You could say Minnesota native and avid sports fan Lydia Schmidtke grew up obsessed with all things related to her home state and athletics. But when it came time to leave home for college, she wanted a fresh start. Still, she knew she wanted her school to have a strong sports culture. Oregon fit that criteria. Her status as a fan of Oregon Softball helped cement her decision to head west.
Leaving her comfort zone paid off. Schmidtke not only graduated with a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in sports business, she also earned the honor of outstanding undergraduate student at the University of Oregon’s Lundquist College of Business.
When not working diligently on her schoolwork, Schmidtke stayed busy with several extracurricular activities—perfect for a sports fanatic like herself.
Her freshman year, she joined the Warsaw Sports Business Club, managed the UO track and field team, and began an internship with UO football, among other activities. She stuck with each activity throughout her academic career at Oregon.
Schmidtke also appreciates the job shadowing opportunities and workshops she was able to take part in while in school. Each one, she said, took her one step closer to discovering her own unique career path.
Following graduation, Schmidtke is headed back home to Minnesota where she’ll manage social media for an off-season professional hockey tournament called Da Beauty League. She will also coach and work in the business office for Mission Fastpitch, a youth softball club.
“I'm excited to have a big role in a small organization because I'll gain experience with a lot of different aspects of running a sports organization all at once,” she said.
But most of all, she’s most looking forward to continuing to work in youth sports because, she said, “I've recently discovered a passion for it.”
Looking back, Schmidtke admits she didn’t get the best grades in high school, so graduating with the outstanding undergraduate student award is particularly meaningful for her.
It’s also a sign she accomplished the fresh start she was after when she headed off to college.
“I worked hard to accomplish that goal, and it's helped me to have more confidence in my ideas in other areas of my life,” she said.
—William Kennedy, Lundquist College Communications