WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Three members of the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Department of Athletics are set to attend the upcoming NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar, which is scheduled to take place virtually this year February 3-5. Director of Student-Athlete Success Kristen Folan, Compliance Intern Katie Heacox, and Compliance and Student-Athlete Success Intern Kendall Elder will be representing the Blue Jays.
The NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar is a professional development event that provides leadership, educational and transitional programming for current graduate assistants and interns from NCAA member schools, conference offices and affiliate organizations. The three-day virtual program educates, develops and connects selected participants and equips attending young professionals with the skills necessary to accelerate their career progression in college sports.
"We are extremely excited that a committee from the NCAA membership selected these three young professionals to attend the 2021 Emerging Leaders Seminar," stated Associate Athletic Director Wole Oke. "As aspiring professionals they will get to further develop their craft while also cultivating relationships with college administrators from all across the country. This professional development opportunity will provide them with an invaluable learning experience in the pursuit of career advancement in college athletics."
Folan joined USJ as the Director of Student-Athlete Success in the fall of 2020 after the Blue Jays were awarded a NCAA Division III Ethnic Minority and Women's Internship Grant for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 academic years. USJ was one of 43 Division III institutions or conferences to receive the grant from the NCAA and attending the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar is a requirement as part of the grant. Folan recently completed her master's degree in Psychology with a concentration in Athletic Counseling from Springfield College before joining the Blue Jays. Prior to attending Springfield, Folan attended Assumption College where she earned her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Services & Rehabilitation Studies.
"Attending the 2021 Emerging Leaders Seminar means so much to me," said Folan. "I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow both personally and professionally, as well as connect with so many other aspiring professionals in college athletics.
Heacox joined the Blue Jays as Compliance Intern in July of 2020. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in Athletic Administration from Endicott College. In May 2018, Heacox graduated Magna Cum Laude from Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) where she earned a bachelor's degree in Sports Management with a minor in Psychology. During her years at SCSU, Heacox was a four-year varsity student-athlete on the women's track and field team where she specialized in the hammer throw. Prior to attending Endicott and SCSU, Heacox attended high school at Housatonic Valley Regional where she was a two-time State Open Champion in the hammer throw and a Class S Champion in the shot put.
"I am honored to have been chosen to participant in the Emerging Leaders Seminar," said Heacox. The skills I am going to acquire through this seminar will benefit me in every aspect of my life. I am most excited about building my network among future colleagues."
Elder came aboard the Department of Athletics as Compliance and Student-Athlete Success Intern in September of 2020. Elder is currently in pursuit of a Doctor of Education in Sports Leadership at Concordia University Chicago. In July of 2020, he earned a master's degree in Sports Management from Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Prior to attending SNHU, Elder was enrolled at Oakwood University where earned a bachelor's degree in Fitness and Wellness in 2017. During his tenure at Oakwood, he was a varsity student-athlete playing baseball for the Ambassadors all four seasons.
"Being selected for the Emerging Leader Seminar is first and foremost an honor," said Elder. "Unfortunately we will not have the opportunity to meet and connect in person, but I look forward to collaborating and meeting other up-and-coming administrators from across the nation."
About USJ Athletics
University of Saint Joseph (USJ) Athletics is a NCAA Division III member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). The Blue Jays field 15 varsity sports with 200-plus student-athletes. For more information, please visit www.usjbluejays.com.