NMU to send two student athletes to Disney World for academic summit


Juggling the roles of college student and college athlete is not an easy task. But for those who can handle the challenge during their collegiate careers, there are rewards at the end of the road.

Namely: Mickey Mouse Ears, breakfast with Cinderella, a chance to ride both Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and a trip to Tomorrowland.

NMU student-athletes Derek May and Brittney Buchanan were recently selected from NMU’s student athletes to attend the NCAA Student-Athlete Development Conference in Orlando at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The NCAA National Student-Athlete Development Conference provides NCAA student-athletes with a forum to openly discuss issues that affect them on their campuses and in their communities, while also providing them with the opportunity to enhance their leadership, communication, decision-making and problem-solving skills.?

Both student-athletes say their success hinges on them being able to prioritize both school and sports, and that the task is not often an easy one.

May, a junior defenseman on the hockey team majoring in entrepreneurship and minoring in economics, said it was often difficult to find time for school while participating in Division I athletics, but that he found a way.

“When we’re on the road – we leave sometimes on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so you’re missing a couple classes here and there – and just working with your teachers to make up classes can be difficult,” May said. “But you’ve just got to do what you need to do to stay on top of things.”

May added that there are players on the team who ask him for advice in the classroom, and the majority of the time, he obliges with helpful hints.

“It’s just something that comes with the territory, and I know guys ahead of me, like (2007 senior captain Pat) Bateman – he spent the time with me to help me through some things,”?May said. “So I kind of want to give back as well.”

For Buchanan, a senior forward on the soccer team majoring in psychology, academics wasn’t always something that came easy to her. She said she had to work hard to excel in the classroom.

“I went from high school – where maybe academics wasn’t my main thing – because after high school, it’s college,” Buchanan said. “But, I think I started to realize that after college it’s my life – and (head coach) Matt (Granstrand)’s a big supporter in that too – that academics come before soccer.”

Granstrand added that he’s known Buchanan for six years and, like all his players, he recruited her because she was a good student, as well as a good athlete.

“It’s great to see her be a senior and get recognition and get a huge award,” he said. “I’m proud of her, we’re all proud of her.

“And I don’t think she’s ever been to Florida, so it should be a lot of fun for her,” he added.