This Thursday, Oct. 22, eight West Virginia University student athletes will share personal stories of motivation and inspiration in room 172 of the WVU Coliseum from 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.

Student Athletes Speak Out is a program that was started over two decades ago by Dr. Carolyn Atkins, a CASE Professor of the Year in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Education and Human Services. The speeches are developed in a section of her CSAD 270: Effective Public Speaking course. The class is open to WVU student athletes.

Over the years, notable Mountaineers as Major Harris, Amos Zereoue, Steve Slaton, Kevin Pittsnogle, Mike Gansey, Joe Alexander, Shawne Alston, Geno Smith, Caroline Szwed and Tavon Austin have shared their stories each semester as part of these presentations. In addition to speeches, videos and public service announcements from former athletes, viewers also may access teacher’s guides for some of the topics discussed which include humility, drug abuse and the importance of education.

“These speeches continue to be timeless in nature,” said Atkins. “The speakers are typically good character advocates who have learned some of life’s most important lessons in a variety of ways and are willing to share them. These presentations offer others a chance to see what I see—and it has nothing to do with wins, losses and statistics. It has to do with life.”

Thursday’s presentation will feature student-athletes from the football, swimming, diving, wrestling and women’s soccer teams. Soccer stand-out Amanda Hill will not be in attendance as she will be traveling with her team. She will present her speech, Turning the Page, at a different venue.

The event is open to the public. A live stream will also be available at for those unable to attend. The video will also be posted on and after the event.

The speakers, listed with the sport they represent and the title of their speech, are as follows:

Georgia Baldus, Swimming: A Model for Others _
Colton McKivitz, Football: _NOT my best friend _
Lindsay Schmidt, Diving: _The Odds Just Don’t Matter _
Sydnee Karam, Swimming: _The Sport Called Life

Bailey Faust, Wrestling: Results You Didn’t Get _
Nate Carr, Swimming: _Standing Out

Adam Poe, Swimming: It’s Who You Think You’re Not
Morgan Emter, Swimming: Walking Down a Different Path



CONTACT: Carolyn Atkins, WVU College of Education and Human Services; 304-293-2361

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