Pioneer Experience

Promoting Student-Athlete Success in College and Beyond

Pioneer Experience is a three-stage program designed to assist student-athletes in becoming prepared and well-rounded individuals as they navigate their undergraduate years at the University of Denver. Through seminars, guest lectures, panel discussions, and other programming tailored to each progressive level of college life, Pioneer Experience helps equip student-athletes with the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed at school as well as in their future careers.

students walking on campus from high overhead

Pioneer Beginnings

The first stage of Pioneer Experience is Pioneer Beginnings, which aims to prepare first-year freshmen and transfer student-athletes for the challenges and rewards of being a student at DU. Through seminars designed to assist in the transition to collegiate life, Pioneer Beginnings helps build a foundation for success throughout each student-athlete's education and career. They will learn about the campus community and conceptualizations of their surroundings. Guest speakers from the faculty, athletics staff, and community will address personal development skills such as time management, leadership, and self-esteem, as well as academic and mental health support resources. These seminars are held throughout a student-athlete's first year.

student at job fair

The Sophomore and Junior Experience

The Sophomore and Junior Experience helps student-athletes take a larger look at the rest of their lives through career planning and implementation. In this stage, sophomores have the opportunity to attend discussions featuring panels of executives and other professionals, where they will learn the ins and outs of various job markets, including how to get a foot in the door. They will also work on building their resumes, and learn how to market their athletic skills to future employers. Junior student-athletes have the opportunity to learn resume/cover-letter writing, interview skills, and best practices in networking. They can also get help finding internships for the summer before senior year, and discuss options for post-graduate opportunities.

classy student dinner

Pioneer Playbook

The final stage of Pioneer Experience is the Pioneer Playbook, designed to prepare our senior student-athletes for successful entry into the job market. By teaching these soon-to-be college graduates to apply the skills they acquired from sports in other aspects of their post-collegiate lives, the Pioneer Playbook helps create active alumni who participate in, and give back to, their communities as well as the University. Meetings in this stage focus on developing valuable interview and personal finance skills, culminating in an etiquette/networking dinner as they prepare to enter life outside of athletics.