Being a student-athlete at Thomas College has enriched Cassandra (Cassie) Contigiani’s experience, creating unique experiences for leadership and service. “It has opened several doors of opportunity for me and for my life after college,” she says.
Cassie led the effort to create a new club and statewide tournament, the Annual Thomas College Unified Basketball Winter Jamboree, which brings high school students with developmental disabilities to campus for a fun basketball tournament with other high schoolers. “The idea is to allow students of all abilities that chance to play, have fun, and be recognized,” says Cassie. Thanks to the tournament’s net proceeds, the club has donated more than $6,000 over the last three years for the Special Olympic Winter Games.
Cassie has also made her mark at the College as a leader on the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where she assisted with creating the SAAC handbook. This led to her involvement as the President of the NAC SAAC, which led to her role as the National SAAC representative and a recent trip to California for the 2020 NCAA Convention.
Cassie has loved being able to make true change in these roles and incite passion and excitement in student-athletes at Thomas College and beyond.
“When I first came here, that was one of the most appealing aspects – being able to play more than one sport. I was recruited for soccer and then picked up softball.”
Cassie had some great success – in 2017, Softball won the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) championship and went through the first round of NCAAs. Later, Cassie had some season-disrupting injuries which would have brought most people down, but it only inspired Cassie to get involved with sports as a leader. Through her injuries, she learned how to be patient and accept support.
Cassie is a natural born leader who loves impacting the lives of others. She realized she could do that at Thomas College. “I decided if I thought I could do something better, then I should do it,” she recalls. “That’s why I got involved, and that involvement has opened up so many doors for me and helped me grow more than I thought I needed to.”
Cassie earned her bachelor’s degree in Sport Management last May and is working on her Accelerated MBA this year. She still stays involved in her leadership roles while studying for her degree and applying for jobs post-graduation.
Looking back, Cassie is so happy she chose Thomas College to be her home almost five years ago. “When I came to visit Thomas College when choosing schools, my tour guide said to my mom and I, ‘We open doors for each other here,’ and he couldn’t have been more right.”
This article was originally published in the Winter/Spring 2020 Thomas Magazine.