30 in 30 Presents: Ira Wrestler (Week 6)

Ira Wrestler30in30

Ira Wrestler

MA, Sports Management, University of Tennessee
BA, Sociology, UIC 2007

Current job
Ira is the Coordinator of Facilities and Student Development at the UIC Recreation Center on the West Campus. His job in campus recreation involves a variety of tasks including supervising fifty student workers at any given time as well as hiring, scheduling, and mentoring students. Ira’s primary goal is to provide outstanding service to the diverse clientele that comes into the facility to exercise and relax by ensuring a safe, clean and welcoming environment.

That “aha!” moment at UIC Sociology
Ira had many “aha!” moments in his sociology classes where he learned to be open to different perspectives and ideas. Ira’s experience in the sociology department at UIC broadened his awareness and appreciation for diverse populations, which is relevant for his work with various groups of people that come in and out of the recreational facility. Some of the main skills that he learned in his sociology courses and uses on a daily basis are the ability to effectively communicate, plan, and problem solve.

Ira’s route from UIC Sociology to UIC Recreation
Ira reached out to Brian Cousins, who became his mentor, and is the current director of UIC Campus recreation. He took Ira under his wing, and explained to him how he got to where he was in his career. With Brian’s guidance, Ira became very active in the national organization for campus recreation, NIRSA, and went to the national conference as well. Shortly after the conference he received a graduate assistantship at the University of Tennessee on a two-year program. While he was studying, he was also working for their recreational facility under their aquatics department. He eventually returned to Chicago to work for Lifetime Fitness, which helped him to successfully apply for his job at the UIC Recreation Facility as a professional.

Fun fact
Ira has visited 5 of the 7 continents! He initially began his “world tour” with UIC Explorers Alumni Travel Program, and only needs to visit Antarctica and Asia to complete all seven!

Interviewed by Jocelyn Diaz


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