When Will Culbertson earned his Purdue degree in December, he had already carefully mapped out his career plans.
The Purdue University North Central alumnus and Communication major accepted a job with the Chicago Fire Soccer Club in the days just prior to his commencement.
Culbertson is a life-long sports fan. “Sports, that’s my life,” he willingly admits. He played baseball and soccer while a student at Westville High School. He is a loyal Cubs fan who looks forward to attending the upcoming Cubs Convention.
He can talk about almost any sport. If someone mentions a team or sport he’s not familiar with, he instantly looks up the information on his ever-present phone and dives into the conversation.
As a PNC student, Culbertson covered sports for the student-run news organization, the Panther News Network. This presented an ideal opportunity to hone his craft. He was a sportswriter and broadcaster. The network broadcast the Panther athletic events live and Culbertson did play-by-play, color commentary and interviews.
He also became a sports correspondent for the Post-Tribune, covering high school sports throughout the region.
And prior to that, he spent a summer as an intern with the Gary SouthShore RailCats.
As a student, he always looked for ways to challenge himself, to learn more and gain new experiences. He constantly looked for opportunities to solidify his aspirations for a career in sports.
“I knew I couldn’t be a professional athlete, so I followed my dad’s advice to look for a career in sports,” he said.
He would like to work his way into a becoming a university sports information director and eventually, an athletic director.
“I’d really like to take a small program and make it a powerhouse with the best students, the best athletes and the best campus community,” he explained.
In the meantime, he’s willing to pay his dues to get to know the business side of the world of sports.
“I have big aspirations and big dreams,” he states.
As he looks to the future, he lists some goals he’s like to eventually pursue, “I’d like to own a sports facility for youth or community sports programs. I’d really like to help grow youth sports programming.”
He also admits that someday he may also like to teach.
Culbertson is energetic, ambitious and determined. He admits that he doesn’t settle for “good enough.” That is reflected in the words of advice that he shares with students who are still trying to decide a career path.
“Join clubs, get involved. You never know who you’re going to meet,” he said, noting that his connection to the Panther News Network allowed him to meet a number of people that he would never otherwise encounter. It also gave him hands-on experience that he probably wouldn’t have had otherwise.
He was also a member of the campus chapter of Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honor Society and took part in networking events that brought students together to network with professionals in various aspects of communications, the media, public relations and marketing.
“PNC is a small campus, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t do big things,” said Culbertson.
Culbertson has some final words of advice for students, “When school ends – and it does end – you have to be ready for the real world. Don’t settle, don’t go through the motions, you may think you’re getting ahead the easy way, but you’re not getting ahead at all.”