Karin Torchia grew up as an army brat, moving every one to two years through junior high school. As she settled into new towns, she found that the best way to make friends was through sports.
"I was a tomboy; I loved playing every sport that I could. It was fun for me and it was something that I could do anywhere we lived," said Torchia.
When it came to choosing a college, she wanted a big college atmosphere with a Division 1 college sports teams. Morgantown and West Virginia University fit her vision.
Torchia graduated from WVU with a degree in Sports Management (1991). Her time at WVU shaped her and provided life lessons that would carry with her throughout her career.
Currently, Torchia serves as senior associate director of athletics for external operations and development and senior women's administrator at Rider University, Lawrence Township, New Jersey. She recently traveled with the Rider Men’s Basketball team when they played against WVU in November. During Torchia’s visit, she visited a group of CPASS sport management students to talk about her career and offer tips for success.
“I hadn’t been back to WVU in 20 years and the second that I stepped back on campus, it felt like home,” said Torchia.
Torchia answered questions regarding her current job and the responsibilities that follow with her title. She explained the significance of networking and seeking out mentors.
“It’s important to network; I encourage students to expand their contacts in the field. If I see someone on LinkedIn who is currently a WVU student and enrolled with CPASS, I accept their invitation to connect to help them find a future career,” said Torchia.
Familiar with the professors who have come and gone, Torchia says that many of her mentors are still here today. She remains in contact with them.
“The guidance I got from my professors and advisors like Drs. Dallas Branch, Floyd Jones, Dana Brooks and Daniel Ziatz was invaluable to me. I had no idea what I could do with this major when I first got involved. They helped me navigate as a confused undergraduate student,” said Torchia.
Torchia also shared her experience as a woman in a male-dominated field.
“When I was here as an undergrad, I had to prepare for an interview to get into the graduate program. I walked into the room with a huge conference table filled with 12 men who were there to question me. I sat down and the first question they asked was, ‘Are you intimidated sitting in a room with all men?' I answered, ‘This just shows that we need more women in this field,’” recalled Torchia, who earned her Master’s in Sports Administration from WVU (1993).