April 7, 2017

Division III Week: NAC Values Lyndon's Harmon & Johnson State's Jackson

Member institutions of the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) place a high value in the overall student-athlete experience while focusing on four attributes including Sportsmanship, Community/Global Service, SAAC/Campus Leadership, and Diversity and Inclusion. The NAC will be featuring one student-athlete at all ten member institutions throughout Division III Week, April 3-9, 2017, in a series titled "NAC Values."

The college experience provides students a chance to follow their passions and to develop their potential. NCAA Division III student-athletes discover their growth while in the classroom, as well as during their participation in a competitive athletic environment. Student-athletes push themselves to excellence on the field of play and in the classroom. 

Below you will learn how Lyndon State College senior Marley Harmon (Buxton, Maine) and Johnson State College junior Rasul Jackson (Philadelphia, Pa.) embody NAC Values and the three NCAA Division III ideals, "Discover, Develop, and Dedicate." 

To view the previous NAC Values feature stories, please click HERE.

 

Name: Marley Harmon
Institution: Lyndon State College    
Major: Exercise Science
Class: Senior
Varsity Sport: Women’s Soccer and Women's Basketball
Hometown: Buxton, Maine

Name: Rasul Jackson
Institution: Johnson State College
Major: Business: Sports Management
Class: Junior
Varsity Sport: Men's Basketball and Men’s Track & Field
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pa.



What does being a Division III student-athlete mean to you
?

Harmon: Being a Division III student-athlete to me means that you have the ability to get the best of both worlds in academics and athletics. You are a student and an athlete. I take pride in having the ability to play sports in college because some people do not get the opportunity to continue their athletic careers. I have the ability to say that I have had a successful college career being a 2 sport athlete as well as being successful within my academic realm.

What is the athletic culture like at your institution, and what does being a “Hornet/Badger” mean to you?

Harmon: The athletic culture at Lyndon has been great. There is so much pride in being a Hornet. Since the school is small, the community is great, and all of the sports teams support each other at games. We all want to see one another succeed in our respective sports and future professions. The athletic community is like a family and I couldn’t ask to be a part of a better one.

Jackson: The athletic culture here focuses on team value, hard work, loyalty, and family. Our mascot here at Johnson is a Badger which represents a hardworking, energetic mammal. Being an athlete here requires those traits and that's exactly what our athletic coaches require from student athletes.


How has athletics affected your collegiate experience as a whole
?

Harmon: Athletics have impacted my collegiate experience greatly. Through athletics I was able to meet some of my best friends and learn life lessons I would not get anywhere else. Athletics have given me the opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t normally get the chance to, as well as develop skills that I can carry forward into my future career.

Jackson: Athletics have been a major part of my collegiate experience. In order to participate in athletics there has to be a good standing in the class room first. Helping me focus strong in the classroom and obtaining decent grades. It has made me into a firm believer of student first, athlete second.


How do you balance being a student and an athlete, while maintaining your grades
?

Harmon: Playing sports throughout high school taught me good time management skills which I was able to carry over into college. I find that when I am in season, I actually put more focus into my academics because I know that my sports schedule is so crazy. There is an equal level of commitment between academics and athletics.

Jackson: Being a student athlete is what drives me to maintain good grades. A great student athlete will demonstrate hard work in athletics but even higher in academics. I plan on being the best, being average is what gives me that drive to maintain but also seek to excel the ordinary.


What do you believe are the most important skills to possess when trying to excel on the “field” and in the classroom
?

Harmon: The ability to be a leader, adaptive to the environment around you, being honest, respectful, as well as dedication are all important skills to possess when trying to excel on the “field” and in the classroom. Communication between teammates and coaches as well as professors is crucial to success as a student-athlete as well as time management to complete tasks. Passion is also a skill which I feel is important because if you can’t work hard at what you love, then what can you work hard at.

Jackson: I believe the most important skill to possess is mental toughness. Maintaining a positive attitude, high self-motivation and having realistic goals will drive you to excel.

 

Which NAC Value/s do you believe that you embody most: Sportsmanship, Community/Global Service, SAAC/On campus Leadership AND/OR Diversity or Inclusion? How you exemplify NAC Values every day?

Harmon: I believe that I embody Sportsmanship, Community Service, and on campus leadership by being a part of SAAC as well as other campus groups. On campus, I have been a part of our Student Athlete Advisory Committee for the past 3 years serving on the executive board for the last 2 years as well as serving on the NAC SAAC board as secretary. I am an active member of Special Olympics on our campus where I am a coach and unified partner. I was elected captain by my teammates for both soccer and basketball this year as well as being chosen for the NAC Sportsmanship team this basketball season.

Jackson: I believe I embody sportsmanship, community service, and campus leadership. Throughout the year, I provide generous behavior with multiple sport teams as well as work in the classrooms. I have participated in a handful of community service events. Being a camp counselor and mentor for clinics as well as an orientation leader helped build me into being a great leader. I am an admission tour guide and a member of the student advisory council demonstrating leadership on campus. Each of these responsibilities play a role with one another and these are the things I value most on a daily basis. 

Are you involved on your campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)? Why do you believe the formation of this committee is important?

Harmon: Yes I have been a part of our campus SAAC for 3 years. I believe that the formation of this committee is important because it allows the student-athletes to voice their concerns and better the experience for future student-athletes. It also allows for community service opportunities and professional development.

Jackson: I am involved with numerous activities on campus but I would love to be a part of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. 

 


How are you a leader on campus and/or in the community
?

