A Contagious Smile: Myra-Renee Jones

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It takes two hands for junior Myra-Renee Jones to list off all the clubs, organizations and teams she’s a part of at The University of Olivet — and Myra doesn’t have enough fingers and toes combined to count all of the learning experiences she’s had as a Comet. The exercise science major from Saginaw says it’s all thanks to a small college experience complete with mentors around every turn.

“My first tour at OC was a little different than anything else I had experienced,” Myra explained. “I thought I wanted to go to a big school, but I found out that I really liked only having to walk a few minutes to class. More importantly, I got to actually meet professors and tuition was affordable. I knew there would also be ample opportunities to get involved on campus.”

Myra’s first impression hasn’t changed. She jumped at the chance to play volleyball during her first two years and the experience helped her get connected with Comets from all corners of campus. In the classroom, Myra felt at home right away, too.

As a lifelong athlete, Myra has experienced the special bond athletes share with athletic trainers firsthand. Exercise science seemed like a natural fit, helping Myra prepare for a number of potential careers, like physical therapy, occupational therapy or athletic training. While she’s still deciding her next move — graduate school or jumping into the workforce to gain real-world experience — Myra knows she’s prepared for whatever comes next.

“I’ve had a different favorite professor each year,” Myra exclaimed. “This year I’m really enjoying learning from Nancy Van Hoozier, associate professor of health and human performance, and my adviser, Charles Crowley, associate professor of health and human performance.

“Professor Van Hoozier has a reputation for being strict, but she pushes students to do their best. It’s been great getting to know Professor Crowley. He has tons of connections in business and athletics across the nation, and he’s really been helping students network.”

Myra has also gained valuable skills as a member of the Black Student Union, as a captain of the dance team, as a mistress of fraternity Mu Omega Pi, through working with the student life team and most notably, as an ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Institute (WLI) graduate and mentor.

“I had a natural connection with Traci Corey, WLI director and presidential spouse, through our shared love of volleyball,” Myra explained. “I was a part of the first ATHENA International Women’s Leadership Institute cohort. It was a great learning experience and now I’ve gotten to help Traci expand the program.”

The yearlong program is aimed at helping female students develop their leadership potential through the acclaimed ATHENA International leadership model utilized around the world. Students focus on topics such as fostering collaboration, advocating fiercely and acting courageously as female leaders.

“The most beneficial thing I learned was how to connect with people who come from different backgrounds,” Myra explained. “I learned that focusing on similarities and trying to understand and support others is the best way to advance women’s leadership.”

In Myra’s role as a mentor to the second cohort and assistant to Traci, she shares how these experiences have affected her personally and encourages other young women to strive for the same mutual understanding and support. In addition, Myra is gaining professional development skills as she helps coordinate and facilitate the WLI sessions and The University of Olivet’s third Cultivating Women Leaders (CWL) event on March 22.

“I am most looking forward to the speed networking session at CWL,” Myra said. “I am excited to hand out my business cards and connect with strong female leaders in the exercise science field. It’s really cool that students have this unique chance to connect with people from around the state or even country who could be future references or mentors right here on campus.”

Anyone is welcome to get in on the action at CWL. In addition to speed networking, special panel presentations will be given by OC alumnae and students, and sessions on negotiating and dressing for success are also part of the lineup. Learn more and register now.

To learn more about The University of Olivet, majors and programs, or extracurricular opportunities, contact the Office of Admissions at 800.456.7189 or admissions@uolivet.edu.


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