Division III Week: NAC Values NEC's Meegan & Colby-Sawyer's Fazio
Member institutions of the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) place a high value in the overall student-athlete experience while focusing on four attributes including Sportsmanship, Community/Global Service, SAAC/Campus Leadership, and Diversity and Inclusion. The NAC will be featuring one student-athlete at all ten member institutions throughout Division III Week, April 3-9, 2017, in a series titled "NAC Values."
The college experience provides students a chance to follow their passions and to develop their potential. NCAA Division III student-athletes discover their growth while in the classroom, as well as during their participation in a competitive athletic environment. Student-athletes push themselves to excellence on the field of play and in the classroom.
Below you will learn how New England College senior Mackenzie Meegan (Phoenix, Ariz.) and Colby-Sawyer College senior Michael Fazio (Auburn, Mass.) embody NAC Values and the three NCAA Division III ideals, "Discover, Develop, and Dedicate."
Name: Mackenzie Meegan
Institution: New England College
Major: Kinesiology; Minor: Psychology
Varsity Sport: Women’s Soccer, Women’s Lacrosse, Women’s Ice Hockey
Hometown: Phoenix, Ariz.
Name: Michael Fazio
What does being a Division III student-athlete mean to you?
Meegan: Being a Division III student-athlete has allowed me to be able to play multiple sports. I wanted to focus on academics as well as sports, and wanted the flexibility in a small school atmosphere.
Fazio: Being a Division III student-athlete means incorporating values from the classroom and playing field to real life applications and situations. Through my time spent as a Division III athlete I have learned many morals and how to work together as a team. Looking back at it now I would not want to be anywhere else but at a Division III institution. The opportunities granted and experiences I have had are beyond anything I could have asked for and I am thankful for everyone who has played part in them.
What is the athletic culture like at your institution, and what does being a “Pilgrim/Charger” mean to you?
Meegan: We have a team first culture at NEC. My experience is a little different as a three-sport athlete, because there are three different cultures. Being a Pilgrim means always working hard, and striving to be the best I can be to work towards our team goals.
Fazio: The athletic culture at my institution is one of unity. Playing a sport gets you involved with people you would not have met anywhere else. Specifically, being on the baseball team, we are all like brothers and stick together always. Along with this, it is an association piece as well regarding other teams as it is fairly easy to associate with people from other teams. The culture is like no other and much different than high school as I am much closer with my teammates in college.
How has athletics affected your collegiate experience as a whole?
Meegan: Athletics has made my experience exciting. Being a part of three teams has made athletics basically my whole experience without very much downtime.
Fazio: College athletics has made my time spent at Colby-Sawyer extremely enjoyable. Being able to balance out school work and athletics has taught me motivation skills that I can use in the future. I have had an incredible time playing baseball and will definitely miss it in the years to come. Without college athletics I feel as though I would not be the person I am today. The experience has shaped me into the individual I am.
How do you balance being a student and an athlete, while maintaining your grades?
Fazio: Balancing being a student and an athlete while maintaining grades has definitely been a challenging feat but one that I have been able to conquer. Coming into college my freshman year I was stressed out with the work load as it was much greater than high school. I soon learned to develop skills in order to maintain my grades. Athletics has taught me that school is ultimately first although playing is a great experience. As I have learned from my coach we are all here to get a degree in four years and then move onto the real world. With this being said, I have had a keen mindset on focusing on my grades in order to maintain them.
What do you believe are the most important skills to possess when trying to excel on the “field” and in the classroom?
Meegan: Time management! Getting work done before trips and making sure you talk to professors ahead of time.
Fazio: One of the most important skills to possess when trying to excel on the field and in the classroom is time management. Especially when the season comes around and there are practices as well as games, possessing time management is extremely important. To go along with this, I think that motivation is intertwined as well. It is fairly easy to get out of practice and lay down for a while and put off the work that may need to get done. Motivation helps with this though and it is extremely important to possess in my opinion. From personal experience, I make sure that I let myself know that I need to complete my school work in a timely manner and then I can have my free time. Looking at it right now, capstone work has been time consuming and it needs to be or else the work would not be efficient. I have learned over my time in the classroom that time management and motivation are important and one that can be used in the classroom, the playing field, and the real world.
Which NAC Value/s do you believe that you embody most: Sportsmanship, Community/Global Service, SAAC/On campus Leadership AND/OR Diversity or Inclusion? How you exemplify NAC Values every day?
Meegan: SAAC/On Campus Leadership – I am a captain of two sports, making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to do. I try to lead by example.
Fazio: I believe that I embody the SAAC/on campus leadership the most as I am highly involved in SAAC on my campus. Along with this though outside opportunities such as volunteer opportunities are something in which I take advantage of as well. I feel as though giving back to people in need such as the elderly is something highly important. Especially having grandparents in which I am close with I understand that when volunteer work is needed and it is the elderly involved I would want someone to help out my grandparents as well.
Are you involved on your campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC)? Why do you believe the formation of this committee is important?
Meegan: I serve as the secretary of the NEC SAAC, taking notes at each meeting. I think SAAC is important because it brings all of the teams together and gets everyone to support each other’s teams. It helps get schools in the NAC together too and helps promote different causes, like the “Its on Us” campaign.
