Andrew Oliveira and Kevin Wagner are Penn State Lehigh Valley business students who are blending their passion for golf with professional experience, giving them a priceless real-world opportunity. Oliveira, a junior from Easton, and Wagner, a senior from Nazareth, met as members of the campus’ championship golf team. Oliveira has been working his way up at Riverview Country Club in Easton for a few years.
“I worked on the golf carts first, then they moved me to the pro shop where I impressed my colleagues and kept moving up,” Oliveira said. “New ownership of the golf course brought a change in mindset about how to run the place and I was named assistant manager in February, and now I’m the manager.”
Meanwhile this spring, Wagner was about to start an internship which wound up being canceled because of COVID so he reached out to Oliveira to see if there were any opportunities at Riverview.
“Kevin talked to his boss, then I went for an interview and started my job in May,” Wagner said. “And now I’m in the process of being promoted to assistant manager.”
Managing a full-time job and full-time course load while playing on a championship team is no small feat, but both students credit the uniqueness of the Lehigh Valley campus for making this possible.
“What I like the most about PSU-LV is you can be submerged when you want to be. It’s different from most campuses and it helps how flexible it is. You can choose when to insert yourself into college life and when to focus on other things.”
-- Andrew Oliveira, business major at Penn State Lehigh Valley
“I’m getting a lot of experience that not a lot of people get by jump starting my career now. I find PSU-LV very flexible and willing to make it work for your schedule,” Wagner said. “In a leadership class I took with Rich Fatzinger, I learned a lot about time management and that helps us in our jobs now.”
Rich Fatzinger, PSU-LV athletic director, just finished teaching a course: KINES 29/Golf at Riverview, which explores the ever-important connection between golf and business.
“Besides learning a sport that you can play throughout your entire life, golf is great for making connections in the business world. One of my students this past semester was encouraged by his current employer… to learn how to play golf because it will benefit him in his future line of work,” Fatzinger said.
Wagner was one of his students in the golf class this semester.
“Even though I’ve been playing golf since I was a kid, I gained a lot from his course. We went over swing, training, some lessons. But we also read articles and drafted summaries about how beneficial learning golf is to business careers, and we learned how to network,” Wagner said.
Oliveira’s and Wagner’s positions at Riverview is a win for PSU-LV.
“With Anthony and Kevin taking over the management duties at Riverview, we have been able to make Riverview Golf Course our home course for our golf team and use their facilities for the golf classes we offer,” Fatzinger said. “We hope to host a league event at the course and possibly a fundraising golf tournament in the future.”
“To finally have a real home course will help us grow as a golf team,” Oliveira said. “We are voted one of the best public courses in the area with lots of amenities here!”
While both students are seizing every opportunity coming their way, they acknowledge how their campus helped get them to where they are now.
“It’s just an assumption that since it’s a small campus there is less to do. Since it is small, I think there is actually more to do; more chances to spread your wings and do things off campus to add to experience in our fields,” Oliveira said. “And the best way to learn is with hands on experience, I learn in school and I learn at my job so it’s nonstop learning!”