June 12 2012
Student-athlete leaders speaking at St. Louis Convention
by Eric McDowell
Union (NY), CoSIDA 3rd Vice President
It’s all about the student-athlete. The fundamental job of the sports communication professional, and every member of CoSIDA, is to serve the student athlete.
With that in mind, four student-athletes will come to St. Louis and speak to the membership, providing the first ever student-athlete panel at a CoSIDA convention. Students from NCAA Division I, II and III and the NAIA will address the membership on Tuesday, June 26 at 10:00 a.m. in a session entitled "Serving Student-Athletes: Are we getting it right?"
The students will discuss communications challenges from their perspective, and also how the sports communication professional can work with the student-athletes for assistance in promoting their sport programs.
The panel will feature three representatives from the NCAA’s National Student Athlete Advisory Committees and a student-athlete who serves in the NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program.
Representing NCAA Division I will be Alex Mendez, a junior baseball player at the University of South Florida. NCAA Division II will be represented by David Pillen, a junior football player at Abilene Christian University (Texas), and NCAA Division III will feature Nafeesa Connolly, a sophomore volleyball player from Simmons College (Massachusetts). The NAIA student-athlete will be Julie Teeple, a junior dual-sport athlete (basketball and volleyball) for Columbia College (Missouri).
As well as presenting on a panel, the students will have a private meeting with the CoSIDA Board, and attend various events throughout their time at the convention. On Tuesday afternoon, they will meet legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg after his panel on the Capital One Academic All-America® program, attend the Capital One Special Awards Gala that evening, and close out their stay with the Ozzie Smith presentation at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, June 26.
Each student will provide their thoughts and comments, and a question and answer session will follow. The students who were selected were truly honored and humbled, and are looking forward to this wonderful and unique opportunity.
majors in bio-medical sciences and is from Longwood, Florida.
"I am very excited and honored to be the NCAA Division I student-athlete representative at the 2012 CoSIDA Convention,” commented Mendez. “This is a great opportunity not only for me, but also for the student-athletes that I am representing. I am excited to voice my feelings and opinions towards important topics affecting student-athletes.”
A junior from Richmond, Texas, David Pillen
majors in electronic media (journalism) and will be getting his masters in organizational and human resource development.
“To not only attend this event but also represent all NCAA Division II Student-Athletes is a huge
blessing and something that I take great pride and responsibility in,” stated Pillen. “I am looking forward to speaking and being a part of the CoSIDA Convention 2012 in St. Louis.
“The NCAA Division II SAAC is an incredible group of people who do not settle for what they did yesterday and or today. I believe we as a group continually focus on the process of truly being great. Each person has this drive inside of them that won't settle and won't ever be satisfied. When you get a group of people together that have that type of focus and care about the people around them, only great things can come from that. It is an honor and a privilege to be on the NCAA Division II SAAC.”
is a native of Natick, Massachusetts and majors in communication and public relations with a minor in Business.
"Opportunities like this are once in a lifetime and to be a student-athlete studying communications/public relations, this particular one is truly a dream come true,” Connolly said. “The NCAA SAAC has opened many doors for myself, such as this one, and fellow ‘SAAC-ers’ from each division and myself are honored to be a part of the rewarding experience.
“I'm really looking forward to learning as much as possible during the CoSIDA Convention and using the take-a-ways towards the Division III Communications Strategy, my sch
ool work and hopefully in my future career.”
is a marketing and management major from Versailles, Missouri. As the representative of NAIA students, Teeple commented, "I am extremely honored to be selected as the first NAIA student-athlete to appear as a guest speaker at the CoSIDA Convention. As an NAIA student-athlete, I have had the wonderful opportunity to serve in a leadership role with the American Red Cross and NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program, where we learned to be a voice for all student-athletes, NAIA institutions and the communities we live in. I look forward to sharing my experiences as an NAIA student-athlete."
It’s all about the student-athlete. Now, you have an opportunity to hear from the source. We look forward to you joining us for this educational panel, and also, during the convention please take a moment to stop by and thank these students for taking time out from their summer to join us in St. Louis.