KinRec Connect: Chris Chong, 2012
Every so often, we feature an alum from our faculty in a Q&A entitled KinRec Connect. We’ve asked Chris Chong [B.R.M.C.D./12] to share his experiences as a student, and to fill us in on his life after U of M.
What year did you graduate from U of M and what was your degree/major?
I graduated in Feb. 2012 with a Bachelor of Recreation Management and Community Development.
Could you tell us a little about your career since you graduated? What’s your current position, and what do you like best about your current position?
When I graduated, I was fortunate enough to have already been employed with Recreation Services within the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management starting in Sept. 2009. I worked closely with the Coordinator of Intramurals, Clubs and Special Events and oversaw a lot of the day-to-day operations of those campus programs. I was also the League Convenor of the University of Manitoba hockey, basketball and soccer leagues until Dec. 2013.
From there, I thought I should explore other opportunities in recreation and sport outside of the faculty, and in general, the University of Manitoba (I had already spent so much time there as a student!). I joined the Manitoba Major Soccer League and was its Member Services Coordinator until March 2015. I eventually returned to the university as a Student Recruitment Representative in the Admissions Office and then re-joined Recreation Services as a customer service representative at the Active Living Centre in Oct. 2015.
In Jan. 2016, I began my current position as the special events & projects coordinator for Volleyball Manitoba. I knew I wanted a career in sport administration before graduating but after graduating, I realized that I also really enjoyed event management. My current position allows me to do both as the event coordinator of Super-Spike, one of Canada’s biggest outdoor/beach volleyball tournaments, and overseeing other Volleyball Manitoba day-to-day operations.
How did your time as a student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management help in your career and personal goals?
As a student in the FKRM, I learned the importance of networking with other professionals in the field. The faculty does a great job in providing those opportunities for its students. I was able to form professional relationships with individuals that have helped me in my career and reaching my personal goals through recommendations and referrals for employment and volunteer opportunities. It also helped me to get to where I am today in my current position.
What were some of your greatest challenges as a student, and what were some of your best experiences?
One of the challenges as a student, for me, were my first two years of university after high school. I tried taking on full course loads each term and it was a lot. I wanted to complete a degree within four years, but I realized that taking my time was better suited for me. This lead to one of the best experiences I had as a student, which was being a student employee for Recreation Services as an Intramural Supervisor. I reduced my course load and did well in my classes but was able to gain practical knowledge and working experience as the same time.
What advice would you give to current students and students interested in studying in faculty of kinesiology and recreation management?
To current students: take advantage of the fieldwork program offered in the faculty if you can. It is a great opportunity to gain practical experience and as I mentioned previously, a great opportunity to network with other professionals in the field.
To interested students: this field is growing and will continue to grow. If you have a commitment to, or interest in, promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles, studying kinesiology/recreation management is the way to go!