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The Life Skills division of Student Services for Intercollegiate Athletics is dedicated to the holistic development and welfare of student athletes at Kansas State University. 

Mission: To provide a comprehensive personal and career development program designed to reach each student athlete based on his or her individual needs.

In an effort to comply with this mission, we organize regular events, lectures, hands-on seminars, workshops, guest speakers, and panels to ensure the student athletes are presented with skills, qualifications, and characteristics to be successful both on and off the field.


K-State's Life Skills Program is committed to the career development of current and former student athletes by providing opportunities through various programs and resources such as:

Career Cats
The Career Cats program is comprised of a series of workshops hosted by Student Services and Career and Employment Services designed to address the unique transition from being at student athlete to a working professional. Each session lasts approximately one hour and includes a combination of lectures, group discussion, guest speakers, and activities. Topics covered include:
     • Resume Customization
     • Professionalism
     • Networking Night
     • Salaries/HR Benefits
     • Mock Interviewing
     • Dining Etiquette

C. Clyde Jones Career Cat Luncheon
All workshops conclude with the C. Clyde Jones Career Cat Luncheon. Student Services staff works with students to identify potential career fields or areas of employment interest. Based on those interests, local and area employers are invited to have lunch with the student athletes. Students have an opportunity to network, ask questions, and experience mock interviews with a number of employers.

Based on these initial connections made at the luncheon student athletes have come away with internships and jobs with companies such as RTS Financial, ConocoPhillips, Koch Industries, AAA, General Mills and others.

Photo Gallery: 2014 Career Cats luncheon

Career Athletes

K-State Athletics and Student Services has an inside connection to Career Athletes with Dirk Ochs, former K-State football student athlete and current Career Athletes Vice President for Operations. Dirk makes frequent trips back to campus to provide workshops and to participate in the Career Cat Luncheon.

Career Athletes has been focused on providing educational and career service resources, technology solutions, and career mentoring networks...assisting and connecting current and former student-athletes, college athletic administrators, athletic alumni organizations and hiring managers throughout the United States. Career Athletes possesses the largest member based community of current/alumni student-athletes, representing a growing legion of athletes, athletic departments and hundreds of national, regional and local employers. Today, our on-campus training and development seminars to student-athletes are the most relied upon in the nation, with over 800 seminars conducted and over 240,000 student-athletes educated on-campus within college athletic departments at the NCAA, NAIA and Junior Colleges level.
Visit careerathletes.com

Career and Employment Services
Career and Employment Services provides an on-campus career resource for student athletes. The professional advising staff at CES is available to assist students with resume development, interview skills, job searching, and other career-related concerns. Students can sign up for free accounts to help them search and apply for jobs/internships, connect with employers, and sign up for on-campus interviews. CES hosts several career fairs to give students the opportunity to explore employment options with a variety of employers. K-State Athletics has partnered with CES as the CES staff helps present some of the Career Cat workshops and hosts the networking night.
Career and Employment Services


K-State Life Skills Program has in place resources to help our student athletes develop as young adults and not just competitors on the playing field. The following programs and resources are accessible to our student athletes.

P.A.L.S. Program -- Positioning Athletes for Life-long Success
The P.A.L.S. Program was designed in the fall of 2013 to increase retention of minority student athletes at K-State. The program focuses on mitigating the transition process and providing students with tools to be successful both as a student and ultimately in life. Further, the P.A.L.S. Program helps create a sense of community and serves as an additional resource for the underrepresented minority population.

Powercat Mentor Program
Student athletes are paired with a K-State faculty or staff member to encourage academic achievement and emphasize career development skills. By connecting the student athletes with faculty or staff member, students have access to an additional resource on campus to assist in their educational and personal efforts toward graduation and to life beyond the jersey.

Life Skills Workshops
Student athletes have the opportunity as a collective group or in individual teams to attend workshops, seminars and guest speakers to enhance their development not only as athletes, but as young adults. Student athletes are exposed to topics including but not limited to the following:
     • Drug and Alcohol Awareness
     • Money management and Financial responsibility
     • Image management and character
     • Nutrition
     • Sexual Health and Awareness
     • Leadership
     • Diversity
     • Deciding a program of study

Sport Psychology
K-State is fortunate to have its own Director of Sport Psychology to assist student-athlete as they strive balance the demands of school, life, and athletics. Dr. Ian Connole is a valuable resource to entire teams or to individual student-athletes and appointments can be scheduled here. Topics covered might include but are not limited to:
     • Crystallizing goals and motivations
     • Managing emotions effectively
     • Focusing on the right things at the right time
     • Improving team dynamics
     • Overcoming stress, anxiety, and pressure

Leadership Opportunities
In addition to leadership roles within their respective teams, student athletes have numerous opportunities to grow and push themselves to be leaders away from the playing field as well. K-State student athletes participate in Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Big 12 Leadership Summits, NCAA Career in Sports Forums, and other athletic or on-campus committees, groups and organizations.


Cats for Cans
Over 200 K-State student athletes annually volunteer their time for the Cats for Cans food drive, which benefits the Flint Hills Breadbasket. The drive helps fight hunger in the Manhattan area. Fans are encouraged to bring canned goods or other non-perishable food items to a home football game. Since its inception in 2010, K-State student athletes have collected just under 22,000 pounds of food and $32,000 in cash donations. (link to video recap)

  Watch Video: Cats for Cans Highlights

Cats in the Classroom

Cats in the classroom is a program partnership between K-State student athletes and elementary schools in the Manhattan community. K-State student athletes read, tutor and interact with various classes by assisting teachers with daily classroom activities, playing games on the playground, eating lunch or by simply listening to a child. Student athletes contribute as their daily schedules allow and help the children develop and understand the importance of education.


K-State student athletes partner with the Junior League of the Flint Hills each holiday season to help out Manhattan and surrounding communities by participating in the annual Adopt-a Family program. Students have the privilege of providing holiday gifts to families who would otherwise be without during the holiday season. Student athletes, under the direction of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, are responsible for shopping to complete the families’ holiday wish lists, wrapping, and delivering the gifts directly to their families.

  Watch Video: SAAC Gift Wrapping Party

Special Olympics Sports Clinic

Each spring K-State student athletes host an annual sports clinic for the athletes who are a part of the Kansas Special Olympics. Olympians travel from Manhattan, Junction City, Topeka, Wichita, Shawnee, Baileyville, and other surrounding areas. The clinic features sports stations involving each of the K-State sports teams. Olympians rotate from station to station and participate in the drills with their favorite K-State athletes. Student athletes conclude the afternoon with lunch, autographs, a visit from Willie the Wildcat, and a trip to the baseball game where an Olympian throws out the first pitch.

  Watch Video: Special Olympics

Tip-off for TP

Tip Off for TP is an initiative where K-State student athletes work with the Manhattan Emergency Shelter (MESI) to collect monetary donations, paper towels, toilet paper and trash bags, products which are staples at MESI and for those living at MESI. Items are collected at a men’s and women’s home basketball game. This year between the two games, volunteers collected over $3500.

  Watch Video: Tipoff for TP


Cori Pinkett
Director of Life Skills
Phone: 785-532-5192
Fax: 785-532-5191

Athletic Learning Center
2201 Kimball Avenue
Manhattan, KS 66502