May 22, 2008
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Kaitlin Sather, a junior captain on the women's volleyball team, has been selected by the NCAA to represent UCLA at the 2008 National Student-Athlete Development Conference. Sather will be one of over 700 student-athletes from institutions across the nation to spend three days in Lake Buena Vista, Florida discussing their experiences on campus, and enhancing their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem solving skills. Previous conference attendees from UCLA include Alfred Aboya (men's basketball), Tony Ker (men's volleyball) and Jackie Nguyen (women's track and field).
Sather has been a member of the Bruin Athletic Council for the past three years and served as an executive council member this past academic year. In winter quarter she took the lead in organizing a clothing drive for student-athletes and staff to benefit the Midnight Mission of Los Angeles. Kaitlin has represented UCLA at the Pac-10 Student-Athlete Advisory Committee Leadership Forum. Most recently, she was awarded the 2008 Bruin Leadership Award for leading by example on and off the court, her service to the community and for being a role model and outstanding ambassador of UCLA Athletics.
Formerly called the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference, the new Development Conference has doubled the number of student-athletes who attend from 350 to more than 700. The switch to a Development Conference is linked to the NCAA core purpose that the educational experience of student-athletes is paramount. The conference is structured to enhance the skill set and knowledge base of student-athletes, and this year's curriculum will give the student-athletes more of a voice during the event.
The conference will be conducted in two sessions, the first May 25-27, with the second scheduled for May 27-29. Student-athletes from the America-Israel Friendship League will also participate in the activities at this year's conference. Over the past 12 years, the conference has hosted more than 3,500 student-athletes and trained more than 300 athletic facilitators.
"The purpose of the 2008 National Student-Athlete Development Conference is to help the student-athletes find their voice in order to shape their future, make a commitment to lead on campus and in the community, strengthen the voice of the conference and national Student Athlete Advisory Committee and provide a process to develop a network with other student-athletes who are motivated to create significant, dramatic and positive change," said Robert Vowels, vice-president of education services at the NCAA.
"The facilitators and SAAC representatives also play a key role in pushing the student-athletes toward having a successful conference. With the new focus of the Development Conference, we'll also place more emphasis on enhancing the leadership skills of the student-athletes which not only helps them in their academic and athletic setting, but also better prepares them for life experiences after they graduate," said Vowels.
Student-athletes will discuss a variety of topics next week, such as game environment, gender equity, religion in sport, social networking, EKG testing, mental health and nutrition.