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York College grad takes untraditional path to Sport Management degree after service in Air Force

May 19, 2016
Nick Poehler
Nick Poehler | Photograph by Angela Perez Photography.www.angelaperezphotography.com

No matter how many times Nick Poehler pictured himself walking across the stage and receiving his college degree, the moment still seemed surreal.

He had finally made it.

For Poehler, college wasn’t the first accomplishment on his adult to-do list. By the time he received his degree in Sport Management from York College of Pennsylvania at age 28, he had already served in the military and married the love of his life.

But something felt like it was missing.

“I never thought in a million years I’d be graduating from college,” he says. “I wasn’t the best high school student. I never really applied myself.”

The Air Force came first

After graduating from Kennard Dale High School in 2006, Poehler didn’t know where he wanted to go in life. He knew college was a good idea. But didn’t want to waste his parents’ money since he wasn’t ready. So he joined the Air Force.

“I always had it in the back of my mind I wanted to serve. It was an itch that I wanted to scratch,” he says. “I had some friends go in and that was an awakening.”

Hospitality, Recreation and Leisure Administration and Sport Management degrees at York College

Ironically, he expected to see the world while serving his country. He saw some of it; however, his main assignment was at Bolling Air Force Base in Washington, D.C.

Poehler served in a law enforcement capacity and being in the nation’s capital led to some interesting assignments, including security for dignitaries.

Four years later, that time served opened up another door, this time he was ready for it and he enrolled in college, taking advantage of the GI Bill to help cover the cost.

Finding his place as a non-traditional student

York College was a perfect fit for him.

Not only is Poehler a good bit older than many of his fellow students, but he also has military experience and had started his life with his wife.

Yet, he said those factors didn’t make him any less nervous when he arrived on campus.

 “I was kind of scared, more scared than when I went to basic training,” he says, laughing. “Then I met the professors and you could tell they are all in it for you.

“The first semester I struggled at first, not putting pen to paper for four years. They push you and eventually I worked my way up to Dean’s List and a member of Senior Honors Society.”

One of the things that Poehler enjoyed most about his York College experience was how the classes were hands-on. His Sport Management major provided plenty of in-the-community opportunity, especially within the confines of the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center.

He learned how to help run events, such as setting up the Wolfe Gym court for the Spartans basketball and volleyball teams. He was also part of the crew that helped when the band Panic at the Disco performed inside the center’s fieldhouse.

Recently, Poehler and his classmates helped coordinate the York YWCA’s annual Race Against Racism. Poehler used some of the skills he learned in his Facilities Management class as well as through his marketing minor.

“I enjoyed being able to give back to the community and serve outside the classroom,” he said. “One of the reasons I chose York was because it’s hands-on. That experience is one that really helped prepare me for what’s next.”

Putting his experience to work

A mere two days after graduating, Poehler started working as a golf operations intern at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, a high-end resort in Western Pennsylvania.

“Not only do I enjoy the sport, but I’ll get to use my experience with facility management,” he says. “Each experience I have is something that will stand out on my resume. I know I have a great foundation for a career that can be as interesting and diverse as I want to make it.”

York College is proud to offer one of the best Sport Management schools in Pennsylvania, where our Sport Management major prepares students for a career working in sports. Where can a degree in sports management at York College take you?