Where Are They Now? Dirron Allen


With so many graduates from the world of Mississippi State University Recreation, we thought it best to reach out and contact a few of them and find out "Where Are They Now?" Read a little bit about our first graduate, Dirron Allen, below!

Dirron Allen is no stranger to college campuses. While pursuing his educational and career goals, he attended three universities and was employed at even more. Allen got his B.S. from James Madison University in ‘00, his M.S. from Mississippi State University in ‘03, and is currently in the process of getting a Doctorate from Virginia Commonwealth University. During his time at Mississippi State, Allen was employed as a graduate assistant with University Recreation. 

Here are some of the questions we asked:

Q: What was your favorite part of working with University Recreation during your time at Mississippi State?

A: Hands down the people in the organization. I wish I could name them all. People were kind, hardworking, and really cared about the students. I could spend hours in the Sanderson working, playing basketball, or just chilling with the staff.

Q: Were there any particular skills or lessons you’ve learned at University Recreation that you continue to use?

A: At the time University Recreation prioritized a learning environment. They were always focused on employee development. As a graduate assistant, we would participate in departmental meetings as colleagues, contributors. The leadership encouraged us to grow and collaborate with each other in that growth. Throughout my career I continue to center learning and professional development as a priority in the spaces I support.

Q: Who has had the biggest impact on your career?

A: First and foremost God. Secondly, there were a lot of people at Mississippi State alone, hard to narrow it to one. Veda Sargeant, Steve Waden, Laura Walling, Sean Fitzgerald, Adam Germek, Chondra Johnson, Matt O'Connor, Jason Towsend, to name a few... It's important that each of us build our village of people, personally and professionally.

Q: Jason informed me that you were a national student NIRSA representative. Could you describe this experience and how it affected you?

A: Being the NIRSA National Student Rep was wild. I was traveling around the country, headed to conferences and learning about the student experiences in recreation. NIRSA showed me the business side to higher education as an industry and it also showed me the importance of having a network of people. I still remain in contact with many colleagues from my time in NIRSA. Here is the news archive.

Q: As Assistant Dean of Students at the University of Virginia, what advice would you give to those trying to grow their involvement in college?

A: I would encourage all students to think about their involvement as opportunities. 1. As an opportunity to explore and try something new 2. As an opportunity to continue something you are passionate about. 3. As an opportunity to grow skills related to your career or academic interest. What's important to know, quality over quantity. Find a few experiences that you can commit to and do meaningful work.

Q: Where has been your favorite place to live and work?

A: lol, I don't know, I've had some good experiences. I'll say this, at Mississippi State, me and grads would road trip to different places. Someone ask Dr. Townsend about the Road Trip to Miami for Region II, lol, j/king don't ask him.

Q:Do you have any advice for current Mississippi State students?

A: Always be proud of your institution, get connected in meaningful ways. If you are working in University Recreation, connect with staff and find ways to grow. Many of the skills you learn in University Recreation are transferable to many different careers.

Q: What would you describe as one of your“fondest memories” at Mississippi State?

A: Veda Sargeant, who was my direct supervisor, took a new job and left Mississippi State. She was an incredible mentor for me and the staff. Jason Townsend and I were asked to pick up additional responsibilities. The entire student staff team stepped up, I will never forget that. We needed them and they had our back. They were incredible and I am forever grateful.