Fazio: I am highly involved with my campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This is now my third year involved with the group and I wish that I had more time available to be involved. Last year, I served as the secretary for my campus SAAC and this year I am the vice-president of my campus SAAC as well as the president for the North Atlantic Conference SAAC. This organization is extremely important as issues are presented by our group in which we make the student body as well as the campus involved with. Currently, we are working with an organization called One Love in which focuses on healthy relationships. As a conference, we will make it known that we care about this cause as we prepare for the "Stick it to Love" event. We will display posters in high traffic areas on our campuses where people are able to come by and post on a sticky note what they believe is love and what is not love.
How are you a leader on campus and/or in the community?
Fazio: Through SAAC I have learned tremendous morals and values in order to present myself as a leader. On campus, I am friendly with a large portion of the school. Being at a fairly small school it is easy to get to know a lot of people and see those faces around. Along with this with regards to baseball, our team has a tight knit unity in which I am able to relate to all players on the team. I would have no problem talking to anyone on my team. When teammates are down and I can tell they are from facial expressions I seek them out to see if they need help with anything. I feel as though talking through situations always helps.
The ultimate goal in the NAC is to create an atmosphere of respect for all participants. How have you distinguished yourself through demonstrated acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior?
Fazio: I have demonstrated myself through acts of sportsmanship and ethical behavior by understanding and gaining an appreciation for all people. Once this area was able to be developed, I was able to carry out sportsmanship and ethical behavior on and off the field. Last year I was involved in an altercation during a game, as one of my pitches ran up and in to a batter in which the ump immediately came out and talked to me. I listened to what he had to say that that pitch was too close and I made sure to apologize to that batter. Along with this I also ensure while we are going through the line at the end of the game to tell each player good game, while giving them eye contact.
If you have time to volunteer, which organization has been most rewarding for you to work with? Why is volunteering important to you?
Fazio: When time is presented, the organization that has been most rewarding for me to volunteer at is the senior center located in my campus town. I have been there on multiple occasions in order to help move books for their annual book sale. Interacting with the elderly citizens there is a rewarding experience as they appreciate us being there. They really enjoy hearing about our stories and what we have to say about ourselves.
Is there any advice you would give to your peers or aspiring collegiate student-athletes that you believe would help them benefit more from their collegiate experience?
Meegan: Set aside time for yourself and have good time management skills.
Fazio: The largest piece of advice I would give to my peers or aspiring collegiate student-athletes that I believe would help them benefit more from their collegiate experience is to get involved. During high school, I did not take advantage of too many outside opportunities besides baseball. When I arrived at college, there were so many opportunities to take advantage of. These outside opportunities present values and morals in which can be used throughout life. Specifically, through Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, I have been granted so many great opportunities that have helped me develop as an individual.
What is your greatest accomplishment thus far in your collegiate career (on and off of the “field”)?
Meegan: On the field, earning first team all-conference honors for soccer. Off the field, making the Dean’s list every semester.
Fazio: I feel as though my greatest accomplishment in my collegiate career thus far is from my time down in Florida freshman year. We were in our first game of the season when our starting pitchers started to get tired and roughed up a little bit. All of the sudden my coach yelled my last name and told me to get ready. I frantically ran to the bullpen to warm up and I was soon on the mound. Unfortunately, my dad missed the experience as he had not landed from the plane ride yet but this moment carried on. It was then Monday when I pitched again going over six innings and picking up my first collegiate win against Curry.
As far as my greatest accomplishment off the field, I feel as though my internship last summer was my most impressive moment. I was fortunate enough to be able to land an internship with the Harvard Athletic Department for the summer. Specifically, I was involved with marketing as well as sponsorship and sales. I worked with many professionals who I now have as connections for the future.
Beyond your sport, what are you most passionate about?
Meegan: Spending time with family and friends.
Fazio: Beyond my sport, I am most passionate about my family and the time we have together. There is nothing more I look forward to than a "country ride on Sundays" as my mother would say. We all gather in the car and travel off to some random destination and eat at that towns pizza place. The times we have together are ones I wish to have when I have a family of my own. I cherish these moments and hope they can continue for an extended period of time.
What are your plans after graduation?
Meegan: Looking to stay in college athletics, either as a coach or an athletic trainer. I want to give back, athletics has always been a part of my life and I’m not ready to give it up.
Fazio: After graduation I want to attend graduate school in the fall. I am currently waiting to hear back from graduate schools where I have applied to programs such as sport leadership and athletic administration. My goal in the long-term is to become an athletic director. Incorporating the community as well as individuals with disabilities will be a key focus if I get into a position as an athletic director.
More information on Division III Week:
For a Division III Week "Facts & Figures" document please click HERE.
Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement.
During NCAA Division III Week, every member institution and conference is encouraged to schedule at least one activity, which celebrates an aspect of the Division III student-athlete experience, from these three categories:
- Academic accomplishment, including activities such as taking time during a game to acknowledge student-athlete academic achievement, or asking teams to select a faculty member to serve as a guest coach for a practice or competition.
- Athletics activity, including conducting events such as a youth sports clinic or competition, or scheduling recognition of school teams’ or individuals’ athletics accomplishments during a game.
- Community or campus outreach, such as scheduling a community-service activity during the week, or participating in an event involving a local chapter of Special Olympics as part of Division III’s partnership with that organization.