GANSEVOORT, N.Y. – The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has announced Penn College’s Hanna Williams as the 2017-18 Female Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Member of the Year. Williams joins Keuka College’s Dakota Skinner who was recognized as the NEAC Male SAAC Member of the Year earlier this week.
The annual SAAC awards, which began in 2014-15, were established to recognize the multiple contributions of SAAC members throughout the NEAC. Each school has an opportunity to nominate one male and one female SAAC member from their institution based on leadership roles within the group, dedication to community service and involvement on campus. All nominations were reviewed and voted on by the SAAC advisors from each of the NEAC’s 14 full-member institutions.
Williams graduated earlier this spring with a degree in Industrial Design and represented the Wildcats on the women’s soccer and women’s tennis teams. She was a four-year SAAC member, including this past year as President, and was instrumental in developing the Penn College SAAC. