Kaitlin Olmstead RSC ’09, Sage President Chris Ames, Rebecca Marszalek Alarcon RSC ’12 and Athletics Director Sandy Augstein-Collins RSC ’87 at the Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony honoring Olmstead and Alarcon.
Russell Sage College Nursing graduate Rebecca Marszalek Alarcon ’12 and Mathematics and Education graduate Kaitlin Olmstead RSC ’09 were recently inducted into Sage’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Alarcon was honored for her achievements on the women’s soccer team between 2008 and 2011, and Olmstead was honored for her achievements on the women’s volleyball team between 2005 and 2008. They spoke to Connections about how their experiences as student-athletes have helped them in advance in their careers.
Rebecca Marszalek Alarcon
Nurse Rebecca Marszalek Alarcon knew she wanted to work in labor, delivery and post-partum care after her clinical rotation in those areas as a student. She also knew that those jobs are filled fast, often with experienced nurses. “Although I did not have my dream position in 2012, what I did have was a job immediately after graduation because a bachelor’s degree from The Sage Colleges makes you marketable,” she said. She was also resilient and goal-oriented, she continued, thanks to her experience as a student-athlete. She worked hard at her first job – in a medical-surgical area – and within two years was offered a position in labor and delivery. “Today, I am exactly where I wanted to be when I graduated,” she said. “I love being part of such a joyful time in people’s lives. In some situations it’s not a happy time and it’s equally as rewarding to be there in a time of need.”
Sage’s Athletics Hall of Fame induction ceremony inspired her to reflect on connections between her experience as a student-athlete and her work as a nurse. “Labor and delivery is an area where I get to use critical thinking often, things are always changing and you have to be able adapt. I love the fast-paced environment,” she said. “You have to trust the team you have with you in that moment. You have to work together and communicate effectively. Everyone has to know how to lead and how to follow – both skills are important because not everyone can always be the leader. Regardless of the outcome, you have to be able to regroup, discuss what worked and what didn’t work with your team, and be ready for the next time.”
Alarcon’s achievements on the soccer field earned accolades from the Skyline Conference and ECAC, including recognition as Player of the Week at the end of October 2011, and as a member of the Skyline Conference All-Star First Team in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She set several Sage records and was named Gator of the Year in 2011.
Read more about Rebecca Marszalek Alarcon’s achievements on the soccer team.
“I learned so many valuable skills from being a student-athlete,” said Kaitlin Olmstead, a mathematical and statistical engineer at Corning, the Fortune 500 company that creates materials for communications, electronics, automobiles, life sciences and more. “I am often the statistical lead on a project and have to work with and lead a diverse group of colleagues. I support many projects at one time, so I have to balance the workload and deadlines to make sure the work gets done when it’s needed. Developing these skills early on in my education and volleyball career have definitely helped me advance in my career.”
The opportunity to play volleyball attracted her to Russell Sage, she said, and being part of a team enhanced the sense of community she felt on campus. She was a member of the 2007 and 2008 Skyline Conference Championship teams, was the Skyline Conference’s nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year and still holds Sage records.
Read more about Kaitlyn Olmstead’s achievements on the women’s volleyball team.
“It’s hard to choose,” she said, when asked to share a favorite memory from her days as a Sage Gator, then settled on the 2007 team. “It was our first year in the Skyline Conference and we ended up winning the conference, giving us an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. It was the first time in Sage history that a team made it to the NCAA tournament. It was a very proud moment for the team and for Sage volleyball.” (The Sage College Athletics Department honored the 2007 women’s volleyball team as a “Team of Distinction” at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony recognizing Olmstead and Alarcon.)
Olmstead said that volleyball is still a big part her life: “I run a women’s adult team where we participate in women’s tournaments around the area and we also participate in the USA Volleyball Open Adult National Championships each year.”