Two graduate students attended the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Emerging Leaders Seminar February 6-8 in Indianapolis, Indiana. This professional development event provides leadership, educational, and transitional programming for current graduate assistants and interns from NCAA member schools, conference offices, affiliate organizations, and the NCAA home office.  

Elijah Henderson, ’22 and Ariel Senics, ’22

Ariel Senics, ’22 and Elijah Henderson, ’22 were among 200 graduate students selected from NCAA member institutions across all three divisions. Senics, who played Division III basketball and softball as an undergraduate, is now a second-year student in the master’s degree program in clinical mental health counseling. She wrote, “I was awestruck because meeting 200 other graduate assistants/interns from [NCAA] Division I to Division III was an honor. I was able to develop an excellent network in the sports community. I can bring and share the different resources in Gallaudet’s Athletics Department.”   

In her role as a graduate assistant, Senics focuses on student-athletes’ mental health. During Mental Health Awareness Month last September, before the Wilson College-Gallaudet men’s soccer game, she presented to both teams about the importance of mental health and how to get help. Gallaudet’s Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff handed out green shirts to fans to promote mental health awareness.  

Henderson is an administrative support specialist with the United States Department of Labor, and is enrolled in the Master of Public Administration program. He said, “If I had to sum up the Emerging Leaders Seminar in one word, it would be ‘powerful.’ Having the privilege to be amongst leaders in the industry along with other graduate students with a passion for the athletics field was truly an amazing experience. There was an abundance of knowledge shared that I will carry with me throughout my personal life and my work as a strength and conditioning coach with Gallaudet Athletics.”  

See Elijah Henderson in the #IAmGallaudet campaign.  

According to the NCAA, “The [Emerging Leaders Seminar] educates, develops, and connects selected participants and equips attending young professionals with the skills necessary to accelerate their career progression in college sports…  

Elijah Henderson, ’22 and Ariel Senics, ’22

Participants will walk away with valuable insight into college athletics and an in-depth understanding of self-awareness through the DISC assessment; elevate their individual and group critical thinking skills through the program case study and other experiential learning opportunities, and gain an expansive network of peers and industry leaders to call upon throughout their professional journey. Through this exposure, participants return to their current roles with applicable skills and knowledge that will help them succeed within their current and future roles.”  

Watch a video about the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar.  

Katherine Giles Bean, ’15 & G-’17, Associate Athletic Director for Student Athlete Success, says, “The Athletics Department employs five graduate assistants and two graduate paraprofessionals. In addition to their roles supporting individual athletic teams or athletics administrators, our graduate assistants also work an average of three hours per week running study tables to support student-athlete retention. This change in duties was formalized in 2023. Since then, we have seen numerous advantages. We have also invested in creating a network for our graduate assistants. Previously, they would have had little interaction with one another, but now with study tables as a centralizing force, we have been able to keep them connected with quarterly check-in meetings, a group text, and a networking luncheon to kick off this spring semester.”   

Giles Bean keeps a pulse on NCAA opportunities, both seeking grant programs for Gallaudet Athletics and award nominations and other opportunities to share with our student-athletes. She circulated the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar information and application materials to the graduate assistants. Senics and Henderson applied and were accepted into the program. “It was a tremendous honor and a wonderful opportunity for them,” said Giles Bean. “They both took full advantage of it, were prepared and professional, and represented the university and themselves very well. We’re so proud of them!” 

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