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College athletes, administrators prepare for forum

Annual leadership event to take place April 7-10 in Phoenix

More than 200 NCAA student-athletes representing all sports and various campus academic departments will meet this week for the annual NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum.

The conference will be held April 7-10 in Phoenix. It will be led by 20 facilitators who applied through the national office and were selected by a membership committee to complete facilitation training and then conduct the curriculum at the Leadership Forum.

The leadership development and governance groups at the NCAA national office collaborate to host the forum, which will also include 70 athletics administrators, coaches and faculty from colleges and universities in attendance.

“The Student-Athlete Leadership Forum is an excellent way to provide student-athletes with a nontraditional form of education that centers on developing them as leaders in their communities and on their campuses,” said Curtis J. Hollomon, NCAA director of leadership development. “It ultimately prepares them for life after their collegiate playing days are over.”

During the forum, the student-athletes will be separated into small teams for projects and discussions. The facilitators lead the teams each day and spur conversations that help the student-athletes with analytical thinking and ways to address any topics and concerns they may have on issues that impact them on their campuses.

Attendees are scheduled to hear and engage with keynote speakers LaChina Robinson, TV analyst for women’s basketball and former women’s basketball player at Wake Forest University, and Justin Patton, a certified body language and communications skills coach.

During the forum, the student-athletes will learn more about NCAA governance structures and how committees work and make membership decisions. They’ll also learn more about Student-Athlete Advisory Committees, the voice of the student-athlete body within the NCAA governance structure, and how impactful they can be at the national, campus and conference levels – and be encouraged to share their knowledge with their campus SAAC. Additionally, the student-athletes will participate in a community service project to benefit Helen’s Hope Chest, Child Crisis Arizona and the local school children in Phoenix.  

NCAA leadership development, located at the NCAA national office in Indianapolis, coordinates and facilitates education and training for student-athletes, coaches and athletics administrators. The staff annually hosts programs at little or no cost to members, using expert curriculum designed to enhance the well-being and personal development of college athletes. The staff also provides ongoing education and topical training to athletics professionals who identify and serve student-athlete needs. For more information, visit

2016 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum facilitators:

  • Ventric Fletcher, academic counselor, Tulane University
  • Caroline Hannema, assistant to athletics director / assistant swim coach, Hope College
  • Quintin Jordan, assistant director of sport services, Conference USA
  • Kelley Kish, associate athletics director / senior woman administrator, Nova Southeastern University
  • Amanda Knight, assistant athletics director, Barry University
  • Kevin Lamse, associate director of software development, NCAA
  • Paia LaPalombara, assistant director of compliance, The Ohio State University
  • Goeun Lee, assistant athletics director, Palm Beach Atlantic University
  • Maya Ozery, assistant athletics director, Longwood University
  • Cori Pinkett, director of student-athlete development, Kansas State University
  • Lamarr Pottinger, assistant director of student-athlete services, Jacksonville University
  • Ben Rodriguez, director of student-athlete welfare & development, University of Central Florida
  • Danielle Rosario-Mullen, assistant athletics director / senior woman administrator, Upper Iowa University
  • Andrea Schmidt, assistant athletics director / senior woman administrator, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Sara Steinman, assistant athletics director, Moravian College
  • Nick Stowers, assistant athletics director, Rogers State University
  • Justin Thaxton, coordinator for diversity & inclusion in athletics, Grinnell College
  • Christina Waszak, associate director of student activities, Brooklyn College
  • Caryl West, assistant director of accounting, NCAA
  • Alex Winnicker, interim athletics director, St. Joseph’s College (Brooklyn)