Sports have always been a part of Natalie West’s life. But it was her work at the Great Northeast Athletic Conference that sparked her interest in combining business with sports.
While working, she decided to pursue her Master’s degree in Sports Leadership at Northeastern University. She held positions as both Director of Communications and as Assistant Commissioner for the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC).
“I really enjoyed my experience and I had a few really wonderful mentors, which led me to really focus on teaching and higher education.”
It also led her to study for her Doctorate in Educational Leadership with a research focus on the academic performance of Division III student-athletes. While earning her Doctorate, West taught at a few colleges in Boston including Emmanuel College, Lasell College and Northeastern University.
This fall, West will be joining the Thomas community as an Assistant Professor Sport Management and she is really looking forward to it.
“I’m really looking forward to interacting with the students as well as the faculty and administration. Thomas really has an emphasis on the students. I think that’s the most important part and that’s what drew me to looking at Thomas. And I’m really excited to serve as an academic advisor for the students as well.”
West will be teaching classes about sports information, athletic administration and introduction to sport management.
“I really enjoy teaching in higher education simply because it is preparing students for their careers. I like to focus my classes on teaching students the life skills that they use in their careers.”
West says sport management is an important field to study.
“I think that a number of students today enjoy watching sports and playing sports but they are not too sure about the business behind sports,” she said. “Sport management majors are becoming more and more popular.”
“It’s really important to prepare students for careers in a billion-dollar industry so they can have a jump start for their careers rather than just going in there knowing that they like sports but not knowing the business side of it. I like to teach them the creative aspects by bringing in different technology, incorporating applications, for example, Adobe Photoshop, so they’re prepared when they go into the real world and see what a lot of professional and collegiate athletic companies are using.”
West says she is excited to move to Maine. She has only ever lived in Boston.
“It’s going to be different, and a breath of fresh air from city life.”