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NADO INSIDER Highlighting BC's Student-Athletes' Success Beyond the Field

hannah spear

Hannah Spear in Brazil for a Student-Exchange Opportunity

Meet Hannah Spear, this month’s NadoInsider’s Spotlight Tornado. You have probably seen Hannah competing on the athletic fields, singing in a choir, or leading in a campus life organization. Only a freshman, Hannah has immersed herself in all Brevard has to offer, making her April’s Spotlight Tornado.

Hannah had to make a quick decision on where to attend college during her senior year of high school due to a six-month study of broad trip to Brazil. Brevard was the only school she toured after hearing about the school from assistant women’s soccer coach, Octavia Saunders. Hannah wanted to continue her soccer career at the collegiate level and was given the opportunity after Coach Saunders watched her play in a club game. Although Hannah originally came to Brevard for soccer, she quickly fell in love with other aspects of the school, making her realize Brevard College was the right choice. Shortly after her arrival, Hannah wanted to be connected with everything the campus had to offer. She loved the small size of the school and how personable everyone seemed. Hannah also wanted to find a way to stay fit during the off-season of soccer, leading her to participate in both Track and Tennis during the spring season. Although playing three sports at the collegiate level may seem like a daunting task to most, Hannah believes she is more confident and able to do more things when she is physically fit and doing well in athletics.

Prior to attending Brevard, Hannah journeyed to Brazil for a six-month Student Exchange opportunity. She wanted to experience another culture and have an adventure before going off to college. In the host family that she stayed with, not everyone spoke English, so Hannah learned Portuguese very quickly. During her trip, she had the opportunity to travel to the Amazon, where she stayed on the river. Hannah saw pink dolphins, Anacondas, and native tribes. She also learned differences between two cultures. For example, the differences between education in Brazil and the United States. The public schools in Brazil are not as good as the private schools. She attended a public school while in Brazil and there were days school would be canceled due teacher strikes.

From the moment Hannah stepped on campus, she has been making an impact in several areas. She is a member of the women’s soccer team, women’s tennis team, and the track and field team. Hannah talked about the different atmospheres of the three sports. The tennis team has a very uplifting team dynamic. The sport can be both a team and individual sport. It is a battle against yourself in the singles matches. Track is similar to tennis in the battle between oneself. The practices are hard but they are shorter in terms of going into practice knowing what you need to accomplish and completing the task. Finally, soccer has the team dynamic. Hannah talked about experiencing the first few weeks as a freshman and how her class learned to mesh with a group of older players. As the season progressed new relationships developed among the team.

Not only is Hannah talented athletically, but she can sing! Hannah is a member of the concert and chamber choirs at Brevard. The group is traveling to New York this weekend and will have the opportunity to sing at Carnegie Hall. They will also have the opportunity to see two Broadway shows during the trip. One of Hannah’s favorite memories from this year was being a part of the Friends of Fine Arts (FOFA) Gala. She had the opportunity to meet the supporters and donors of the Fine Arts Department. During the dinner, the choirs performed a flash mob as well as danced with the attendees of the gala. It was a key moment for Hannah in being able to meet the wonderful people who donate so much to the Fine Arts Department.

Playing three sports and participating in two choirs is enough to keep most college students busy, but Hannah is also involved in other campus activities and in the community. She helped start an Olympic Weightlifting Club with Dr. Knott. The club is still developing, but it is something Hannah would like to see through. Hannah is also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, volunteers at the Women’s Center in downtown Brevard, and sings in the church choir at Calvary Baptist Church. The freshman is already a work study for the Communications Department, running the weekly “Women Crush Wednesday’s” and “Man Crush Monday’s” seen on the BC News Facebook Page.

How does Hannah manage to be involved in so much and still keep up with her school work? Staying in constant communication with all of the people she is interacting with on a daily basis. Hannah said she is always one to be involved with everything, so it has never felt like a burden to be doing so much. She enjoys people and wants to be around them as much as possible. She stays in contact with her professors to make sure she is keeping up with school on days she might miss class due to an athletic or music event. She also writes out her schedule to know exactly what she will be doing each day of the week.

With being involved in so much on campus, Hannah has had several memorable moments during her freshman year. She had the opportunity to attend SROW, a leadership conference in Orlando. The conference was an amazing experience as the group that went from Brevard did not know each other very well until the trip. When they arrived at the conference, there were many bigger Division I and Division II schools. The group of Brevard students connected well with one another throughout the conference as they learned what other schools were doing and came back to campus with new ideas for leadership training. During honors and awards week, Hannah was honored with the Rising Star Award from Campus life. The honor came as a surprise to Hannah, as she was not used to receiving awards.

