Sophomore Ajay Patel (he/him) is what many people would describe as a self-starter. Before he even began his time at Temple University in the summer of 2020, he was already reaching out to people and organizations he was interested in.
"He was one of those self-starter type people who just wanted, before they stepped on campus, to know there was somewhere where they'd be welcome to get kicking for their career," said Patel's Klein Rising Peer Mentor and General Manager at Temple's radio station, WHIP, Ray Dunne (he/him).
As Patel was preparing for college, he reached out to Dunne, who was the sports director at WHIP at the time, to inquire about getting involved. It is this self-starting attitude as well as his enthusiastic networking skills that has landed Patel a job as the special assistant to the chairman of the board of USA Badminton.
In this position at USA Badminton, Patel recently submitted an outline with plans to grow the sport of badminton across the country. His plan begins in Philadelphia, with Club 28, a badminton club that will implement Patel's outline. Pending success, other clubs in the tri-state area and eventually the country will use it as well.
Part of Patel's plan is centered on live-streaming badminton matches on social media. "The use of social media, obviously, is very, very important, and if done properly, it can be very productive," said Chairman of the Board of USA Badminton Ken Wong (he/him).
When Wong met Patel, he was immediately impressed with the way he carried himself and appreciates that his young age lends itself to expert social media skills. "I don't look at age as a thing that should stop anybody from being good at whatever they're good at," Wong said.
Wong is also on the board of directors of Battleship New Jersey and has worked with Patel there, as well. In the spring 2021 semester, Patel was a project manager for a fundraiser for the Battleship. Because of his impressive work there and with USA Badminton, he and Wong are looking for other opportunities for him with the Battleship.
In addition to hopefully continuing his work at USA Badminton, Patel is a Klein College Influencer and will be a Klein Rising peer mentor in fall 2021.
Dunne noted that he loves to see what Patel is accomplishing as it makes him feel like he did a good job being his mentor. On the other hand, though, he noted that Patel would no doubt be successful with or without him.
"You preach all these things, but you don't know if people are actually going to take advantage of opportunities and I think he took advantage of every opportunity - and more," Dunne said. "He's probably one of the most excitable people, in the best way possible, that I've met here at Temple."
Dunne hopes that in addition to supporting Patel in his professional life, he has taught him a thing or two about relaxing and slowing down every once in a while.
"I just want to be anything on-air related to sports," Patel said. "Or anything social media related to a team." This year, he wants to do more beat reporting and live hits for OwlSports Update on TUTV. It would also be great, he said, to get sports credentials for one of Philadelphia's professional sports teams.
"The key to success for Ajay is the fact that he's always hungry. He's always hungry for opportunities, he's always hungry for knowledge, he's always hungry for an experience that he can learn from, and that is really a trait that you see from all successful people," Wong said.