Sport Management, '12
Sports Administration Alumni Dustin Parker always knew he was destined for the big leagues. As the assistant director of media relations & sports information at The University of Vermont, Parker worked his way from a small Vermont high school through all the opportunities Castleton provided him.
“I would not be at UVM without Castleton,” he said. “As an undergrad, the sports administration program helped fuel my obsession with sports into a profession. I was a sports information assistant as a freshman and worked as a work study student with the Spartan basketball, baseball, and softball programs.”
Parker held internships each summer with collegiate baseball leagues such as the Vermont Mountaineers and the Falmouth Commodores. He also interned with the Vermont Lake Monsters, a Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, which plays is home games at Centennial Field, located on The University of Vermont campus in Burlington.
According to Parker, his experience at Castleton prepared him for the transition into his current professional pursuits.
“Being a Castleton alum means a lot to me. It means getting rewarded for the effort I put in. Without Castleton, I would not be living the dream with the Catamounts and covering the men's soccer program, which reached a No. 16 national ranking this season, or a men's basketball program who could reach the NCAA March Madness Tournament this season,” he said.
Before his time at UVM, Parker spent two years as the director of athletic communications and academic compliance officer at University of Maine at Farmington, a university that competes within the North Atlantic Conference alongside Castleton. There he was responsible for promoting 20 varsity teams and complying with NCAA academic bylaws. He also spent two years at Dartmouth College as a financial aid counselor where he oversaw the Ivy League equivalent of athletic scholarships alongside the athletic director.
Parker credits Jeff Weld with his initial interest in becoming involved in sports information at Castleton.
“Jeff Weld, then the Director of Athletic Communications, gave me my start in athletics. He was a guest lecturer during an intro class during my freshman year,” he said. “He mentioned he was always looking for students to keep stats and I was always a stats nerd so it was the perfect fit. When I got back to my dorm room after class, I emailed Jeff and after a brief interview, I got the job.”
Playing baseball throughout high school, an arm injury prevented Parker from playing during his time at Castleton, but it never slowed his drive to be involved. Becoming a student manager for the varsity team his sophomore year, he was able to fuel his passion for all things sports out in the real world. Taking advantage of Castleton’s unique hand-on classes and resume building workshops, he was able to gain more experiences then other applicants straight out of school.
“In the sports world, there is the common perception that it's ‘all about where you come from,’ meaning what school you attend will set you up for life. I proved that a small town, small school kid can achieve anything,” he said. “When I was interning with the Falmouth Commodores, I was working with interns from UConn, UNC-Chapel Hill, Bryant, NYU, UMass, one of the top Sports Admin programs in the country, and Wheaton College.”
Parker has been able to come back and visit the university on many occasions, noting the vast improvements that can be seen all over campus. For those still at the university, he hopes that they understand how meaningful their time at Castleton can be for their future.
“My advice is simple, work hard. If you put in the time and effort, it will pay off in the long run. My classes were hands-on and I got out of the classes what I put into them,” he said. “Through the hard work, I built numerous connections which helped me land the position here at UVM.”