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Student Spotlights

Leah Gale: Communication Studies

Leah was a researcher for the BYU School of Communications during Fall 2023.

Briefly explain what you did and the result of your internship.

My internship is a self-designed project focused on helping college athletes adjust to life after their career ends. With mentoring from Dr. Richards, I have started interviewing and surveying former collegiate athletes on their retirement experience in the hopes of improving it for athletes in the future. Ending college sports is a big life transition, and with this project I hope to provide athletes and universities the resources needed to make adjusting easier. That’s where communications comes in–this research revolves around creating informed content to connect athletes to resources. This research is still in progress, as initial interviewing is going on while waiting for IRB approval to start. However, the impact of the work will be tremendous as preliminary athlete feedback shows a great need for help in the retirement process.

What did you learn on your internship that you were not expecting to learn?

I learned so much more about what the future could look like as I pursued this research project. Thoughts of graduate school and starting my own business began to take shape in a new way thanks to the findings of this project and mentoring/life advice from Dr. Richards.

How have your future plans changed because of what you learned from your internship experience?

Yes!! I was originally going to look into a post-graduate degree in mass comms, but am now looking into a PhD in psychology. I don't know if that is where I will end up, but my future is constantly changing the more I work on this project. The ultimate goal now is to implement our findings at universities all over the country. Before this internship, I didn't know chasing that dream was possible.

Please share how your experience led to personal inspiration or insightful revelation.

This internship idea came because of clear revelation from the Lord that I invited me to step away from college athletics. Leaving my sports team was incredibly difficult and months of depression and grief followed. I thought my experience was extreme, until I began speaking with fellow former athletes. I felt the Spirit nudge me that maybe there was an opportunity to help people through a difficult experience, if possible. The Lord has continued to guide me to an amazing professor to mentor me and lead this project, as well as connecting me with former athletes willing to share their stories and potential solutions. Every time I work on this project, I feel that I am being guided and directed.