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Society 53 hosts alumna who broke boundaries

first_imgUSC’s Alumni Association student outreach program, Society 53, is hosting an event today featuring a USC graduate whose accomplishments have made history.After graduating USC in 1986, Capt.  Melissa Ward became the first black woman to serve as a flight instructor in the U.S. Air Force and as a captain for a commercial airline. She attributes much of her success to USC.“The big thing about USC is that the name recognition is incredible,” she said. “No matter where you live, when you go places in your life people are like, ‘Wow, that must have been a great place to go to school.’ For me it was really about what I learned on how to handle myself.”As an undergraduate, the experiences Ward had at USC not only made for fond college memories but also served to teach her crucial lessons about hard work and perseverance that have helped her to realize her accomplishments.“Everything I have done in life I think back and say I wouldn’t have been the same if I had not gone to USC. The friends I made are the ones I still have today,” Ward said.Defining moments at USC came often for Ward, but the ones that stuck out most for her came on the court as a member of the USC women’s basketball team.“It teaches you whole new things when you come from high school where you were the star, and then you are surrounded by people who are far better than you are,” she said. “It was very character developing to sit there and work so hard in practice, and the only reward was to know you made your best players better. I realized going into the Air Force that you have to do your part and things will come your way and you will eventually become the star.”For current Trojans, becoming involved on campus and taking advantage of the non-academic opportunities is a must, according to Ward.“Get involved in something,” she said. “If you can’t play on sports teams, play intramurals. Get involved in organizations. There is a lot to USC besides academics. Social skills are just as important as academic ones.”Ward’s accomplishments are inspiring for not only Trojans but for other black women. Ward hopes her accomplishments give back to the community and help others accomplish their dreams.“Black people are really tied up on firsts,” she said. “I think it’s super great in a culture where there were so many struggles, but I also think it’s important not to only mark the first. I just hope that when I look back that I am not the last one.”Ward’s time at USC was full of accomplishments, both academic and personal. She graduated in the top 100 of her class, held the highest grade point average of any female athlete that year and won the Michael Garrett Award, according to Jessica Ching, a sophomore majoring in political science and a member of Society 53.“She is also the recipient of the 77th annual USC alumni award. She is an amazing alumna and has achieved a lot and was nice enough to speak to the students,” Ching said. Society 53 President Lisa Robinson, a senior majoring in communication, said the group is excited to host Ward, and the event carries a special meaning as graduation approaches.“She has an incredibly inspiring story, and she appeals to a wide group of people,” Robinson said. “I graduate in three weeks, so hearing an inspiring story from a fellow Trojan is very exciting for me.”last_img read more

