Please tell us about yourself
Naik wants to give something back to golf without having a club in her hands.
Naik has been accepted into a two-year post-graduate fellowship program with the United States Golf Association. She will be working with the USGA, a nonprofit organization, in its philanthropic efforts. Naik will help with grant making, grant writing and working with programs such as The First Tee, Evans Scholars and those who want to build golf courses in the inner cities.
Tell us about the fellowship
“Their main goal (the USGA) is to spread the game of golf, and they’re going to be doing it through youth programs,” Naik said. “I would be meeting with those program directors and figuring out ways to help fund their programs like the LPGA-USGA program here (at ISU).”
Naik, who will be leaving next week to join the USGA at its headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., lives across Gregory Street from the ISU Golf Course. Naik participated in the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program at ISU.
“That’s one of the ways I found out about this fellowship. They help fund this program,” she said. “It’s a great way to get girls out here. I know growing up I was one of three girls playing. It’s a great way to get more involved in golf and make some friends along the way. I know for me it was really hard to do that.”
What did you study?
Naik graduated from Illinois earlier this month with a speech communications degree along with a minor in Spanish. For awhile, she thought about a career in broadcast journalism. Toward that end, she had an internship with the PGA Tour two summers ago in the media department.
Among the golfers she interviewed was Sergio Garcia, but Naik discovered she wanted to deal with the game more directly instead of through the media. So she switched her major at Illinois.
What do you do?
Naik has been assigned to the USGA’s Northeast Region. Fellows also work at USGA championships, and Naik has been assigned to the U.S. Women’s Amateur at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., on Aug. 9-12.
“We speak at the championships about the different things we are funding. There’s a little public relations involved,” she said.
Naik doesn’t believe her extensive golf background helped land her the fellowship.
“Some of the fellows don’t play golf. A lot of athletes apply,” she said. “When I interviewed for the position, there were not a lot of questions about golf. Mostly it was about how you feel sports has impacted your life and how you’ve been a leader in these ways.
“It’s more about leadership and service than golf, but it’s a vehicle to do that (promote golf). For me, it’s a perfect fit.”