Commitment to the team and community

Haley Walker-Robinson and youth from the Lifesports program

Commitment to the team and community

By Colleen Bradley, communications intern

Combining passions in life with professional work is something most people strive to attain. Haley Walker-Robinson, a senior on Ohio State's women's soccer team and sport industry major, feels as though she is on the path to achieving this goal. Being a student-athlete has helped prepare her for her future and to discover her passion: giving back.

Walker-Robinson has been playing soccer since she was a little girl. From bonding with her teammates to the exhilarating, close games, she loves every second of it. Her dream is to play professionally in Europe for a few years. After that, she is not exactly sure where her path will take her, but she does know she wants to get involved with nonprofits.

Her time as a student athlete actually generated this desire to work in the nonprofit sector. An OSU Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Big Ten honoree, she has traveled to Vietnam with a program called Coach for College, where she taught kids both sports and math. Even though they could not communicate directly with each other, she realized that "no matter the language, everyone can bond through sport." It was this realization that led her to her internship this past summer.

Walker-Robinson has a passion for using the sport she loves to help guide and mentor kids. She interned at LiFEsports, which "is a sport-based positive youth development program targeting youth ages 9-15 from underprivileged circumstances in Central Ohio" explains Rebecca Wade-Mdvanian, director of operations at LiFEsports. "Program activities utilize sport as an avenue to teach key social skills - self-control, teamwork, effort, and social responsibility." Having worked closely with Walker-Robinson, Wade-Mdvanian raves about her saying "she was always smiling and willing to lend a helping hand to our kids and staff!"

Working for LiFEsports taught Walker-Robinson the importance of having both role models and perseverance in children's lives. As she reminisces about who helped shape her own life path, she thinks that if she could have a positive impact on life "for at least one person, then that means everything." Through sport, she wants to show that "if you just stick with something you'll be able to make it through."

Not only has her experience as a student athlete help her discover her passion for service and engagement, but it also helped her grow as a young professional. When comparing herself now to her freshman self, the change and growth is undeniable. She specifically developed strong skills in organization, responsibility, and communication, which are paramount to being successful in the professional world. Thanks to her life as a student athlete, she has a strong skill set to take with her when she enters the workforce.

Walker-Robinson radiates positivity when she talks about her passion for soccer, and when she explains her future desires to work in the nonprofit industry. Her hope is to create a safe and fun environment to help children grow and succeed. Being a California native, she wants to take the "Midwest kindness" wherever she goes. Thanks to Ohio State and the opportunities it has given her, she will no doubt be successful in her future, both on and off the field.