May 17, 2005
INDIANAPOLIS (from the NCAA) - More than 300 NCAA student-athletes tabbed as current or future leaders on their college campuses, including UCLA junior pole vaulter Jacqueline Nguyen, will meet May 29-June 2, at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida to discuss key issues in intercollegiate athletics and enhance their leadership skills at the ninth annual NCAA Leadership Conference.
Nguyen, who is redshirting this season in outdoor track, is one of UCLA's most honored student-athletes. This spring she was nominated for/and named an Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar (track & field first-team/3.70gpa/physiological science major) and in 2004, Nguyen earned second-team Academic All-Pac-10. Last spring in outdoor track & field, she helped lead the UCLA women's team to the NCAA team championship, earning All-American honors in the pole vault (5th-place, 13-5.25, No. 4 in UCLA history). In indoor track & field last winter, Nguyen vaulted an indoor best 13-4.50 (NCAA provisional qualifier).
The 2005 NCAA Leadership Conference provides student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that may affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. The NCAA Leadership Conference also promotes better communication among student-athletes, coaches, administrators, faculty and communities. The five-day leadership conference consists of daily exercises and activities to help the student-athletes develop as individuals and as contributing members to a group.
The 324 student-athlete leaders were selected from a total of 1,166 nomination forms submitted by college and university officials who have NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills programs on their campuses. They represent Divisions I, II and III, and fall, winter and spring sports. Additionally, the NCAA student-athletes participating in this year's leadership conference represent 16 countries, including the United States.
During the conference, student-athletes will discuss a variety of topics such as sportsmanship; public perceptions of student-athletes; conflict resolution; student-athlete mental health; and social responsibilities. They also will discuss division-specific issues and create dialogue surrounding possible solutions to those particular issues.
A total of 52 coaches, athletics administrators and program facilitators will join the student-athletes at the conference. Also attending will be Dr. Angelo Armenti, president of California University of Pennsylvania. In addition, members representing each division's national Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will lead discussion sessions and group activities. SAAC provides feedback to NCAA committees and councils regarding student well-being issues and is considered the "voice" of the student-athlete within the NCAA governance structure.
NCAA President Myles Brand will speak to the student-athletes May 30. Keynote speakers for the week include Special Olympics athlete and motivational speaker Loretta Claiborne and "Survivor: Africa" television show winner Ethan Zohn. Claiborne will speak May 31, and Zohn will speak June 2. In addition to the speaker and discussion sessions, the student-athletes will participate in teambuilding initiative games at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex June 1.
Following the leadership conference, the student-athletes will be asked to share their experiences and topic discussions with their campus SAAC, as well as other campus leaders. The participants also are asked to develop a self-directed project that addresses an issue on their campus or in their community and to implement the project once they return to their schools.
Selection criteria for the conference include the student-athletes' demonstrated ability and strong desire to be a leader and the student-athletes' potential to benefit significantly from a leadership development experience. In order to be eligible for the conference, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing, and have athletics eligibility remaining in the following academic year. A committee reviews the nominations to determine the final selections. The committee also works to ensure that the conference includes a diverse group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.