Hannah also talked about winning her first tennis match as a memorable moment. She had just joined the team and was still learning her role. She won both her doubles and singles matches that day and the team flooded the court to congratulate her on her first wins.

After accomplishing so much her freshman year, Hannah is not slowing down during her remaining time at Brevard. She would like to implement more leadership training and student leadership opportunities around campus after learning so much at the conference in Orlando. She would also like to continue exceeding at sports, being the best athlete, she can be. Hannah would also like to be more involved in FCA and growing the Christian community around the campus of Brevard, along with getting to know more people on campus. And like every college student, Hannah would like to avoid being broke during her college years.

Hannah plans on declaring a double major in Exercise Science and Music, with the ideal goal of one day opening a gym. The gym would be available for all ages and have personal training, nutrition, and a café connected to the gym. After leaving Brevard Hannah would like to travel on mission trips, specifically to New Zealand and Thailand as well as become a personal trainer. The future is bright for this Spotlight Tornado!

BRITTAN MILLER

Brittan Miller, Softball Senior

Meet Brittan Miller, a senior softball player from James Island, South Carolina. Brittan is in the midst of her final season of leading the Tornado Softball program in addition to completing her degree in Criminal Justice. Brittan’s outstanding leadership has made her March’s Tornado Spotlight.

Brittan first learned about Brevard College after attending a college prospect camp where she was introduced to the coach. After doing some research on the school, she discovered it was similar in size to her high school, which fit her personality well. Additionally, the beautiful landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains gave her a change in scenery from her hometown on the coast.

As a Criminal Justice major, Brittan serves as the Sargent at Arms in Alpha Phi Sigma, a Criminal Justice Honors Society. In this role, Brittan helps to organize and lead the meetings for the honor society. In this role, Brittan helps to run the meetings for the club. Recently, Brittan traveled to New Orleans with other members of Brevard’s Alpha Phi Sigma to attend the annual National Conference. At the conference, the students were able to walk through crime scenes, listen to keynote speakers, and explore the city of New Orleans in their downtime.

Dr. Tim Powers, a Criminal Justice professor and Brittan’s advisor, has had a major impact on her experience at Brevard. Dr. Powers has provided her with guidance on her undergraduate course work as well as her decision to pursue a master’s degree upon graduation. Brittan is very grateful for the continuous support that Dr. Powers has provided her throughout her time at Brevard. Upon graduation, Brittan will pursue a Master’s in Public Administration with an emphasis in Emergency Management from St. Leo University.

Brittan is wrapping up her final year on the Brevard College Softball Team and is proud of how the team has grown throughout her four years. Although the team may have faced some challenges, she is proud to have the Tornado jersey all four years. When she reflects on her four years, she is most proud of how she has stepped into a leadership role during her junior and senior seasons. Brittan has strived to be a mentor to the underclassman because she felt this was something the team had been lacking. Brittan along, with the other upperclassmen, wanted to change the team’s dynamic, and have done so in a positive way.

The senior also credits her Head Coach, Bob Lowe, for turning the softball program around. Coach Lowe arrived on campus during Brittan’s sophomore year and she credits him as acting as both a mentor and father figure when it comes to her experience at Brevard. Coach Lowe serves not only as Brittan's softball coach, but is also a licensed attorney. He has taught a few of Brittan's Criminal Justice classes. One of her favorite memories of her head coach is their recent bus ride to their spring break tournament in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina a few weeks ago.

Although Brittan’s junior season of softball did not turn out as the team hoped, many of her favorite memories occurred during the year. The team rallied for one final game against Montreat last season to celebrate the senior class. After a difficult season, the team attended a Braves game in their brand new SunTrust stadium. It was a good way to bond as a team and share one more memory with the seniors. Brittan was also named the team’s Defensive Player of the Year, after learning a completely new position in the middle of the season.

When asked why she loves Brevard, Brittan spoke of how Brevard College and community work closely together, specifically with the Criminal Justice Department. The Sherriff’s office and the police department can be seen on campus numerous times throughout the year, helping students prepare for a future career in law enforcement. Brittan also spoke about the class she took that was taught by the Chief of Police and the exercise they did in order to experience how driving under the influence can impair a driver.