Harmon: I am the president of our campus SAAC as well as being nominated by my teammates to be a captain for both soccer and basketball. I also help coach and play as a unified partner for Special Olympics basketball hosted on the Lyndon campus. 

 

Jackson: I am an Admissions Tour guide on campus, member of the Student Advisory Council, and serve as an Orientation Leader.

 


The ultimate goal in the NAC is to create an atmosphere of respect for all participants. How have you distinguished yourself through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior
?

Harmon: I treat all players and coaches with respect. I also have participated in conference initiatives such as You Can Play, and It’s On Us over the years trying to create a safe playing environment for all participants. The sportsmanship I have demonstrated over the years was recently recognized by being named to the NAC Sportsmanship Team this basketball season.

Jackson: I have always had a good time treating others with respect. From helping an opponent up off the floor to assisting students in the classroom. Building meaningful relationship with mentors and advisers and working through conflicts with them.

 

If you have time to volunteer, which organization has been most rewarding for you to work with? Why is volunteering important to you

Harmon: I have been fortunate enough to volunteer with Special Olympics for the past 3 years and have loved every second of it. I have taken great pride in being a part of the organization through coaching as well as being a unified partner. Volunteering gives me the opportunity to give back to the community who has supported me and helped me grow and become who I am today.

Jackson: I have worked with the small fry clinic, which gives me the opportunity to work with the youth and seeing them having a good time and it brings me joy. Providing them with love and friendship that I missed out on as a child is what motivates me to be with them most.


Is there any advice you would give to your peers or aspiring collegiate student-athletes that you believe would help them benefit more from their collegiate experience
?

Harmon: Enjoy every second of the experience because it is one you will remember for the rest of your life. There are times where you need to be serious but there are also times where you can have fun. Don’t take everything so seriously but know that it will eventually come to an end. Athletics will only be there for a little while but academics will always be there so make sure you don’t lose perspective.

Jackson: I would tell them that life is what you make of it, take advantage of every opportunity while you can because time is limited. I'd ask them to really consider, how far are you willing to go to be successful. To determine if they will go the distance.


What is your greatest accomplishment thus far in your collegiate career (on and off of the “field”)
?

Harmon: Playing sports in college has been one of my biggest accomplishments. I never thought that I would have the opportunity to continue my athletic career in one sport let alone two. I was also nominated to the NAC Sportsmanship team which is a huge honor and shows how hard I have worked to be the person I am. Off the field and court, my biggest accomplishment has been being accepted to graduate school to continue my studies and obtain my Doctorate in Physical Therapy.

Jackson: My greatest accomplishment thus far off the court was pulling my grade point average up from a 2.3 to a 3.68. Being an example to students that when you strive for greatness success will be the reward. On the court, my greatest accomplishment was being a part of the best college team in the NAC 2015-2016. Even though we lost in the semifinals there will never be another team to replace that one.

Beyond your sport, what are you most passionate about?

Harmon: Beyond my sport I am passionate about helping others which is why I help out with Special Olympics as well as volunteer in the community. I enjoy applying the knowledge I have acquired over my academic career to injuries that occur in the athletic setting as well as learning more about the human body and how it functions. Having the experience of recovering from my own injuries as well as being in the rehabilitative setting has fueled my passion for helping others return from their own injuries as well as learn more about the human body. It is fascinating what an incredible machine the human body is.

Jackson: Beyond my sport I am most passionate about my grades. I take pride in understanding the material and having the grades to show for it. A 3.4 gpa and up is what I strive for because I take pride in being more than just the average student athlete.

 

What are your plans after graduation?

Harmon: I have been accepted and will be attending Husson University starting in the fall to pursue a degree as a Doctor in Physical Therapy and eventually become a physical therapist. My goal is to work in an orthopedic sports medicine setting one day.

 

Jackson: Right after graduation I plan to start my career off in admissions or somewhere involving athletics, whether it be in Vermont or somewhere miles away, I plan to get right to work to start in the real world.

 


More information on Division III Week:

For a Division III Week "Facts & Figures" document please click HERE.

Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement.

During NCAA Division III Week, every member institution and conference is encouraged to schedule at least one activity, which celebrates an aspect of the Division III student-athlete experience, from these three categories:

  • Academic accomplishment, including activities such as taking time during a game to acknowledge student-athlete academic achievement, or asking teams to select a faculty member to serve as a guest coach for a practice or competition.
  • Athletics activity, including conducting events such as a youth sports clinic or competition, or scheduling recognition of school teams’ or individuals’ athletics accomplishments during a game.
  • Community or campus outreach, such as scheduling a community-service activity during the week, or participating in an event involving a local chapter of Special Olympics as part of Division III’s partnership with that organization.
was a desire within me that I needed to fulfill.  I couldn’t imagine my life without sports, however, my education was my first priority when choosing a university.  I consider being a Division III student athlete a privilege.  Many athletes at higher levels may feel entitled to their position on a team, however, I felt that being a student athlete was a blessing that should never be taken for granted.  Being a Division III student athlete means finding a balance between athletics and academics.  I had to work just as hard off of the court as I did on the court.  Being a Division III student athlete also meant being a role model.  As an athlete, every action is viewed more closely and being aware of this made me a better athlete and individual.  Commitment to success in the classroom and on the court is an integral part of what it means to be a student athlete at the Division III level.  Being a Division III student athlete allowed me to not only blossom on the court and in the classroom, but it allowed me to grow and develop as a person as well.  

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