Allen Aims for Olympic Shooting Team

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The solitude of the shooting range. The careful adjustments to the pistol’s sights. The feel of her fingers wrapped around the grip, poised to pull the trigger.

While some read a book or take a yoga class to de-stress, Kara Allen finds relaxation and focus in a visit to the shooting range and the process of setting up the perfect shot.

“When you’re shooting, it’s you against yourself,” said Allen, vice president for events and campus relations for the Alumni Association. “You have to have confidence in yourself to be successful.”

Allen, whose mother was a member of both the 1992 and 1996 Olympic shooting teams, began shooting at age 12. She participated in several Junior Olympics, National Championships and even placed third at the U.S. Olympic Festival in St. Louis.

After making it to the World Championships in Barcelona and Atlanta World Cup in 1998, Allen decided it was time to take a break to focus on her studies and start a career.

“But by 2011, I realized that I missed shooting competitively and that I wouldn’t be content unless I tried my hand at making it to the Olympics — and winning the gold,” she added.  

During peak training times, Allen spends between 40 to 50 hours training per week. She practices shooting at her home, Sandy Springs Gun Club and drives to a shooting range in Anniston, Ala., every Tuesday.

Because shooting is such a mentally challenging sport, Allen also sees a sports psychologist once every two weeks. Finally, there’s additional physical training to strengthen her core and work on balance.

“I’m glad I’m pursuing this dream as an adult, because when I was younger, I didn’t have the focus that I have now,” Allen said. “No matter what happens, I’ve already learned so much about myself.”

Read on to learn more about Allen and her time at Tech.

How did you arrive in your current position?          
My dad is a heart surgeon, so when I was little, I wanted to be a doctor — and then I took chemistry in college. So I became a sociology major who fell into event planning. About eight years ago, I was working as an alumni events manager at Vanderbilt University when a friend suggested that I apply for a similar position at the Institute. I knew I’d enjoy the events aspect of the job, but I didn’t realize how much I’d enjoy the campus relations component.

During an average day, what does your job entail?      
I oversee the coordination of events ranging from the Pi Mile Road Race to Homecoming to Tech’s biggest donor dinner, the President’s Dinner. In terms of campus relations, I’m responsible for ensuring students understand the value of a lifelong relationship with Tech, while they are on campus and once they graduate, which means I work a great deal with the Student Alumni Association.

What is the most satisfying part of your job?    
One of my favorite quotes is “Nothing in this world has been accomplished without passion.” And this describes our students to a “T.” Tech students are so driven and dedicated, and I’m always amazed by them.

What is your favorite spot on campus?
For me, it’s more about favorite traditions than a favorite spot. For example, I love walking by the Mickey Mouse clock or seeing students wearing RAT caps.

What is one piece of technology you can’t live without?
My iPhone. It’s a tool that helps me balance work with my dream of getting to the Olympics.

What is your favorite piece of advice?
Keep calm and carry on.

Tell us something about yourself that others might not know.
When my sisters and I turned 14, we each went on a hunting trip with my father. There was one requirement for the trip — that whatever we hunted could hunt us. I shot a bear on my trip, while one sister shot a mountain lion. The other sister went a slightly different route. The terrain she had to navigate was more life-threatening than the mountain goat that she shot.



  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Amelia Pavlik
  • Created: 09/28/2012
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 10/07/2016

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