With graduation only a few weeks away, Brittan is beginning to plan for her next steps in her Criminal Justice Career. Prior to beginning her master’s program, Brittan will spend her summer interning with an emergency management organization in Charleston, South Carolina.

Brevard College will miss Brittan’s leadership and dedication as a Tornado, but the future looks bright for this Spotlight Tornado!

michal phillips

Michal Phillips - February's NadoInsider Spotlight Tornado

Meet Michal Phillips, a three-sport athlete and Theater major from Winston Salem, N.C While currently in the midst of two sport seasons –Track and Field and Cheer and Dance - Phillips is also starring as the lead role in the Brevard College Theatre production of “Brother Wolf.” Phillips is a first-year student at Brevard College and already making a major impact across campus, making him our NadoInsider Spotlight Tornado for the month of February.

While in high school, Michal was a four-sport athlete participating in football, basketball, track, and cheer. For football, he was ranked 12th in the state of North Carolina at the running back position and named to the All-Conference and All-State Teams. In track, he participated in the regionals and Junior Olympics, and in basketball, he was named the Defensive Player of the Year three times.

Michal learned about Brevard College after an admissions counselor visited his high school. From there, he became interested in the football program and the theater department, eventually being awarded a theater scholarship. Michal was officially accepted into Brevard College during the first week of pre-season. He moved in immediately, hit the ground running and has not stopped yet.

Time management has been the most difficult part of the transition from high school to college for Michal. Although he was very involved in high school, the amount of work came as a surprise. Michal has been fortunate enough to receive support from Shirley Arnold, the Associate Dean for Student Success, to help him manage his time between classes, practices, games, theater, and sleep. Even with his hectic schedule, Michal finished his first semester of college with a 3.2 GPA and was one of five freshmen on the football team to have higher than a 3.0. He was also named to the AB honor roll for the fall semester.

During his freshman football season, Michal saw time in six games. He joined the cheer and dance team this winter and is currently preparing for spring competition. Michal discovered his skill and appreciation for cheerleading through his mom, a head coach at his high school. Michal credits Brevard Head Coach, Molly Penland for helping perfect more technical skills as well as teaching him how to do a round off to a back-hand spring. Additionally, Michal traveled with the track team to the Southern Indoor Invitational last week. He finished ninth in the triple jump, leaping 11.50 meters and gained an 11th place finish in the long jump, soaring 5.55m.

Michal is a Theater major with a minor in Criminal Justice. During the fall, he played a minor role in theater productions, serving on the Tech Team. This spring, Michal is taking on the lead role of Grin Dell in the production of “Brother Wolf” set to debut Feb. 22-25.

With much of his time devoted to sports and theater, Michal still finds time to be involved in other areas of campus. He has recently joined the Campus Activities Board, participates in intramurals, and shows off his talent of impressions at open mic nights. Michal placed third at the BC Talent Show in November for his character impersonation skills. Michal also has plans to volunteer with the 4H program at Brevard Elementary School in a few weeks, and was a part of the successful “Trick or Treat for Cans” project by the Brevard College Student-Athlete Advisory Committee in October.

The future is looking bright for Michal Phillips. In his next three years at Brevard, he plans to have more interaction with students on campus and would like to start gaining momentum for larger student sections at home sporting events. With a 99.5% rate of Brevard College Theater students receiving a job upon graduation, Michal is setting his sights on New York or Las Vegas. His goal is to become a television actor and reside in either city. Michal is already showing Michal is already showing star power in his first year at Brevard, so be on the lookout in the next few years for Michal Phillips on your TV screen!

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

JaMarquis Johnson

JaMarquis Johnson hit the game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in last Thursday’s thriller against Maryville. Maryville currently stands at the top of the West Division Standing for the USA South Conference and the loss against Brevard was only their fourth loss of the season. Although only a sophomore, Johnson has already made a huge impact on the Brevard College Men’s Basketball program, making him this month’s NadoInsider’s Spotlight Tornado.

Johnson grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, but attended high school in Florida. One of his favorite basketball memories was winning the district championship in high school. He was also named Best Offensive Player on his high school team.

When deciding on a college to attend, JaMarquis Johnson fell in love with the environment of Brevard. He chose Brevard because he believed the school and basketball program would help him stay focused and out of trouble. Coach Burgess and Coach Johnson also played a vital role in JaMarquis’ decision to attend Brevard. Although he has not chosen a major yet, the sophomore is minoring in Business and Communications.

