we need to look back on our lives in order to
remind ourselves about those decisions and experiences that
helped change us into the person we are today. Sometimes
things just 'happen to us' either by chance or beyond our control,
but most of the time, we can make a decision --and it is our
decisions that mold and shape us the most greatly. So, what
do I think was most important to my life and what am I most
proud ? Here's my story.
me in New Zealand in 1993
I was born in
Humble, Texas -- "a town of no consequence except
to anyone who has been there" as Jane Austin might have said.
As things happen, we moved to California and I spent the next
12 years as a product of San Luis Obispo County schools. San
Luis Obispo is a small county but with many redeeming features.
Growing up my
parents tried to instill into all of us what they
referred to as 'first generation mentality.' The idea that
achievement, hard work, academic and
doing right are all good things.
Some tasks I found to be easy for me. Athletics and music
were more fun than effort but academic pursuits required real
work. The hard work of studying at home prepared me for success
at school. By the time I was in 7th grade, I enjoyed typical
female toys but also loved video games, watching sporting
events and this new toy called 'home computers.' I promptly
started my first web page, a Val Kilmer fan site! Soon, my
web page became an 'on-line scrapbook' of my adventures
in Track & Field.
7th grade was a nexus for me. I promised my P.E. teacher
Mrs. Shimke that I would represent Laguna Middle School
in a county wide track meet. I balked at the idea as the day
approached -- but my mother reminded me about my promise
and said,' there is this little thing called responsibility.' I won
the shot put throwing with my left hand ( later, I threw
with my right ), a medal was placed around my neck, they
took a picture and placed it in the school's glass case
for announcements. I was hooked!
In high school,
I was California state runner-up as a sophomore
and won my remaining two years. Nationally, I won the New
Balance National Scholastic indoor Championships and was
ranked by Track & Field News as the Number 1 female high
school shot putter for the outdoor season my senior year.
1) Undergraduate Years
So, off to
college I went on a full scholarship. One year at
SMU in Dallas and WAC Champion , next came my two SEC
Championships at Florida. At Florida, we came in second in the NCAA
I was a finalist in the 2004 Olympic trials.
I graduated on
a degree in Public Relations and applied to a number of
excellent graduate programs. My father asked very slyly,
'aren't you applying to anywhere outside of the SEC?'
There was method in his madness, he was an SC grad.
2) Annenberg Graduate School - Southern Cal
I was selected
by the Annenberg School in Communications
at the University of Southern California. I petitioned for
my last year of eligibility and was granted by the NCAA to
compete one year for the Trojans! Here, I set the school
record in the shot, runner-up in the Pac 10, and helped
our team to become NCAA runner-ups! I loved being
a Trojan athlete! However, since I was ranked in the top
50 in the world, I had to submit 'retirement' papers
to the controlling organizations in track & field.
My second year in Southern Cal's Masters Program in
Strategic Public Relations was just what I needed! In addition,
I started losing my athletic weight and worked as a 'Graduate
Assistant' for the Track Team with recruiting.
I applied to a few
doctoral programs -- and I was
accepted immediately by the University of Tennessee where I
started in the fall 2007 beginning a Ph.D. Program with
an emphasis in Public Relations.
During the summer
0f 2007, I
completed an internship in
Public Relations in South Africa. I learned a lot. The firm in which
I interned -"Total Media" - has a wide client list from
to the annual South African
By the way, I have a
in South Africa on my blog
-- Check it out!
Student - University of Tennessee
I am now a
student at the University
of Tennessee. I
have had some wonderful opportunities to
present at some really fantastic conferences where my
papers were accepted! Here is a link:
I hope that this
has helped you understand me a little
better and if you are one of the many young athletes
who stop by my site, remember, being 'good enough'
never is, always strive to be the best and see
where it takes you.
Good Luck to