Academic Devleopment of Student-Athletes (ADSA) Student Academic Engagement & Success

Meet the May Mustang Champions

Southern Methodist University recognizes 4 outstanding student-athletes every month through the Mustang Champions program. Nominations come from both ADSA (Academic Development of Student-Athletes) and athletics staff. These awards celebrate student- athletes who: 

  • Strive for excellence: This could be through improvement in academics, athletics, or both. 
  • Live the S.P.I.R.I.T. of SMU Athletics: S.P.I.R.I.T. stands for the values that SMU athletics strive to uphold. S is for service (we are here for others), P is for Passion (we love what we do), I for Integrity (we do the right thing), R is for Respect (we follow the golden rule), I for Innovation (we seek a better way), and T for Teamwork (we are bound together).  
  • Champion student-athlete success initiatives:  Participation in programs or activities that support student-athlete well-being or academic achievement, like Life After Ball (LAB), SAAC, or BSAC. 

Let’s meet the 4 student-athletes that were selected in May: 

Emily Odwin (Women’s Golf): 

 Emily is a sophomore transfer student-athlete from Barbados that joined the Mustangs in January 2024. Not only did she excel in the classroom, impressing her professors with her stellar academic performance, but she also played a pivotal role in leading the SMU women’s golf team to back-to-back AAC Championships. She became the first golfer from her nation to win an American Collegiate Conference Championship. This accomplishment wasn’t her only first; Emily also holds the distinction of being the first Barbadian woman to ever compete in NCAA Division-1 golf. Her impact on the SMU team was undeniable. Throughout the season, Emily participated in all seven tournaments, showcasing her talent and contributing to a remarkable run that saw the Mustangs claim victory in four of those events. Individually, Emily’s consistency was on display as she secured four top-10 finishes.  Emily’s impressive debut season at SMU was further celebrated when she was awarded the prestigious “Newcomer of the Year” honor by SMU Athletics. 

Camryn McPhaul (Track & Field) 

Camryn, a junior Track and Field student-athlete is known for her leadership qualities. She is an active participant in SMU’s Black Student-Athlete Committee (BSAC) and she took the initiative to attend the Black Student-Athlete Summit in California this year. A significant event that empowers Black student-athletes to excel academically, professionally, and personally.  As an engineering major, her passion for the field shines brightly. This summer, she landed an internship at Parkhub, a software company based in Dallas. This is a fantastic opportunity that allows her to gain valuable experience in the engineering industry. Camryn’s leadership doesn’t stop there. Recognizing the need for support and resources for student-athletes interested in STEM fields, she has become a pioneer in establishing a STEM group specifically for SMU student-athletes. This initiative will undoubtedly pave the way for future generations of athletes to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. 

 Alex Yang (Men’s Golf):  

 Alex Yang, a driven MBA student at SMU’s Cox School of Business, landed a coveted spot at Morrison Seger Venture Capital Partners, putting his networking skills and the opportunities provided by Life After Ball (LAB) to the test. Alex exemplifies the ideal LAB student, actively seeking out ways to connect and grow professionally. His proactive approach has landed him a prime internship at a well-respected venture capital firm. This internship provides Alex with invaluable exposure to the exciting world of start-up funding and investment. 

Niv Berkovitz (Men’s Soccer):  

 Niv Berkovitz comes to the Hilltop from Israel, where he was a member of the U17 and U18 national team and participated in the Israeli cup. Niv is a sophomore currently studying finance at SMU and finished his Spring semester with a 4.0. Niv “is one of the most hard working and dedicated students I know. He never backs down from a challenge and always finds a way to make it work. He is humble, determined, and kind-hearted!” said Kelsey Smith, his academic counselor.  We are excited to see what he can accomplish during his time at SMU!  

 We’ve honored some incredible Mustang Champions this May! Be sure to tune in next month to meet four new student-athletes who are pushing their limits in the gym and the classroom, to become World Changers! 

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