By James Murphy
After graduating summa cum laude, majoring in Biology and minoring in mathematics and chemistry, from Franklin Pierce University, Hannah Irving decided she wanted to give back what she learned and had a passion for, becoming a high school tutor working mostly with athletes. Not long after that, Irving was approached by the Boston Shamrocks about their open Academic Coordinator position and she immediately knew this was the job for her!
“Education is really important to me and when I started privately tutoring after college, most of the students I was working with were athletes,” explained Irving. “So when I came across this opportunity with the Shamrocks to work as the Math and Science tutor, it instantly grabbed my attention. I just thought it was such a great opportunity to work with this group of girls who are so dedicated to their athletics but obviously needed to keep education at the forefront as well.”
Irving has embraced the ever-changing challenges of working for a hockey program that says goodbye to a team every season and hello to another. “One of the things I love about working for the team is that we do have a different group of girls coming in each season and that gives me the opportunity to get to know another group of girls and their strengths and their weaknesses and how I can be of the utmost help to each girl individually,” Irving said. “I really enjoy being able to see things, particularly in math, where I have a student whose like ‘I just don’t get it, I just don’t get it, I just don’t get it’ and then that light bulb goes off. It’s really rewarding and I’m grateful to be a part of it.
What Hannah is also grateful for is being able to not only serve as an education resource but sometimes a break from what at times, can be a struggle on the ice and in life in general for these dedicated student-athletes. “The girls are here to play hockey and that’s what’s most important in their mind,” Irving said. “I do try and stress the fact that being with us, with school for the day can be a break from that and opportunity to leave whatever happened on the ice behind them, take a step away from that and then put their attention and their efforts into their school work. Hopefully that will provide them with an opportunity to then do some better work on the ice that afternoon.”
If the girls ever struggle with their studies though, Irving and her team are always ready to turn things around and get them back on track. “Particularly for girls that are online students, that transition can be a difficult one,” Irving pointed out. “So more often than not we’ll see those struggles come through right away at the beginning of the season as these girls are getting started in their online high school career. So what I try and do to help them is just offer as much support as possible. I have a staff of tutors who work for the team providing additional support in that way, or some additional time with me. I do anything I can that’s going to help their understanding of any given material in order to be successful.”
As the Academic Coordinator, Hannah is also the contact person for players and parents with questions and concerns about academics. She has become an invaluable asset in helping players navigate the NCAA Eligibility Center and assisting with the college application process.