Past Press Releases

For Immediate Release: October 9, 2014

The Wellesley Centers for Women continues its fall lunchtime seminar series with a special program, "The Competitive Edge: How Do Corporate Recruiters Evaluate Collegiate Varsity Athletes?," on Thursday, October 23, from 12:30 - 1:30 p.m., presented by Allison Tracy, Ph.D., Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., and Laura Pappano, B.A.

There is a common perception that playing a varsity sport at the college level develops leadership skills and character qualities that align with business culture and can serve as a steppingstone to a corporate career. However, whether corporate recruiters actually value a varsity athletics credential (and for whom) has not been systematically studied. In this talk we present the results of a research study that gathered detailed responses from 828 HR recruiters to answer the following questions: What qualities do recruiters look for in new college graduates? How are varsity sports experiences evaluated? Do athletes have an advantage when being screened for an initial interview? Do male and female, Black and White, and athlete and non-athlete candidates fare equally? This talk will explore not only results, but the implications of this research for college athletes entering the job market.

Tracy has over 15 years of experience providing methodological and statistical consultation for researchers in a wide variety of disciplines, research topics, and institutions – academic, applied, and commercial. Her approach to consulting is to translate researchers’ articulated research questions and hypotheses into statistical models and to translate results of these models back into plain English that can be understood by individuals both within and outside academia.

Erkut is an Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). Her research has encompassed variations in the course of child and adult development due to gender, race/ethnicity, social class, immigration, urbanization, and sexuality. She directed the Postdoctoral Behavioral Research Training on Variations in Child and Adolescent Development funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development.

Pappano is the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW). An experienced journalist who writes about education and gender equity issues in sports, Pappano has been widely published in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Globe Magazine, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, Good Housekeeping, Working Mother, and The Harvard Education Letter, among other publications.

Most lunchtime seminars are held Thursdays, 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the Centers' Cheever House location, 828 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA. The programs are free and open to the public. Guests are invited to bring their lunches, WCW will provide tea and coffee. Many programs are recorded and audio files posted online at To confirm program line-up, call 781 283 2500 or visit

The Wellesley Centers for Women at Wellesley College is one of the largest gender-focused research-and-action organizations in the world. Scholars at the Centers conduct social science research and evaluation, develop theory and publications, and implement training and action programs on issues that put women’s lives and women’s concerns at the center. Since 1974, WCW’s work has generated changes in attitudes, practices, and public policy.


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Media representatives seeking to speak with a Wellesley Centers for Women researcher or program staff member should contact the communications department to facilitate interviews or appropriate referrals:

  • 781.283.2483


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