Photo by: UC San Diego Athletics
UC San Diego athletics' first joint event with HDS took place on April 17.

Athletics and HDS Team Up for 'Beyond the A' Presentation

UC San Diego

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LA JOLLA, Calif. — UC San Diego paired athletics with human developmental sciences (HDS) for an event titled “Beyond the ‘A’: Developing Students Who Will Succeed.” 

Located in Beyster Auditorium of Rady School of Management on April 17, it was the first joint-speaker event between the two programs.

The evening highlighted Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers, and the reasons certain individuals achieve success over others. Some of the main points emphasized were meant to benefit both students and student-athletes of the UC San Diego community, as something the university will look to continue as an annual tradition moving forward. 

The talk elaborated on Gladwell’s research on child prodigies and the “Keystone Triad,” in an attempt to further endorse UC San Diego’s intent on preparing students for success after graduation. With hopes of encouraging current students to look past the GPA, it stressed the significance of other traits that often outweigh grades in the professional world.

Stories from three former UC San Diego student-athletes were featured, including Kendall Baker (Softball ’18), Ashley Chestnut (Softball ’17) and Savanna Forry (Track and Field ’17), as well as the Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm, John Smee. Each student-athlete discussed one skill set of the Keystone Triad: attention to detail, resilience, and practical intelligence. 

To connect their experiences as student-athletes, the three alumnae spoke about situations throughout their four years where knowledge of each attribute allowed them to achieve their goals in both athletics and academics. 

Smee concluded by connecting the lessons learned from these student-athletes, and explained the importance of further utilizing them in a career after graduation. A panel-style question-and-answer session took place in addition to a social hour shortly after the speeches.  

Although the collegiate careers of each speaker just recently came to an end, returning to their alma mater to share stories and future plans was just as meaningful. Baker, who discussed the attention to detail triad, was recently accepted to grad school to study child life.

“It was eye opening to be on the other side and to have students and athletes approach you asking for advice,” said Baker. “When you’re living it, it’s hard to step back and see your story. But coming back to represent softball and HDS allowed me to tell my story with a new perspective.” 

Chestnut also hoped everyone in attendance took something from her message, as she prepares to attend grad school for physical therapy. 

“Being both a student and an athlete at the collegiate level taught me a lot of valuable lessons that I directly translate to my life today,” she said.“I was glad to have the chance to share my story in hopes that other students, professors or coaches can relate.”

About UC San Diego Athletics
With 30 national team championships, nearly 150 individual titles and the top student-athlete graduation rate among Division II institutions in the United States, the UC San Diego intercollegiate athletics program annually ranks as one of the most successful in the country.  The Tritons sponsor 23 intercollegiate sport programs that compete on the NCAA Division I and II levels and, in summer 2020, will transition into full Division I status as a member of the Big West Conference.  UC San Diego student-athletes exemplify the academic ideals of one of the world's preeminent institutions, graduating at an average rate of 91 percent.  A total of 80 Tritons have earned Academic All-America honors, while 36 have earned prestigious NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships.  In competition, more than 1,300 UC San Diego student-athletes have earned All-America honors.

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