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! 

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

4 New Mustang Champions Announced for April

April brings another round of Mustang Champions to celebrate! Let’s learn more about our Champions this month: Preston Stone, Nyah Rose, Prather Anne Hargrove, and Jack Hoagland.

Preston Stone (FB)

Preston’s leadership extends beyond the football field. He’s emerged as a powerful voice on the SAAC executive committee, proactively tackling challenges and streamlining processes to lighten the load for fellow executives. His influence doesn’t stop there – he fosters a culture of engagement, actively motivating his teammates to become more involved with campus life and connect with the student-athlete community.

Nyah Rose (WSOC)

Nyah is in her second semester of her Freshman year and has demonstrated significant progress in her organizational skills and time management. She has really taken this semester to develop good study habits, and it is evident in the classroom. You can see the joy Nyah has in becoming a better student and athlete! Kelsey Smith (her academic counselor) had this to add; “I have loved every moment of getting to know Nyah and watching her excel in the classroom and on the field. She is a joy to work with and always bring positive energy when I see her!”

Prather Anne Hargrove (WSW)

Prather has been a consistent presence within SAAC; always looking for ways in which she can help or get involved in SMU or the community. A recent receipt of the Extra Yard for Teachers Dr. Pepper Go Teach Award; in which she earned 12,500 in scholarship money. Prather Anne is studying Educational Studies and Psychology and will graduate in Spring 2024. “I am so blessed to have received this award and scholarship,” Hargrove said. “I look forward to serving children with special needs and their families upon my graduation.”

Jack Hoagland (MSW)

Jack is striving to make efforts in the community service space. His desire to serve and encourage others to serve is commendable. His interests in SAAC and being a leader in this area has been great to see this semester. Katie Evans, Jack’s Senior Academic Counselor had this to say about Jack “He is a shining example of what it means to be a student-athlete! He excels athletically and academically at the highest level. He is a true leader and role model for his teammates and all student-athletes.”

These SMU student-athletes are shining examples of how dedication, passion, and a drive to excel can extend far beyond the playing field or pool. They are leaving their mark on the world by inspiring us all to dream big, pursue our goals with purpose, and strive to make a positive impact in our own communities. Let’s celebrate these young world-shapers, and stay tuned to see what incredible things they accomplish next!

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

Mustang Champions Announced for March 2024

SMU Athletics and the Academic Development of Student-Athletes (ADSA) have selected four Mustang Champions for the month of March! Let’s meet the four SMU Mustangs that are reaching for new heights personally and academically during this semester:

Leif Bouwman (Men’s Swim & Dive)

  • Leif isn’t just keeping his head above water in the pool – he’s also conquering the demanding world of Mechanical Engineering (Premedical/Biomedical Specialization). Despite the challenging coursework, Leif boasts a near-perfect 3.981 GPA this Spring and exemplifies dedication and perseverance.

Raelyn Roberson (Track & Field/ Cross Country)

  • Raelyn isn’t just double-majoring in Applied Physiology and Health Management (APHM) and Biological Sciences – as a senior, she’s mastered the art of being a student-athlete. Driven, resilient, and a true leader on and off the track, Raelyn embodies what it means to excel in academics and athletics. As president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), she’s a champion for her fellow athletes, using her voice to make a positive impact across the entire campus. Want to learn more about the amazing work SAAC does? Check them out here! SMU SAAC

Kobe Wilson – (Football)

  • Kobe Wilson isn’t just a standout on the field – he’s a champion for his fellow student-athletes and the Dallas community. Over the past few months, Kobe has become an active member for the Black Student-Athlete Advisory Council (BSAAC). He’s not just attending meetings, he’s actively spreading the word about BSAAC’s mission and inspiring others to join.  He’s a dedicated volunteer, actively participating in DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging) events and making a positive difference in Dallas. Kobe is also taking full advantage of the Life After Ball (LAB) program, networking with professionals and applying for internships. Talk about a World Shaper in action!

Jenna Watson – (Women’s Swim & Dive)

  • This semester, Jenna Watson has immersed herself in the SMU Community head first! Not only did she jump in to help lead the March SAAC meeting when Raelyn was away, but she also spearheaded the preparation for the crucial SAAC/Strategy Meeting on March 25th. Jenna shouldered a huge chunk of the project, making sure all the presentation materials were polished and ready to go by deadline. This Mustang Champion clearly isn’t afraid to take charge and make a difference!

Come back next month for another update of Mustang Champions of the Month!

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

Highlighting our February Mustang Champions

Our second round of Mustang Champions has been announced for the Spring semester! Mustang Champions are nominated each month, by ADSA and athletics staff, for recognizing athletes that are working to perform at their highest level! Whether by improving their academic or athletic performance, embodying the S.P.I.R.I.T of SMU athletics, or student-athlete success initiatives.

Sarah Kelly (Women’s Rowing) exemplifies dedication and perseverance. Despite facing challenges, Sarah has remained focused throughout the spring semester, demonstrating an unwavering commitment to success in her academics. Her hard work is evident in her strong academic performance and grades.

Ja’Heim Hudson (Men’s Basketball) embodies a well-rounded student-athlete. Ja’Heim dedicates extra time to academics, attending study hall and diligently completing work with his counselor, even while traveling for games. His commitment shines not only in the classroom but also on the court.

Bryce McMorris (Football) has emerged as a true leader. Bryce actively participates in both the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and the Black Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (BSAAC). He collaborated to establish a student-athlete STEM group-fostering academic engagement in science, technology, engineering, and math. Furthermore, Bryce advocates for fellow athletes by discussing student-athlete employment opportunities and their potential benefits and drawbacks. His consistent leadership extends to bi-monthly senior staff meetings, where he represents SAAC effectively.

Layla Garcia-Moreno (Women’s Soccer) exemplifies a strong work ethic. Despite only speaking English for two years, Layla actively participates in all Life After Ball (LAB) resources this semester. She is diligently working on her resume in pursuit of an internship, demonstrating a proactive approach to her future and excellent use of her resources.

Congratulations once again to Sarah, Ja’Heim, Bryce, and Layla for being recognized as our February Mustang Champions! These student-athletes are just a few examples of the many Mustangs who are excelling both on and off the field. Remember, there’s always someone to cheer for at SMU!