Priorities, practice and positivity play into the success of scholar-athletes in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University

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November 15, 2019

Priorities, practice and positivity play into the success of scholar-athletes in Barrett, The Honors College at Arizona State University.

That was the consensus of six student-athletes who spoke on a panel at a recent Barrett Dean’s Club Breakfast. Barrett Honors College has more than 70 athletes in its student body, including members of the Sun Devil Women’s Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Football, Men’s Golf, Gymnastics, Lacrosse, Soccer, Softball, Swimming and Diving, Women’s Tennis, Track, Triathlon, Water Polo and Wrestling teams.

The top collegiate athletes on the panel train up to six hours per day, travel for competitions, take honors-level classes, work on honors theses and creative projects, and carry a GPA of 3.5 or higher. It’s a lot of work, but well worth it, they said.

“As an athlete, you want to be the best at what you do. This attitude helps me not only in athletics, but in academics too. We have a job to do and we have drive. We don’t hold back,” said Heather Udowitch, a senior studying marketing and a gymnast who made the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team in 2018 and 2019 and who was named a Scholastic All-American in 2016-2019.

Kevin Benavides, a senior studying mechanical engineering and a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American, said prioritizing activities and projects is key for student-athletes whose time and energy are stretched thin.

“You always have to focus on time management and doing the opposite of the bare minimum. You have to be able to do something you really don’t want to do- like, after going to practice and classes all day, studying late into the night and finishing writing a paper just to start on another paper. You always have to put forth your best efforts.”

Corey Stephens, a sophomore finance major and football player who has been on the Dean’s List four times, said his affiliation with Barrett Honors College pushes him to do his best.

“I’m so inspired by Barrett students because they are so involved in so much, whether it be sports, internships, jobs, or community service. They do it all. Because of this, I want to put my best foot forward and do more than what is expected of me,” he said.

Isabella All, a sophomore aerospace engineering major and member of the Women’s Swimming and Diving team, said being in Barrett has helped up her academic game.

“I wanted a school where I was going to be challenged and where I could take my swimming to another level. I had heard Barrett Honors College was like Stanford or Harvard, but at a large university. I thought Barrett would challenge me to be a well-rounded student and not just an engineer. I wanted the opportunity to succeed and grow, and that’s what I’ve found at Barrett,” said All, who had made the Dean’s List twice.

Kyle Williams, a senior biomedical engineering major and football stand-out, said he relishes the challenges of his sport and his studies. He aspires to enter the NFL and go to medical school.

“Barrett is a small entity within a large university, but it has so much to offer, including the opportunity to have close relationships with classmates and professors that help you socially and academically,” he said.

Audrey Ernst, a sophomore nursing student and triathlete, said she has found her niche at ASU and Barrett.

“Barrett encourages students to take on more than academics. ASU supports my sport. I feel so grateful to be at a university and in an honors college that are so supportive of me and my sport.”

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