Commencement Feature: Dakotah Kreil says “Don’t hold yourself back”

Like many at UCCS, Dakotah Kreil isn’t the traditional student. Although she is graduating with her Bachelor of Science in Marketing and PGA Golf Management from the College of Business this semester, Dakotah won’t be walking at December commencement. Instead, she’s finishing out her Golf Management internship as Support Coordinator for the PGA of America Career Services Department in her home state of Arizona.

Dakotah was introduced to golf at an early age, as her dad, Mike Kreil, is a former PGA professional. She remembers spending Father’s Days at the golf course when they had discounted rates and kids could play for free. She went on to play junior and high school golf, putting in the work to significantly improve between her freshman and sophomore year to qualify for a university team.

That hard work paid off, as Dakotah was recruited by then-head coach of UCCS women’s golf, Sadie Farnsworth. She visited UCCS and Colorado for the first time, and the PGM program combined with the natural beauty of campus helped seal the deal quickly.

“A lot of people say that ‘when you know, you know,’ and I thought that that was a bit silly. But sure enough, when I was on my visit, I thought ‘this feels great.’ What I took away most from the campus was the fact that I was walking around seeing people and every single one of them was still stopping to look at the view and appreciating being at school there,” Dakotah recalls.

Dakotah may have not known prior to visiting UCCS that she’d end up there, but she knew early on she wanted to find a four-year university that she’d love and want to stay at while pursuing her bachelor’s.

“I was in middle school and beginning of high school when I was watching my dad go through to get his bachelor’s degree, and I think that just showed firsthand the hard work and dedication that it took to get that degree. At the same time, I also saw how much easier it would be if I did it straight out of high school,” says Dakotah.

UCCS and the golf management program proved to be up to par, as Dakotah notes how they helped kickstart her career goals at a young age by allowing her to get a PGA membership so soon after graduating. PGA memberships can be pursued outside of college programs, but usually have to be achieved while working full-time and starting programs after graduating.

Dakotah explains, “The PGM University program has set me forward years, in the fact that I’ll have my bachelor’s degree and my PGA membership essentially in the same week of graduation. Otherwise, I would have had to have been working full-time and starting a new program to get my PGA membership, whereas finding UCCS, I was able to do both at once. That changed my life because I’ll be 22 years old with a bachelor’s degree and a PGA membership, essentially ready to kick off my career.”

That career will likely involve marketing within the PGA sector, as Dakotah hopes to continue in the field after graduation. She has a good start with her current internship as Support Coordinator. In this role, she helps their consultant post jobs for open positions, does graphic design for the Career Services department, assists in the hiring process for their PGA Executive Search service, builds internal marketing materials and publications and more.

“I’ve absolutely loved it. It is without a doubt one of the best teams of industry professionals that you could ever hope to be around. I’m able to apply a lot of the things that I learned in digital marketing at UCCS, and build out that brand for our department, which has been really exciting be able to be hands-on in that process,” explains Dakotah. “I have loved my job, love the PGA of America and I’d love to combine my skills with marketing and PGA Golf management to continue in this type of role for my career.”

Dakotah also credits her coach Todd Laxson, PGA, with helping her move along at university and into her internship. After becoming the Women’s Golf Head Coach in 2019, Laxson was a pillar of support and advice for Dakotah.

Dakotah with Women’s Golf Head Coach, Todd Laxson

“As our head women’s golf coach, Laxson is very passionate about women in golf and empowering us, and I always felt a strong sense of support from him. He and I have had many talks over the years of the golf industry, the PGA membership and its do’s and don’ts and other advice. I couldn’t be more grateful for him for the example that he set in this process. I have always appreciated him as part of my journey,” Dakotah says. “I think because of the nature of our campus, it allows us to build strong relationships with professors and coaches and university staff.”

Knowing how instrumental and supportive her coaches were for her studies and career, Dakotah hopes to become involved in coaching herself.

“I’d love to pursue some college coaching or junior golf instruction for young girls in the area because this is where I was built in the game, and would love to give back to these programs because that’s also what got me to UCCS,” says Dakotah.

As graduation draws near, Dakotah is preparing for the next stage of her career and looking forward to reuniting with her fellow PGA Golf Management classmates for their first Masters Tournament, where they’ll be celebrating their hard work and their PGA memberships.

“My classmates from UCCS and I have plans to attend the Masters. That’s my short-term goal: just being able to be there with them and reflect on our time at UCCS, reflect on our journey to achieve our PGA membership and have a great time,” Dakotah says.

For the incoming students and those still working on their studies, Dakotah encourages trying new things and giving new opportunities a chance.

“Don’t be afraid to just try something different, whether it be an internship or a part-time job while you’re in school. If there’s something that you think you might like, just give it a shot, take the job, work a few shifts. I wouldn’t be in this position that I’m in now, enjoying where I’m at professionally, had I not taken that jump. A lot of people are too worried to make a mistake and that it will set them back or do irreparable damage and it really won’t. Work with close friends, close family, your professors, any sort of career consultant that you have access to, and just take a chance and try something.

If it doesn’t work out, try something else. But don’t feel too worried about that fear of failure. You’re going to hold yourself back if you do.”

About the UCCS College of Business

The College of Business was established in 1965 and has more than 1,300 undergraduates and 350 MBA students. The College of Business and Administration awards the Bachelor of Science in Business and Bachelor of Innovation degrees. The Graduate School of Business Administration awards the Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in Accounting and Executive Doctor of Business Administration degrees. More than 10,000 alumni of the College of Business live and work around the world. Learn more about the College of Business at UCCS.

About the UCCS Fall 2022 Commencement Ceremony

The UCCS fall 2022 Commencement ceremonies will celebrate degrees conferred to more than 1,000 graduates. More than 550 will attend the ceremony at the Broadmoor World Arena on December 16, 2022, along with family and friends. See the full Commencement program online. View the livestreamed ceremony on YouTube.