San Diego State hosts Dinner with an Aztec

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego State Department of Athletics hosted its signature dinner with an Aztec event last week, bringing together 41 professionals from multiple industries and 59 top-ranking student athletes for a unique and diverse networking event. The event is a unique opportunity for student athletes to interact with professionals and learn more about various interesting professions.

Generously sponsored by E&J Gallo, Northwestern Mutual, ALDI, Kim Spinardi, CPA, Hamilton Tharp, LLP, XanderVison Medical Consultants and SeaSpine, the eighth annual Dinner with an Aztec is an integral part of the Aztecs Going Pro program, which teaches student athletes to… to become the next generation of community leaders and talented young professionals.

“Dinner with an Aztec gave me an opportunity to ask a professional in the field specific questions about my budding nursing career,” said Onyi Anigbogu, a senior track athlete and student interested in nursing. “The advice I received will help me feel more confident as I wrap up the nursing program application season.”

“Our Aztec Dinner Event is an integral part of our Aztecs Going Pro development program for students and athletes,” said SDSU Athletics Director John David Wicker. “I’m very grateful to the professionals who volunteered to meet our student-athletes and help them build their professional networks. The fact that student-athletes have played in their success was important for our current student-athletes to hear. I’m also proud of our student-athletes who are ready to seize the opportunity to prepare for the next step in their journey.”

San Diego State URAD Senior Director of Marketing & Communications Tammy Blackburn, an SDSU graduate and former basketball student and athlete, hosted the evening and provided dynamic energy. The keynote speakers were Spencer Thornton, Project Manager – Corporate Acquisition and District Manager at ALDI and former baseball player, and Jason Alexander, Owner/Sales Manager at XanderVision Medical Consultants and former soccer player.

“I’m particularly proud of this group of seniors who have not only made a difference in their sport, but have really raised the bar of Aztec’s Going Pro by working hard to hone the skills and tools they use need to be successful for a lifetime after sport and SDSU,” said Danielle Kelly, SDSU Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Development. “They were the most prepared group of seniors I have ever seen as they had the opportunity to attend a network with an Aztec on September 27th which allowed them to practice networking with 40 employers.

“These senior student-athletes have completed over 64 hours of civic engagement, personal growth and career development program during their time with SDSU by completing a 1-unit student-athlete development course each year.”

Dinner with an Aztec is an integral part of Aztec’s Going Pro, a comprehensive, four-year development program for students and athletes that focuses on three pillars: personal growth, career advancement, and community involvement. Student-athletes receive innovative programs, one-on-one coaching, and unique experiential learning opportunities annually to help them create and prepare their postgraduate plans and build a strong network of connections available through the San Diego State University community. The Aztecs Going Pro program consists of four one-unit courses that count towards the degree requirements.

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