Student-athletes work hard for their university. Between keeping up with their studies and juggling conditioning, practices and games, they work practically nonstop to carry out their duties.
Due to these pressures, it is important that athletes receive as much support as possible. This is why Joanna “Jo” Pryor, director of athletics, and Jill Fort, Ph.D., professor of criminal justice, are working hard to help student-athletes with a call-out to staff and faculty to participate in a mentorship program.
“Students know when we are at their games,” said Fort. “They enjoy our participation and cheering them on. The power of positivity has great results on the students and team members, and on us.”
The recent enthusiasm from Fort and Pryor is being matched by many others. Athletes, coaches, staff and faculty find the mentorship program to be an excellent way of supporting the athletes.
Morris “Mo” Floyd, director of security at Newman, has always made it a point to help students. He is there to send off teams as they leave for away games whenever he can and sends them supporting emails.
“I know what it’s like to struggle,” Floyd said. “Teams that may be having trouble, I try to encourage them. So I’ll send emails and just tell them to keep their chins up. I want them to know that someone back here is cheering them on.”
Floyd said the amount of work that student-athletes do is incredible, and such work deserves support and cheering on.
“They go out and represent us in athletic competitions, much like choir and troubadours represent us in different cities and in different venues, or anybody else. I think every student here deserves 110% of our support in whatever they do.”
Cammie Kennedy, director of admissions, is a mentor for dance and cheer. She cares a great deal about the students and believes that athletics is a big component of the college experience. Working in admissions, she attributes her position to one thing.
“I always tell everyone that the only reason we are here is because of the students. If it’s not for the students, then we are not doing our job right.”
As the mentorship program grows, student-athletes are glad to be surrounded by friendly faces who want them to succeed.
Sophomore Marlie Wagner, a triathlete majoring in nursing, believes the mentorship program will have a positive effect on athletes.
“I think the mentorship program will be beneficial because it provides a good connection between the athletics department and the education department. It will be nice for the teams to have an additional support person, one who is invested in campus life and whose involvement with their particular team will provide a good morale boost.”