How does a small-town girl get to meet the president of the NAIA? How does she make friends from all over the country? How does she snag a summer internship at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital?
Tressa Linson, a junior biology major at Lyon College, did it by playing basketball, joining Lyon’s Association of Student Athletes (ASA), and participating in the College’s Leadership class.
Tracy Stewart-Lange, Lyon’s head women’s basketball coach, selected Linson to represent the College through the ASA, and then Linson applied to be a representative on the national level and was selected for the position by the advisor at national headquarters in Kansas City. She is now the D1 Women’s Basketball representative for the ASA, an organization representing the 65,000 student athletes in the NAIA. “I was really honored to serve in that position,” Linson said.
She has attended the NAIA National Convention two years in a row, giving her an opportunity to speak with many people she would not have otherwise met. Linson also noted that participating in the convention helped her grow professionally. With plenty of networking opportunities, she made ample friends on LinkedIn, many of whom she still speaks with regularly. She said, “It’s really cool to look at my Snapchat map now. I have friends all over the country, from New York to California.”
This year she was part of the State of the Association Address, where she was able to speak on a panel with Jim Carr, NAIA president, in front of roughly six hundred people. “I was really nervous at first when I saw all of the people I had to speak in front of,” she admits. The only student-athlete on the panel, Linson spoke on the experiences of student athletes, their recruitment processes, and the benefits of participating in the NAIA.
“It was important to me that I get across the opportunities that the NAIA presents to student-athletes, like being a part of ASA and attending the national convention. Conference and campus-level ASAs try to improve conditions for student athletes. This year we proposed a piece of legislation for NAIA that would guarantee athletes one day off a week at every member school.”
Because the ASA has a two-year limit for representatives, she will not attend the Convention her senior year, but she plans to remain involved as senior vice chair of the executive board of the ASA, which worked to raise money for schools damaged by hurricanes and to shut down sexual assault and harassment on college campuses in the 2017-18 school year. She is also the president of Lyon’s chapter of ASA.
Linson had leadership roles in her high school, which was attended by only about 200 students. She comes from Blue Eye, Missouri, near Branson. The 2010 census counted just 167 residents making up 48 families in what it characterizes as a ”village.” Her biggest audience there was about 75. At Lyon, she has had more opportunities to run meetings and talk with authority figures. Being part of Lyon’s leadership class, she says, prepared her for being on the State of the Association Panel and talking to the NAIA president.
This summer Linson is interning at the Arkansas Children’s Hospital.
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