WSSU Student Participates in National Program Sponsored by the U.S. Olympics
Evanna Howell, a senior sport management major at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU), was one of 15 college students from across the nation selected to participate in the 2012 F.L.A.M.E. Program sponsored by the United States Olympic Committee.
F.L.A.M.E. (Finding Leaders Among Minorities Everywhere) was held in October at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, CO. It provides students with an in-depth look at the Olympic Movement and personal exploration of the Olympic ideals of excellence, friendship and respect.
"It was certainly an eye-opening experience," Howell said. "The stories we heard were inspirational and seeing how the movement is really like a family was awesome. They kept telling us that once an Olympian you are always Olympian, never a former or past participant."
The five-day program allows the students to reside and eat alongside U.S. Olympians, Paralympians and hopefuls. While the students selected have already demonstrated a pursuit of excellence, they are provided the opportunity to further their personal and professional growth through unique seminars and workshops with athletes as well as USOC and National Government Body leaders.
"All of the work we did was leadership based," Howell explained. "We learned how to work with each other, about different leadership styles and how to work as a team. Being with people from different areas and different backgrounds was interesting and educational.
"We were able to have one-on-one conversations with athletes and with chief officers of the Olympics and the various sports," Howell added. "Everyone is just so passionate about being there. They were even passionate about just coming to talk to us."
While Howell said the entire program was remarkable, hearing and meeting Teresa Edwards was certainly a highlight. Edwards, a five-time Olympic medalist in basketball, was chef de mission of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team.
"I was so impressed with the dedication of the athletes. One of the fencers lives at the Training Center and earns his room and board by giving tours. Not only did he give us a tour of the center, but gave us a fencing demonstration. Then, we were able to put on all the equipment and try it."
Howell, who says she is always researching opportunities for internships, networking and learning, stumbled upon the F.L.A.M.E. Program during her searches this summer. She had to write an essay and provide information on her community service and achievements.
"While they look for participants who are athletes or students studying in the sports field, community service and achievements are a big part of the selection process."
Howell is a Chancellor’s Scholar so she has been involved in community projects while at WSSU, including tutoring. She is also manager of men's basketball team and was an athlete in high school playing varsity basketball and serving as captain of her track and field team.
She was excited that F.L.A.M.E. also offers a pathway for further involvement in the Olympic Movement either through the USOC's internship program or other career and volunteer opportunities. To her delight, she did land an interview for an internship and is waiting to hear from the USOC.
While her plans do include earning an MBA after her undergraduate work is completed, her ultimate goal is to work for an NBA team and eventually owning her own event planning business that works with athletes and athletic teams.