Athlete gets an ‘assist’ from his degree as he pursues his dream

When Shawn Mobilio walks into a room and begins speaking, the first thing that comes to mind is: “This is someone with a great deal of determination and self-confidence who is an excellent public speaker.” One of the last things you might consider upon meeting the 5’8” Seymour native is, “he’s a basketball star.” But Mobilio is both.

The first member of his family to attend college, Mobilio graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies in 2013. He credits much of his confidence and speaking ability to the courses he took at Western.

“My communication classes helped me greatly,” Mobilio says. “I learned a lot about public speaking, interacting successfully with others and reading non-verbal cues in people.”

And while his ability to connect and network with others undoubtedly will help him in his desired professional career as a coach — it also has helped him on the basketball court.

While at Western, Mobilio was a point guard on the Colonials basketball team. His role was to deliver the ball to the right teammate at the right time to set up a scoring opportunity. That’s where his communication skills came in. Miscues result in turnovers or missed opportunities. Not with Mobilio on the floor: he was tied for second place in the Little East Conference for assists his senior year. He also served as the team’s co-captain.

As a recent graduate, Mobilio has found a way to use the skills he acquired at Western both in the classroom and on the court. He has been selected as a member of Team USA Select, a traveling basketball team that will tour Europe next fall so team members can showcase their skills before European coaches and team owners in an effort to become signed professional players.

In order to get this far, Mobilio had to participate in a spring tryout in Charlotte, N.C., competing in 10 games in three days. He was the only NCAA Div. III player in the contest, and was able to dominate Div. I and II players enough to impress the coaches, who selected him as a team member.

In a few weeks, Mobilio will begin training camp before departing for London in early September. From there, he will play in 24 countries in 25 days on the European Exposure Tour Team. In order to participate, he needed to raise several thousand dollars to fund his trip. And here again, his communication skills were useful. Mobilio already has acquired numerous sponsors to help him finance his dream.

Mobilio knows he may be considered by some to be an underdog because of his height, but he’s not going to let a little adversity get in his way. Besides having the unwavering support of his friends, family, coaches, teammates, teachers and members of his community, he also learned a valuable lesson about overcoming obstacles at Western.

“One of my communication professors gave me a C- in a course that I was required to get at least a C in,” Mobilio says. “This opened up my eyes and challenged me to push myself. I took the class again and brought my grade up. I thank (Assistant Professor of Communication) Dr. D.L. Stephenson for that, because it taught me the value of applying myself and putting in the work.”

Mobilio believes the same application of determination and effort will help him impress European coaches during his upcoming tour. At the very least, it will give him an “assist” in obtaining his dream.


Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

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