During his freshman season, Johnson was named an AstroTurf Men’s Basketball Player of the week for the South Atlantic Conference. The honor came after helping lead the Tornados to an overtime win against North Greenville where he finished with a career-high 23 points, shooting 8-12 from the field and knocking down, both a game and season-high, six three-point baskets.

JaMarquis Johnson proved clutch again this season against Maryville where he scored the game-winning 3-point shot from the left wing with 3.9 seconds remaining in the game to give Brevard the 79-78 win. Johnson knew the ball was supposed to be in his hands, as the basket came after a timeout, where Coach Burgess drew up a play to set him up for a game-winning shot.

The Tornados would be faced with a similar situation just three days later, as they found themselves trailing North Carolina Wesleyan in the final seconds of the game. This time, fellow sophomore Levi Lamb would hit the game-winning three-point shot at the buzzer. The same play had been drawn up from the Maryville game to get the ball into Johnson’s hands, but the ball landed into Lamb’s instead and the Tornados were able to seal the win.

Outside of basketball, JaMarquis has volunteered with various organizations within the Brevard Community. He has helped at youth events hosted by Brevard Community Church as well as spending time during his Christmas break at The Boys and Girls club to help with a toy drive. Johnson also serves as a student worker for the athletics department, assisting with game operations for various sports. He enjoys working with athletics because he is able to be around something he loves. After graduating Brevard, JaMarquis wants to pursue a career as a sports’ analyst for ESPN.

Although only a sophomore, JaMarquis Johnson is already planning for the future. To finish out his time at Brevard, Johnson plans to be more involved with the community. He also wants to become a better student at Brevard, continuing to focus on academics and raise his GPA and raising his GPA. Johnson will continue to perfect his basketball game as well, as he would like to continue playing after college.

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

KELSIE RHYNE

Meet Kelsie Rhyne a two-sport athlete and a Health Science Major at Brevard College. Kelsie’s hard work and dedication to her sport has earned her a spot at Campbell University School of Medicine next year. Kelsie is also making the most of her senior year on the basketball court making her this month’s NadoInsider Spotlight Tornado.

Kelsie is a senior from Taylorsville, N.C. She chose to come to Brevard because it gave her the opportunity to play both basketball and golf while being a Health Science Major. Kelsie was also drawn to the small class sizes that Brevard offers, knowing that attending a larger school would not be the best fit.

Being a Health Science major is a daunting task on its own, but participating in two sports is also a challenge most people would choose not to tackle. Golf is played both in the fall and the spring, while basketball takes up the winter months. There is some overlap between the sports, but Kelsie has learned how to manage her time between classes, practices and games throughout her four years. She enjoys the change of pace between the two sports. While golf is considered a team sport in scoring, it is often the course versus the individual during the match. The sport requires a considerable amount of mental focus due to the slower pace. Kelsie enjoys the mental break that comes with basketball. The game involves less thinking and more instinct; and teammates to help out if in a jam. There is also a vast difference in the time of play for each sport. A normal basketball game takes about an hour and a half to play, while a round of 18-holes of golf can take five hours repeated over a three-day span for a tournament.

How is Kelsie able to succeed with this crazy schedule? Time management skills. Kelsie is intentional about creating lists and keeping an agenda; she has also learned to schedule classes in a manner that is manageable. She does sometimes feel pulled between two sports but has learned to communicate with her coaches and teammates about any missed practices. Golf is the perfect sport for a dual sports athlete because most practices can be completed on an individual basis. Kelsie is able to schedule golf practice around class and basketball practice.

During her junior season of basketball, Kelsie faced a setback, tearing her ACL during a game. The injury proved to be the hardest thing she has faced during her athletic career. Kelsie had never had an injury that kept her from playing. She was also in the midst of one of her more difficult semesters, while also beginning to study for the MCAT. In order to stay on track, Kelsie had ACL surgery on a Thursday and returned to class the following Monday. She had to learn to use crutches and realized how much she took for granted walking. Another challenge she faced was learning to ask people for help for tasks she could usually do on her own.

