Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Leadership lived: UIS volleyball player represents student-athletes on a national level

University of Illinois Springfield volleyball player Ashley Beaton, a senior psychology major, represents NCAA Division II athletes on a national level as the student representative for the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC).

“It’s honestly been surreal. There’s been a lot of people I’ve gotten to network with and who have helped my leadership, personality and professionalism grow,” said Beaton.

Beaton applied for the position after being a member of the UIS Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). She current serves as vice president of UIS SAAC and previously served as president. She is also a member of the UIS Intercollegiate Athletic Committee, which is part of the UIS Campus Senate and made up of student-athletes, faculty and staff.

As part of her national NCAA leadership role, Beaton has attended the NCAA Convention and has been spotlighted in several Division II videos as part of the “Make it Yours” campaign.

“I’ve went to the NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis and just got overloads of information that I can take back and use in volleyball, in real life and use to apply to SAAC to make NCAA Division II even better,” said Beaton.

Beaton says she chose UIS because of the growing opportunities for student-athletes. She’s proud to be part of a thriving Prairie Stars program.

“I remember coming on campus here for the first time and I just had a feeling like, you know this feels like home, but what really drew me in was the potential that UIS had,” she said. “I heard that all of the sports teams were starting to take off.”

She has learned about leadership through her NCAA role and as a volleyball team captain.

“I would consider myself more of a lead by example type of leader,” she said. “I really try to encompass everything that our coach brings us into. I really take it and try to run with it.”

Following graduation from UIS, Beaton plans to earn a master’s degree in psychology and hopes to one day work at the NCAA’s Sports Science Institute, which researches student-athlete health and mental health.

“Coming in here I was a little bit shy, I was underdeveloped and just all of the experience I’ve had to go through has just taken me through the roof,” said Beaton. “It’s been amazing to say the least.”

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