Associate Athletic Director / Student-Athlete Development
Shawn Tucker is in his seventh season as Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ.
Tucker, a 2007 graduate of Rutgers University and a former standout at wide receiver on the football team, leads the Rutgers Leadership Academy for all 600 plus student-athletes and twenty-four sports. Through programming and counseling, the Rutgers Leadership Academy helps to fortify student-athletes at Rutgers with valuable information and tools to guide decision-making in critical life-shaping areas such as career development, personal enrichment, leadership training and civic engagement. Tucker and his team have successfully assisted their students to the tune of 65% of the graduating class each year landing a full-time position or receiving acceptance into a graduate school program.
Over the past few years, Tucker and the Rutgers Leadership Academy has received national recognition for their outstanding efforts in the area of student development. In May 2014, Tucker was selected to serve on the NCAA Life Skills Academy Action Team for DI, DII and DIII institutions.
Tucker currently oversees the board for the Rutgers Leadership Academy that holds members representing companies such as Dun & Bradstreet, Johnson & Johnson, Napier Park and Pfizer to name a few.
Tucker came to Rutgers from Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. He was named team captain as a senior and helped lead Rutgers to its first of four consecutive football bowl championships in 2006. A four-year letterwinner for the Scarlet Knights, Tucker was a key member of two bowl squads during his career “On the Banks.”
As an undergraduate, Tucker served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He graduated with a double major in geography and labor studies in May 2007 and began working for the Office of Continuing Professional Education at Rutgers as a program coordinator for their T.E.E.M. Gateway program. While there, Tucker was a member of a staff that received the 2010 Diversity Leadership Award.
Tucker participated in the implementation of the YE2S Center, a partnership among Rutgers, Newark Public Schools, the City of Newark and Communities in Schools of New Jersey focusing on providing education and employment services for youth in Essex County. Tucker has also mentored youth in Newark through the Rutgers Green Rangers Mural program, which focused on the beautification and revitalization of Newark through the Arts, while also serving as a key collaborator in the New Jersey High School Dropout Prevention Campaign. Tucker received his master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning & Public Policy at Rutgers University.
Program Coordinator / Student-Athlete Development
Sheryl joined the Rutgers Leadership Academy in February 2012. Before joining the world of college athletics, she spent more than 10 years working as a PR professional for top sports and media brands, including Sports Illustrated and Prevention magazines.
The Winding Road to Rutgers
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Sheryl landed her first job in sports media in 1996, after meeting the sports editor of the San Jose Mercury News at a hockey game (Career Lesson #1: networking works!). At the time, she was working as the office manager for a small technology sales team, but the draw of sports media was too enticing, so she gave up the full-time job to work a few nights a week in the sports department, answering phones and recording high school sports scores for the agate page. (Career Lesson #2: you gotta start somewhere). A year later, she left the Merc to accept a short-term contract position as a publicist for the San Jose Sports Authority, a non-profit organization that serves as the sports marketing arm for the City of San Jose. Unexpectedly, the temporary assignment turned into a four-year stint as the organization’s PR Director (Career Lesson #3: fake it till you make it). Lightning struck once more when she landed an informational interview with the VP of Communications at Sports Illustrated, her favorite publication of all time. Nearly a year later, the chance meet-and-greet resulted in a job offer (Career Lesson #4: maintain your contacts), and Sheryl moved to New York City in September 2001 to begin the next phase of her career. All told, it took nine years to go from undergrad to a dream job at SI.
After moving to New Jersey in 2009, Sheryl took classes at Montclair State as well as her alma mater, Stanford University, in order to complete her undergraduate degree — nearly 20 years after first matriculating. She also spent three years volunteering as a Confidential Sexual Violence Advocate for the Union County Rape Crisis Center.
Today, Sheryl relies on her combined experiences – communications professional, crisis counselor, atypical college graduate – to support the current generation of Rutgers student-athletes. Considering her own winding journey, she has faith that every Rutgers student-athlete can be successful in forging a meaningful and rewarding career.
Sheryl resides in Scotch Plains, NJ, with her husband, Chris Carlin, who does radio play-by-play for Rutgers football and men’s basketball, and their dog Snoozer, who is also a Rutgers fan.
Favorite Rutgers sports moment: It’s a tie between any Rutgers sports event of any kind and the 2006 football game versus Louisville. During that game, I was standing behind Chris in the radio booth. The booth was so jam-packed with people, I only saw slivers of the action over Chris’ shoulder. I will never forget when he said, “It’s Pandemonium in Piscataway!” What a moment on the field – and what a call in the booth!
Director of Community Engagement
Rutgers Leadership Academy Career & Community Engagement Program Assistant
Candice Martinez serves as the Program Assistant in Community Engagement. Candice just recently graduated in May of 2015 as a student-athlete competing on the Women’s Lacrosse Team and majoring in Sports Management at the School of Arts and Sciences. Prior to joining the Rutgers Leadership Academy team, Candice accepted a position with the Big Ten Network, serving as the Campus Media Relations intern for the 2014-2015 academic year. Following that internship, was another with NFL team Philadelphia Eagles where she gained insight on football operations in a professional atmosphere.
Candice’s primary role is to oversee all community service events, coordinate volunteer sign-ups with all teams, attend monthly Student-Athlete Advisory Committee meetings and assist the Associate Athletic Director of Student-Athlete Development with all career-related programming such as Knight of Networking, career panels, and employer site visits. Candice aspires to further her education at Rutgers Graduate School of Education and continue her career path in collegiate athletics.