Now on the other side of the injury, Kelsie believes the setback has made her a stronger player and person. Kelsie went from playing the entire game to having to sit on the sidelines and cheer for her team. She was unable to participate in the spring golf season last year but attended the conference tournament. Her role as a teammate evolved with the goal of supporting her teammates becoming most important. On the golf course, Kelsie assisted her teammates in various ways such as putt shot selection and keeping them focused.Through this new outlook, she is able to think one step ahead during games.

When asked about her favorite memory playing each sport, Kelsie described her first game back this season from her injury. She was nervous about stepping onto the court again. She only had one-week of contact practice with her teammates and was a little apprehensive about the possibility of a re-injury. However, the game turned out to be a great success. Kelsie enjoyed being back on the court with the returners and finally being able to play with the new players. Kelsie described the team dynamic this year as “a great group of girls that loves and supports one another.” She believes it is the best possible senior year both on and off the court.

Her favorite golf memory is watching how the program has grown throughout her four years. When she was a freshman, she was the only member of the team. Now, Brevard is able to take team scores at matches. She also enjoys having teammates who can support one another through the mental challenges that golf can create.

Kelsie’s athletic success carries over to the classroom. She has been on the Dean’s list every semester at Brevard and carried the highest Health Science GPA for the past two years. She is a member of Tri-Beta, a Biology honors society that is awarded to students with at least a B average after at least three semesters of courses in biological science. Kelsie also tutors for biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry in the ELC and is a teacher’s assistant for biology courses. She is also a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Along with her studies at Brevard, Kelsie also had to prepare for her MCAT in order to be accepted into medical school. She began studying the summer going into her junior year and took the exam last May.

Kelsie’s persistence in her studies paid off as she has been accepted into the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine. Osteopathic Medicine concentrates on the patient as a whole rather than just treating the symptoms. The program will consist of two years of coursework and then two years of clinical work. Following clinicals, Kelsie will have to complete four years of residency. She has already gained some experience by shadowing Dr. Loretta Stombaugh, a local doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. She also volunteered at the Brevard Cancer and Infusion Center last spring where she was able to help out with administering IV's as well as patient care for individuals who were alone on their treatment visits. She is looking to return to the Cancer and Infusion Center this spring.

After graduation, Kelsie will go straight to medical school with the hopes of one day opening her own primary care practice in an underserved area. She grew up loving her doctor and would like to work in a place that there is a direct need for doctors. She may be wrapping up her athletic career in the spring, but the sky is the limit for her future medical dreams.

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

hannah elmore

Senior Hannah Elmore just capped off a successful career as a member of the Brevard College Volleyball Team. Hannah has not only been an integral part of the volleyball team, but also around campus and in the community making her the Spotlight Tornado for the month of November.

Hannah fell in love with Brevard when she stepped onto campus for the first time. She was being recruited to play volleyball and on her visit she was able to talk one-on-one with a professor. She enjoyed the atmosphere of the school and the area around Brevard, making Brevard College an easy choice.

Hannah experienced a successful volleyball career growing up in her hometown of Salisbury, N.C. During both her junior and senior year of high school, her team won the regional championship and finished runner-up for state. Her favorite memories during this time were being able to play with lifelong friends, and being able to have fun with the sport.

During her four years, Hannah played many roles as a member of the volleyball team. Each year brought a new position and role for her on the team. After her freshman year, Hannah did not enjoy the game as much as she had in high school. However, with the arrival of a new head coach Anna Grant, Hannah began to find her passion for the game. Her sophomore year she came off the bench and severed as a supportive role for her team. During her junior year, Hannah switched positions to the right side, a position she was not familiar with. Despite learning a new position, Hannah tallied 200 kills and 749 attacks.

Hannah’s senior season proved to be her best season, moving back to her normal position as an outside hitter. She led the team with 239 kills and a kills/set average of 3.32 which was the third highest average in the conference. On the defensive side, Hannah tallied 27 blocks and 67 digs. She was also named to the USA South All-Sportsmanship Team for Volleyball.

Off the court, Hannah shines in the classroom as well. She is a Mathematics Major with Minors in both Business and Leadership. She has been named to the Dean’s List every semester. She was recently accepted into the ODK Honors Society. In order to be a candidate for ODK a student must have exceptional grades, and be recommended by a professor. Hannah is also a member of both the Math Club and the Business Club at Brevard College.

Hannah is also heavily involved with the community of Brevard. She has coached the Mountain Elite Volleyball Club for the past two years. The team competes January through March. Hannah sacrifices her weekends to travel with the team throughout the spring. Through this experience she has been able to get to know people in the community.

