Oakton student-athlete to gain valuable career experience serving on NJCAA committee

(Oct. 26, 2020) At Oakton Community College, student-athlete Jacelyn Islas (Chicago, Lake View High) will gain valuable experience to make her career dreams a reality. She is a member of the inaugural class of Student-Athlete Council representatives for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).

The NJCAA consists of 24 regions across the country. Islas is just one of just two student-athletes chosen to represent NJCAA Region IV, which includes over 40 community colleges in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Christine Paciero, senior manager of Athletics at Oakton, nominated Islas due to her leadership as the captain of the women’s soccer team and for her passion for sports. During the summer, Islas worked as a recreational leader at Chase Park in Chicago. 

According to the NJCAA, the organization selected Islas because of her “success on and off the field, leadership within the community and desire to continually create new opportunities for those around her.”

On the council, Islas will be part of a nationwide contingent to promote effective communication between the regional and national administration and the student-athlete population to work to provide a notable experience for student-athletes nationwide. 

As part of the committee, Islas will also be involved with the following tasks:

  • Providing input into the educational and personal development programs that serve the needs of today’s student-athletes.

  • Using her experience as a student-athlete at the two-year level to provide a voice to all NJCAA student-athletes. 

  • Using experiences as student-athletes at the two-year level to provide a voice to all NJCAA student-athletes. 

  • Providing thoughts and opinions on current and proposed legislation while using experiences to provide feedback and recommendations. 

  • Engaging and participating at institutional, regional and national levels.

Islas, who is interested in a career in sports management or as an athletic trainer, is eager to serve her volunteer term on the committee, which begins in November and runs through June 2021.

“When I first found out about this position I was shocked because only two people are selected from each region,” she says. “I just couldn’t believe I was selected. I was so proud and excited. The opportunity of working with the NJCAA will help me with my career plans because they will offer an opportunity to develop my educational and personal skills. The national administrators will provide feedback and recommendations to any questions or ideas I may have. To work in sports management you must know how an organization runs. Having an opportunity to work beside the NJCAA is a huge opportunity to gain experience at a national level.”

Islas began playing soccer when she was 6 years old. She is passionate about passing along how participating in sports opens doors.

“Being involved in athletics is important because it gives you an opportunity to have an impact on yourself, individuals, the community and school,” she says. “It shows hard work and dedication to being successful on and off the field pays off. Through sports, you meet amazing people from all different kinds of backgrounds and unite. Being in the world of athletics shows you the best version of yourself. The daily competition makes you stronger as a person and provides opportunities for the future.”