The senior journalism major on line 70 has Julie Hammer’s attention. The row containing this student’s name is shaded yellow, the color of caution, on a spreadsheet where Hammer tracks the post-grad plans of all 492 young men and women on the sports rosters at Northwestern University. Hammer marks in red students who have a job. Gray, headed to grad school. Green is for those hoping to keep playing after college – in the NFL, training to make the Olympic fencing team, golf qualifying school.
These days Hammer, an assistant athletics director, is fretting over that journalism major, whose talent and heart seem to outsize the shrinking job market of the industry she wants to join. The woman found time, despite the practice and competition demands of her Division I soccer team, to spend the summer before graduation in Nicaragua, telling the stories of people seeking ocular care from a nonprofit there. She pursued another opportunity in Calcutta, India, where she helped launch a magazine.
“She’s doing great, and she’s done all the right things. But she still doesn’t have a job,” said Hammer, noting that she will continue working with the soccer-playing journalism major until she finds a professional direction or chooses another route. “Once an athlete, always an athlete. We need to figure out what’s next for her.”
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