This fall semester, Hannah has completed an internship with Nacole Potts in the Education Learning Center. Hannah helped with the transition from the AEC located in Coltrane to the ELC now located in the library. Hannah also helped in organizing two events, Plan your Future and Connect to Your Future Athletics Panel, working with both Nacole Potts and Shirley Arnold. The Athletics Panel was a new event offered at Brevard and Hannah was happy with how helpful and insightful the event turned out to be. During Plan Your Future Day, Hannah helped with the promotion of the event and the execution of the theme surrounding the event, “Get Your Ducks in a Row.” She came up with the game Fishing for Ducks, and created the flyers for the event. Hannah also runs the twitter page for the ELC, letting students know when any job or internships become available.

Hannah has enjoyed her time at Brevard. Her favorite thing about college is the people. During her time, She has met life-long friends and built meaningful relationships with her professors during her time here. Since Hannah is involved with many activities off-campus, Brevard has become more of a home rather than a place she goes to school. Hannah does not have any specific plans after graduation, but is looking for an internship in finance, accounting, or actuarial science.

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

carson beckett

Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Champion

Meet Carson Beckett, a sophomore on the cycling team. Although only a sophomore in college, Carson has traveled around the world with cycling. His impressive fall season makes Carson the spotlight Tornado for this month, as the Brevard College Cycling Team prepares for the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals next weekend.

Carson grew up in a small southern town, known as Benton, Kentucky. Riding was not big in the area, but there were a few trails that he could practice his riding. Carson and his dad started a cycling team at his high school to teach more people about the sport. Towards the end high school, Carson began traveling with his pro team to California and Europe gaining valuable experience.

A former Brevard College Cyclist, Cypress Gorry, introduced Carson to Brevard College. The two were on the same cycling team. Carson enjoyed the area and all the trails that Western, North Carolina has to offer. Brevard’s cycling team is one of the best teams in the country as well, winning multiple national titles. Carson has chosen to major in Exercise Science at Brevard.

During his freshman season, Carson helped lead Brevard to its first Division I USA Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championship. He finished fourth in the Men’s Omnium. Beckett also helped the team to capture a National Title in Cyclocross with a first-place finish in the team omnium relay along with Scott McGill, Hannah Arensman, and Allison Arensman.

During his time training with his professional team, Carson focuses on Mountain Bike racing, training from April to September as a member of the Bear Development Team. When he returns to campus in the fall he transitions to the collegiate racing which he races in all three disciplines, mountain bike, cyclocross, and road. The change to collegiate racing is a more relaxed and team-based atmosphere.

Carson has not let up during his sophomore season on the trail or on campus. Carson is the secretary of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of FCA. He was named to the Dean’s List during his freshman year. Last week at the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championship, he captured the first-place honor for all the points accumulated from race results throughout the season. During the race, he captured two-second place finishes in the cross country and short track events. Next week, the Brevard College Cycling Team will travel to Missoula, Montana to defend their National Title at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Nationals.

Although only a sophomore, Carson is planning for his future. He would like to continue his professional career in cycling and utilize his exercise science degree. He would like to stay in the Brevard area and either work with Carmichael Training Systems or help coach a team. His favorite memory from cycling is traveling to different parts of the world. Cycling has opened a door to travel and experience different cultures outside of his small hometown. While Carson enjoys these experiences, he also enjoys going home to visit friends and family.

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

sydney alencewicz

Sydney Alencewicz: Psychology major, Business minor, women’s soccer team captain, SAAC representative, Honor’s Student, adventurer.

Sydney is creating change around the Brevard Campus during her senior year, making her the spotlight Tornado. After being challenged by professor Cam Austin to find something to fix on campus, Sydney is putting her recycling project to use across the BC athletic department. Sydney has a passion for recycling and noticed that only a few buildings on campus had recycling bins placed in them. After speaking with a few environmental science professors, she was told that the change would have to “come from within.” Being a student-athlete and an athletic work study, Sydney knew a large amount of water bottles were used by athletes, coaches, and fans during the school year. Her idea was to set up recycling bins at all the athletic facilities and in all the locker rooms.

