show. Little did John know at the time, but a few months later Rima would offer him the opportunity to join On Press Row as co-host and in-studio producer.

While John wanted to immediately accept the position, he knew he had coursework to complete before his anticipated graduation at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. He quickly connected with Anna Jensen for guidance and the two developed a plan that allowed John to accept the position. The plan called for John to complete twelve semester hours of online coursework while working full time. John received his diploma at the CLAS Commencement Ceremony on May 11 and is working on a new high school football broadcast project alongside his responsibilities with On Press Row.

Kyle Mickle – Goodyear Ballpark

A quick scroll through Kyle’s Twitter feed will help you understand his passion for baseball. Hailing from the Quad Cities, Kyle used his passion for baseball and proximity to Modern Woodmen Park to begin building his experience portfolio in minor league baseball during the summer of 2017. After his summer job, Kyle began earning field experience credit toward his degree through the Fans First and Iowa Wolves practicums during the 2017-18 school year.

Kyle on Goodyear Ballpark Dugout

While the Fans First and the Wolves practicums provided him experience in event management, customer service, and revenue generation, Kyle sought additional experience in marketing and promotions. To accomplish this, he joined several UISRM students and faculty at the MiLB Promotional Seminar held in Des Moines in September, 2018. At the conclusion of the seminar, Kyle aggressively searched TeamWork Online for internships. What resulted was an opportunity to intern at Goodyear Ballpark in Arizona, the Spring Training home for the Cleveland Indians and Cincinnati Reds, as a Corporate Partnership Intern (pictured right).

As the internship spanned from January to April, Kyle would be unable to take courses in Iowa City as a traditional student. However, after meeting with Anna Jensen, Kyle learned he was able to use UISRM online coursework to maintain his status as a full-time student and stay on schedule for his anticipated graduation.

During the internship, Kyle often worked ten-hour days. However, the flexibility and support provided by his UISRM online instructors allowed him to balance internship responsibilities and coursework. After returning to Iowa in April, Kyle completed his Spring 2019 courses and is preparing to participate in the Chicago Blackhawks practicum before pursuing a full-time career in professional baseball.

The Importance of Engagement

While some believe that ‘timing is everything’, it was involvement, activity, and interest that provided the valuable opportunities to John and Kyle. Field Trips, practicums, volunteer opportunities, and job search support through mentorship and TeamWork Online are some of the mechanisms UISRM provides to facilitate opportunities to students. In support of this, it is UISRM’s thorough and diverse online course offerings that allow students to accept opportunities regardless of time of year or progress on academic journey to realize career achievement.


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