School-to-Work Reunion at the Drake Relays

Competitor, intern, employee.  These three words describe Emily McKibben’s relationship with the Drake Relays.

Emily was a track and field star at Waukee High School in 2017. She qualified for the Drake Relays at the exact same time she was interning for the Drake Relays as part of our district’s School-to-Work program. 

“I knew it was something I enjoyed and I wanted to continue doing it in the future,” McKibben says about her relationship with the relays. 

Emily McKibben runs track for Waukee High School

Emily McKibben runs track for Waukee High School

Return to Drake

Let’s jump forward to 2021, Emily’s back at the Drake Relays as a full-time employee.

“When Blake (Director of Drake Relays) called and offered me the position, I said to him this is so surreal that I’m being offered this spot,” says McKibben. “Being able to come home and be offered this job, but also coming full circle with what I started is exciting.”

As an intern Emily coordinated all of the elementary, middle school and masters events for the relays. Now, there’s a little bit more on her plate.

“I oversee everything in the stadium and the infield operations,” says McKibben. “The largest part of what I do is the officials coordination and the retainment of our university teams.”

Emily McKibben at the Drake Relays

Emily McKibben is now an assistant director at the Drake Relays.

School-to-Work Success

Emily’s success story is incredible news to the School-to-Work program. It’s the perfect example of how beneficial these experiences can be.

“Emily was one of those kids from day one, she said give me more, give me more,” says School-to-Work Coordinator Scott Carlson. “Whatever you tell me to do, I’m going to do it as well as I possibly can and hopefully I’ll build your trust and be able to do additional things.” 

When work ethic matches up with the perfect internship location, amazing things happen. For Emily, that meant a connection with her future employer.

“The School-to-Work program is really where you are going to start your career,” adds McKibben.  “I recommend that everyone does something they want to do, that way it’s not work.  You are just there day in and day out, doing something you enjoy.”

“She was very mature and knew the pathway she wanted to follow forward,” says Carlson. “For her it was the perfect fit.”

From an athlete, to an intern, to the assistant director, Emily McKibben has experienced everything that is awesome about the Drake Relays.

“Nothing’s changed since I started day one as a School-to-Work intern,” says McKibben. “The excitement is still there and it will continue to be.”