Carter Shockey says the communities he discovered at the University of Iowa will have a lasting impact on his life. The sport and recreation management grad aims to facilitate similar bonds in his professional career.
Emily Nelson
Tim Schoon

Community is important to Carter Shockey. And he says the communities he discovered and became a part of at the University of Iowa will stay with him the rest of his life.

“Being a Hawkeye means being a part of a family,” says Shockey, who will graduate with a BS in sport and recreation management with a communications/public relations/journalism concentration; a minor in Spanish; and a certificate in leadership studies. “It’s a great honor to be a Hawkeye. We support each other, we lift each other up, and we celebrate our accomplishments together. And I think that is very special about this university.”

Carter Shockey

Hometown: Freeport, Illinois

Degree: BS in sport and recreation management with a communications/public relations/journalism concentration; minor in Spanish; certificate in leadership studies

What’s next: Spending the spring in Iowa City networking and applying for jobs. “My end goal is to work in communications or community relations for a professional sports team to have the ability to create connections between the sports team and the community,” Shockey says.

Soon after the then-first-year student from Freeport, Illinois, moved into his residence hall, he found his first community.

“It was the fall of COVID, so it was pretty hard to meet new people. We kind of leaned on our dorm community and found our friend group in that way,” Shockey says. “We were living in a virtual world at that point, so we did our best to create our bubble, our safe community within our friend group.”

Shockey kept a full schedule as a student, including working as student manager of the Hawkeye soccer team for a year and a half and with Dance Marathon—which he says he signed up for before he even moved onto campus. But Shockey says some of his best memories at Iowa came from being a member of the Hawkeye Marching Band.

“Between the 10 and 20 hours a week you spend with them—and the 10 hours a day during camp—they become your best friends,” Shockey says. “We have created countless memories through our motivation to inspire people and to show them what it’s like to be a Hawkeye. It’s truly a family.”

Shockey hopes to spend his career helping to create community through sport and recreation.

“There’s a ton of different avenues within sport and recreation, but I really like connecting with people and seeing the different ways we can create connections between a sports entity and the public that they serve and the community that they’re in,” Shockey says. “I want to help facilitate that and create the best outcome possible for the sports team as well as create the most impact in the community that I serve.”

“We have created countless memories through our motivation to inspire people and to show them what it’s like to be a Hawkeye. It’s truly a family.”

Carter Shockey
on his experiences with the Hawkeye Marching Band

University of Iowa grad Carter Shockey holding a trophy at a basketball tournament


Why did you choose Iowa?

Both my parents are from the state of Iowa—my mom grew up in Solon and my dad grew up in Davenport. So, I was born and raised a Hawkeye. And then when I visited, it reaffirmed that the community was great. I felt at home in Iowa City, so I knew it was the right school for me.

What is your favorite memory at Iowa?

The Iowa Pep Band had the wonderful opportunity to travel with our women’s basketball team to Seattle for the Elite Eight and Sweet 16 rounds, and then they performed exceptionally well and made it to the Final Four and National Championship. Those trips combined have been the top highlight of my college career. Being able to cheer on the Iowa Hawkeyes in that way was amazing. My friends and I talk about how much fun that trip was and how we may not be able to take a trip like that with our best friends ever again.

It was a great opportunity for us to create closer relationships and share what this university is all about.

Turn a love of sports into a career

Students with a degree in sport and recreation management can find a variety of career opportunities, including community recreation, intercollegiate athletic departments, high school programs, the commercial fitness business sector, and minor and major league sports teams.

Who are a few mentors who have really impacted your time at Iowa?

Dan Matheson in the sport and recreation management program is the best of the best. He has so much knowledge of the sport industry that he loves to share with his students. He also has been a great mentor as I navigate my postgraduate plans. I can go to him with questions, and he helps me think through different options and offers incredible professional advice.

I took a class with Dr. Amber Brian in the Spanish and Portuguese department early in my career at Iowa and have met two of my greatest friends from her classes. The three of us have made it a priority to take whatever class she is teaching. I cannot thank her enough for her impact on my experience in Iowa.

I really just want to thank all the professors that have given me the opportunity to learn from them, and I hope that I continue to make them proud as I leave Iowa.

What advice would you give current and future Iowa students?

My biggest piece of advice would be to slow down. Your time at Iowa is very special. There are tons of things to do and so many people to meet, so just slow down and enjoy it. I’ve created exceptional relationships and learned incredible things. So, take advantage of it while you can because it won’t last forever.