Since roughly half of the BC student population is athletes, Sydney knew that her project could have a big impact across the campus. She proposed her idea to Juan Mascaro, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Director of Athletics and Jamie Atkinson, Assistant A.D. for Compliance and Academic Services and Senior Women’s Administrator in April. Upon returning to campus in the fall, Sydney went to work finding recycling bins and spreading the word about her project. She spoke with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Athletic Staff, both groups were eager to help see the project through. Now, whenever anyone walks by an athletic facility on campus they will find a recycling bin.

Sydney came to Brevard from Ocoee, Florida. She chose Brevard because she wanted to attend a school outside of Florida and continue playing soccer. She found out about Brevard through a recruiting website. Her favorite soccer memory was scoring her first collegiate goal against Erskine. The goal came in the 40th minute of the contest, when she intercepted a pass, dribbled down the field and took a shot from thirty yards out. The ball sailed over the keeper’s head for the first goal of the game. The Tornados ended up winning the game 3-2. Sydney is not only involved in soccer, but a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC), a student worker for compliance and game day operations, and serves as the host at basketball games for visiting teams and officials. Sydney joined BC Green this year which takes on environmental initiatives across campus and in the community.

Not only is Sydney and excellent athlete, she pursues excellence in the classroom as well. She has been named to the Dean’s List four consecutive semesters. She was named the Exceptional Junior in the Psychology Department and was inducted into the Psi Chi Honor Society. In order to be in Psi Chi, one must have a 3.5 GPA or higher. This semester, Sydney is doing an internship at Free Rein Center for Therapeutic Riding and Education. The internship allows her to use both her psychology major, working with children with disabilities and also her business minor as she is learning some of the business aspects of a non-profit organization.

Sydney went on a new adventure this summer, as she took part in Voice of the Rivers. Voice of the Rivers is a 17-day kayaking trip from source-to-sea that has taken place since 1997. Students and professors travel through rivers, lakes, and seas and learn about the history and environmental issues of the surrounding areas. This was Sydney’s first time ever camping. She chose to go on the trip after hearing about the program her freshman year and then a recommendation from a friend. She received a full scholarship for the trip along with academic credits. The experience came with challenges, such as going four days without showering and paddling through storms. The group also paddled 31 miles one day. This was an experience that Sydney would have never experienced as a Psychology major and Business minor and was able to get to know students that she had not met prior to the trip.

Sydney will graduate from Brevard in May. She is not sure of her plans yet but eventually wants to attend graduate school.

"take college a day at a time, it goes by so fast!"

Check back to read more about our next spotlight Tornado!

Omar El Diraoui

“The Beast from the Middle East”

Former Brevard College Men’s Basketball Forward, Omar El Diraoui wrapped up his collegiate career a few weeks ago upon graduation. However, Omar plans to return to the hardwood, taking his talents to the Palestine National Team and pursue a dream as a professional basketball player.

Originally from Beirut, Lebanon, Omar came to the United States when he was ten years old to live in Texas. He spent his freshman year of college playing at John Wood Community College in Illinois before transferring to Malcolm X College his sophomore year. Omar made his way to Brevard for his final two years of school and made an impact both on and off the court at Brevard College.

During his first season with the Tornados, Omar appeared in all 28 games with 10 starts, shooting a team-best 78.9 percent from the free-throw line. This season, he started all but one game, averaging 7.8 points per game. The 6-7 forward finished 10th in the conference in blocked shots, averaging one per game for a total of 28. Omar’s favorite memory was playing against Division I schools and experiencing the atmosphere they brought. His favorite being playing against Auburn in an exhibition game to kick off the 2015-16 season.

Omar was not just a beast on the court, but in the classroom as well. He graduated with a GPA of 3.34 and a Bachelor's degree in Business and a minor in Math. Omar was a member of ODK, a National Leadership Society, as well as being involved in several clubs around campus, including the Mathematics Club, Dimensions, and the International Club. Omar was also Vice-President of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He completed his internship with Transylvania County as a planning intern. His projects included working on the 2025 Plan to make the community better as well as the Watch for Me N.C., assisting with a communications draft.

The Lebanon native said the beautiful mountains of Western Carolina reminded him of his home country. Omar not only fell in love with Brevard College during his two years, but also came to love the town, the nature, the people, and the community.

After graduation, Omar moved to Texas to train for a career as a professional basketball player. Omar has signed with a FIBA agent, of the International Basketball Association to begin a professional basketball career in the Middle East/Asia region.

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SAVANNAH COX

Strong, ambitious, hard working, creative, determined, tenacious are all words that describe this spotlight Tornado. Her passion for Brevard College or her "Home away from Home' has been shown through her efforts on and off the court.

