SUNY Oneonta senior Killeen Martin was selected and recently participated in the NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program. The program took place during the NCAA national convention in Nashville, TN from Jan. 18-21. Martin represented Oneonta and traveled with other representatives from the college including Athletic Director Tracey Ranieri, Vice President of Student Development Dr. Franklin Chambers, Associate Athletic Director Ryan Hooper and Dr. Jennifer Bueche, who serves as the Faculty Athletic Representative for Oneonta.
The NCAA Division III Student Immersion Program is in its second year and provides an opportunity for Division III students of color, interested in a career in Division III athletics, to attend and be immersed in the NCAA Convention. The 42 program participants were selected from a pool of applicants from across the Division III membership. Participants had an opportunity to learn from an identified mentor, participate in a DiSC assessment and goal setting, and engage with the Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) while also enjoying all the Convention programming.
“Over the last two years the Division III Diversity and Inclusion Working Group has emphasized growing the division’s pipeline of ethnic minority professionals,” said Louise McCleary, Director of Division III. “The Student Immersion Program is an excellent first step to immersing participants into the world of Division III athletics.”
Martin was one of only three student athletes from the SUNYAC to be accepted into the program that included field hockey teammate Maggie Vachris who was unable to attend and a student athlete from SUNY Geneseo. Also in attendance were several other SAAC members from the SUNYAC.
Martin shared a room with a young woman from Smith College in Massachusetts, who is a chemistry major and a member of the varsity crew team. Martin’s mentor was Mr. Jason Verdugo the Athletic Director from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota. For Martin, this was an opportunity to interact with students and administrators from colleges all over the country and to understand how to network in athletics.
Martin was absorbed into an atmosphere of collegiate athletics and a plethora of programming that included a session dealing with Title IX and the role of the Senior Woman Administrator along with participating in a DISC assessment workshop. She was also able to sit in on the Division III Issues Forum while attending the Division III Business session, which is where voting took place on various proposals presented by member schools and conferences.
One of the programs that resonated for Martin was a seminar on mental health where she learned that one in five student athletes report struggling with mental illness. She learned that administrators and coaches always must be on the lookout and be aware of the warning signs of possible depression in students. These warning signs could affect a student athlete, diminishing their academic and athletic results and more importantly their mental and emotional well-being.
The DiSC assessment workshop allowed Martin to experience a self-evaluation tool whereby her personality strengths and tendencies would show. This information can then be used to aide her in interacting with teammates and others based on specific leadership styles. Coaches here at Oneonta periodically go through a DiSC Assessment and Martin was able to experience it for herself first hand to grow her own leadership style.
At SUNY Oneonta, branding yourself to be the best possible person in your career of choice is taught to the students on almost a daily basis. Martin was expected to present herself in a dignified fashion everyday beginning with dressing for success in business professional attire, which was required of her throughout the duration of the convention. As Martin learned, you only have one chance to make a good first impression and it starts with conducting yourself appropriately and dressing the part.
Martin’s experience was amplified by seeing the city sights of Nashville during a tour exposing her to the country musical capital of the world and adding another dimension to the overall experience.
Martin is back at SUNY Oneonta now a little wiser and more appreciative of the college athletic landscape as she starts training for the spring softball season with her teammates.