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 May/June 2007 • NIRSA news and information
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Scholarship winners: Where are they now?

One in a series of updates on past NIRSA Foundation Scholarship winners

The NIRSA Foundation is committed to educational and scholarly projects that enhance leadership development within campus programs. Each year the NIRSA Foundation offers student and professional scholarships so that recipients can attend various NIRSA educational programs.

This year, the NIRSA Foundation awarded scholarships to 17 students and 3 professionals. Since 1994, the Foundation has awarded 201 scholarships totaling more than $50,000 to enhance the professional and career aspirations of our Student and Professional Members.

From time to time, the Foundation Board will track some of our scholarship recipients to get an idea of how their lives and careers have turned out.

This month, we caught up with Debbie Jones. Debbie received a 2006 NIRSA Foundation Scholarship while a graduate assistant at Montclair State University and the Region I Student Representative.

Brian Fetky

Debbie Jones
2006 Foundation Scholarship Recipient

NIRSA Foundation: What are you doing now?

Debbie: I am currently the Fitness and Wellness Coordinator for the Department of Campus Recreation at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA) in Nacogdoches, Texas. I have been in this position since June of 2006.

NIRSA Foundation: What NIRSA activity or event did you use your scholarship to attend? *

Debbie: I used the scholarship to attend the Annual Conference in Louisville (2006). This was the conference that I interviewed for what would now be my current position at SFA.

* In general, Student Scholarships are used to cover the cost of registration fees for the NIRSA Annual Conference & Recreational Sports Exposition. Certain NIRSA Foundation Scholarships and Endowed Scholarships allow the scholarships to be used at other NIRSA educational events.

NIRSA Foundation: What was your career track from the time you received the scholarship to now?

Debbie: I have been full time at SFA. Since then I have supervised 2 graduate assistants, purchased $600,000 of equipment to furnish a 12,000 square foot weight room and cardio area and been a participant at the Region IV Conference, Region IV Lead On and TexFit Workshop.

NIRSA Foundation: Would you have been able to attend the Louisville conference without the foundation scholarship?

Debbie: Yes, I would have. However, the scholarship helped me significantly and allowed me to concentrate on my job search and finalizing my duties as Region I Student Representative at the conference.

NIRSA Foundation: What was your favorite experience from Louisville that you would like to share?

Debbie: My favorite experience was when my supervisor, Keith Fonseca, presented me with a recognition award from Region I for the work that I had done over the past year. I was much honored to know how others felt and that they appreciated the time and effort put forth. I knew I was helping those immediately around me, but to realize that I helped a whole region was truly amazing.

NIRSA Foundation: Winning a scholarship means different things to different recipients. What did your scholarship mean to you and why? Do you feel it is had a significant impact on your professional development? Do you believe that your foundation scholarship helped further your career?

Debbie: Being awarded the scholarship was a great incentive for me. It gives you a sense of pride and responsibility to be more involved in our association and assist others with the same fortune that you were given.

NIRSA Foundation: Any advice for our current students and future professionals?

Debbie: If I could leave any advice for our current members it would have to be the following quote: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

NIRSA Foundation: What is on the horizon for you?

Debbie: I plan to continue my career within Campus Recreation and educate myself with the goal to become a Director of a mid-sized university. I plan to settle in as a young NIRSA professional and eventually plan to stand for a position as State Director or Regional Vice President. In the mean time, I wish to enjoy my current opportunity at SFA with a great staff and brand new facility.

Check back with each issue of the NIRSA Know to see what some of our former scholarship recipients are doing. We would like to hear from our former recipients as well. Please contact Bill Crockett and let him know where you are and what you are doing. A future NIRSA Know will have an updated matrix of our recipients.

In addition to the scholarships the NIRSA Foundation awards, the Foundation supports the Career Opportunities Center at the Annual Conference, sponsors National Recreational Sports & Fitness Day, and publishes the Recreational Sports Journal. Please support the NIRSA Foundation and our profession.
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