Originating from Kannapolis, North Carolina, Savannah has made her mark in Brevard as a Tornado. She has been an impact player all four years for the women's volleyball team. Her freshman year, she started all but three sets. Her sophomore and junior season, Savannah played in all 29 matches. She moved into 10th on Brevard's NCAA-era career list with eight kills vs. Wingate in the SAC Championship Nov. 20, 2015, giving her 433 in her career. Her senior year, she broke the school record with 188 blocks and 697 kills which was 3rd all time. Her impressive performance on the court is matched by her achievement in the classroom. Savannah exemplifies what it takes to be an exceptional student- athlete.

Savannah is a psychology major that aspires to pursue a career in coaching, grief counseling, or social work. Prior to graduation she hopes to become a volleyball graduate assistant while earning a master's degree in social work and counseling. She has been exceedingly involved with clubs, committees, and programs during her time at Brevard College. This year alone she has received prestigious awards from Alpha Chi, ODK, and Psy Chi Honor Society. Her honors also include: Outstanding Student of Psychology, recipient of the Who's Who Award and Senior Student Leadership Award.

Savannah is a member of IWIL (Institute for Women in Leadership). A program that has assisted her development as a confident, passionate, well- rounded, and service - oriented leader. In her first two years, Savannah mentored 6th grade girls, volunteered to assist the homeless in Atlanta, Ga, built a wheelchair ramp, and also helped in raising awareness for suicide prevention. Savannah is now in charge of marketing the program as well as supporting new members.

You can often find Savannah behind a camera lens at athletic matches. She assists in capturing many of the important events happening all over the community for the communications department. The photos taken by Savannah are used in many of the Brevard College Athletic's press releases. Photography also led to her most rewarding experience as a student, Dear Brevard.

"Dear Brevard was my final project for my photography class. We had free reign as to what type of subjects or concepts we wanted to shoot." said Cox. "The purpose of my project was to give the students and staff of Brevard the chance to share their story or a message they want to send to the world, through words and a photo."

DEAR BREVARD,

Dear Brevard Project. Photos courtesy of Savannah Cox

"Savannah is a perfect example of what we hope to see in every student," says Elizabeth Harrison, director of communications and media relations at BC. "She truly embodies the BC mission, shows commitment in her classes and work-study responsibilities, and she is incredibly compassionate. Savannah is also one of the most determined and tenacious people I've ever met."

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ALEX PERRI: English major, soccer player, cyclist, writer, explorer, musician, extraordinary student-athlete.

The commitment and outstanding work of Alex Perri in creating a digital content strategy for Brevard College for her senior project makes her a spotlight Tornado.

What makes Perri an outstanding student-athlete is her hard work to benefit Brevard College.

"My senior project is working with the Office of Communications to develop a digital content strategy for Brevard College," said Perri. "The best definition I have found for that is figuring out a way to standardize and optimize the digital content for all of the departments at the college and ways to create and publish it. The project involves coordinating with different administration staff members and also educating myself about the world of digital content."

She is in process of creating style guidelines, such as brand message, style, tone, and visual standards in order to take a standardized approach to communications.

The use of a digital content strategy created by Perri will be an extremely useful marketing tool for all departments of Brevard College.

Prior to attending BC, Alex graduated from Gulf Coast High School in Naples, Florida. She is an English major with an emphasis in journalism and a minor in Spanish. Alex is a writer for the school newspaper, The Clarion. She is also a four-year letter winner for the women's soccer team. Alex competed as a defender, giving strength to the Tornados' back line. Having a blast at practice is her favorite experience as an athlete. Perri has recently taken an interest in road cycling as well as mountain biking. This will be her first season riding for BC Cycling team.

Her most rewarding experience as a student was her trip abroad to Costa Rica her sophomore year with the Spanish department. She spent three months living in a home stay with Costa Rican host parents in San Jose. She spent her weekdays studying Spanish at the Costa Rican Language Academy, and the weekends traveling around the country and nearby Panama. Her adventures included zip lining, rafting, cliff jumping, and exploring volcanoes and rain forests.

She also got to soak in geothermal hot springs at a resort and see sloths and monkeys at Manuel Antonio National park.

Upon graduation, Perri aspires to join the Peace Corps, travel, and become a journalist for a newspaper. She is most thankful for her team and the friendships she has made in her time with the Tornados.

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