COLUMN: Collegiate athletes at Olympics deserve pay

first_imgOn Monday, the latest UCLA star announced an early departure from the athletics program.It wasn’t for the NFL or the NBA Draft. Instead, it was redshirt freshman Mallory Pugh — a star forward for the U.S. soccer team who debuted in the Olympics at the age of 17 — making the headlines. On Monday morning, Pugh made the decision to forgo her remaining four years of college eligibility in order to pursue a professional soccer career.Pugh isn’t the first women’s soccer player to make this move — Lindsey Horan did the same two years ago, skipping the college process completely to play for Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in France. This decision is common among Olympic athletes in every sport. The reason? A set of NCAA rules that hold back college Olympians from receiving the same compensation as the rest of their team.Due to NCAA restrictions, Olympians still can’t accept any form of payment or gifts from their federations. That means that Olympic athletes forgo massive paychecks in order to earn a college education.Katie Ledecky, the current Stanford swimmer who won five gold medals in the Rio Olympics, made this fact famous when she was forced to refuse a waffle maker during a stint on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Despite the fact that she’d recently set multiple world records and won gold medals along the way, Ledecky couldn’t accept the gift in order to protect her “amateur” status in the NCAA.The irony of this situation is that athletes like Pugh and Ledecky aren’t “amateurs” in any regard. Sure, they’re still college students and yes, they’ve only been legal adults for a few years. But these athletes represent some of the top competitors in the world, and they have already shaped and molded the future of their sports. Ledecky will always set the bar in any pool that she swims in, and Pugh is tough enough for veteran opponents to guard despite being only 18 years old.Ultimately, Olympic athletes who decide to stay in college take on the duties of both an Olympian and a college athlete, but forgo many of the rewards of both teams. When the Olympics and the World Cup roll around, these elite athletes will even skip out on college practices and games to travel to national team camps and events. And many athletes won’t benefit from the free education that is considered “compensation” for their time as a college athlete — take, for example, former USC women’s soccer player Amy Rodriguez, who delayed her graduation in order to compete in the 2008 Olympics.When discussions of NCAA player compensation and amateur restrictions are brought up, the most common argument in defense of these rules is one that protects sports such as women’s soccer or swimming. The main concern is that compensation and gifts would be aimed mainly at sports that turn a profit, such as football or men’s basketball, without the same funds being spread to less popular sports. This would seem unfair, especially since every college athletics team works the same demanding hours and invests the same level of effort while chasing a national title.But the issue of national team compensation flips that argument completely on its head. When it comes to paying Olympic athletes, football and men’s basketball are completely removed from the conversation, as one is not an Olympic sport and the other fields a team of NBA players. In the Olympics, the teams stacked with NCAA talent are the less popular events that could be hurt by player compensation — anything from swimming and women’s soccer to water polo and gymnastics.The intricacies of NCAA player compensation can be debated for hours, but this specific issue is simple. Olympic athletes should be allowed to accept money for their work on their national teams. The compensation comes from national federations, meaning that it puts no pressure on colleges to spend athletic funds on player paychecks rather than scholarships or other expenditures. This type of compensation also doesn’t allow fans to sway athletes or violate any type of “gift-giving” regulations that the NCAA feels are necessary.In the end, there aren’t any clear reasons why the NCAA does not allow student Olympians to accept the same rewards as the rest of the team. After all, the athletes accept their medals — which are priced upwards of $500 — along with piles of team-branded gear, free flights and team events that include free games, concerts and more. The extension of a team salary seems as if it would follow common logic.And in the end, how are these restrictions truly helping the NCAA? Whether or not Pugh or Ledecky enter their school with a U.S. salary in their bank account, they will remain the top athletes of their age groups. No amount of national team payment could change the fact that these athletes are the best of the best, and they certainly wouldn’t do anything about the fact that Ledecky will lap most of her competition, NCAA or international.Pugh’s decision could put her at a level of risk that male college-stars-turned-pro don’t necessarily face, as women’s soccer doesn’t have the same financial payout as men’s sports like football or basketball. Although Pugh already has the star power to become the next Alex Morgan or Mia Hamm, her paycheck after a couple of years in the NWSL or the Euro Leagues will be only a fraction of the salary of men’s basketball or footballone-and-done stars.Nonetheless, taking the leap into professional soccer this early is a gamble that, barring injuries, will pay off in the long run for Pugh. And next season, the NCAA will miss out on one of the most explosive players in the game.It’s time for the NCAA to make a change. Allowing athletes to reap the benefits of their Olympic glory won’t do anything to hurt the college game — and it might, in fact, help it.Julia Poe is a sophomore studying print and digital journalism. She is also the sports editor of the Daily Trojan. Her column, “Poe’s Perspective,” runs on Wednesdays.last_img read more

Smithsonian’s Water/Way Exhibit Coming to Alcona County Library

first_imgAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisHarrisville — A national exhibit will be coming to the Alcona County Library next winter that focuses on water.The Smithsonian’s Water/Ways exhibit highlights ways that water intersects with our environment, history, culture, and economy. The library is one of six selected in the state of Michigan.The Michigan Water Heritage Project will travel with the exhibit to discuss and start conversation on healthy water and the Great Lakes.Northeast Michiganders can catch the exhibit from November 17-December 30.For information on the exhibit, visit the website https://museumonmainstreet.org/content/waterways. For more information on the Michigan Water Heritage Project, visit https://engage.msu.edu/about/projects/arts-and-culture/michigan-water-heritage-projectAddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to MoreAddThisContinue ReadingPrevious What’s Trending for June 22Next What’s Trending for June 25last_img read more