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Pioneer pitcher Johnny Volk says he hopes to improve his leadership skills by attending the NCAA’s National Student-Athlete Development Conference. (Photo: Ben Ailes)

Sophomore pitcher first CSUEB athlete invited to NCAA student conference

  • May 26, 2009

Sophomore pitcher Johnny Volk has been chosen to represent Cal State East Bay at the 2009 National Collegiate Athletic Association’s National Student-Athlete Development Conference, scheduled May 24 to 27 in Orlando, Fla., at the Walt Disney World Coronado Spring Resort.

As one of 700 student-athletes selected from universities across the country and the first student from CSUEB to attend the conference, Volk said he is excited to participate in the program.

“I hope to get new ideas and activities we can use next year for SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Council) as far as building team work and team bonding,” Volk said. “And also as an individual, learning how to be an effective leader.”

Volk serves as vice president of SAAC, which coordinates with Associated Students Inc. to organize athletic events and fundraisers. The council’s current project includes earning money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation by organizing barbecues, face painting before games and a Mardi Gras themed dance.

“Nothing gets done if you aren’t proactive,” Volk said. ”Being vice president I’ve learned to be proactive and talk to people..”

The conference provides NCAA student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that may affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to improve their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills. 

The four-day conference consists of daily team sessions, exercises, speakers and activities to help participants develop as individuals and as contributing members to society.

Students from all three NCAA sporting divisions particpate in the event. Each division has the opportunity to send 233 student-athletes to the national conference. This is the last year Pioneer teams will take part in Division III and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. CSUEB’s athletic program will begin its first year of exploratory membership in Division II in the fall. The university announced its intention to move to Division II and join the California Collegiate Athletic Association in May 2008.

In previous years, eight CSUEB students, including Mario Castellanos from men’s golf and Lauren Massa from women’s volleyball, attended Division III leadership conferences sponsored by other organizations.

“I do think as we move to Division II and as SAAC continues to develop that we will see more East Bay student-athletes having national opportunities to develop their leadership skills,” said Debby De Angelis, CSUEB Director of Athletics. “John is an outstanding choice to be our first representative.”

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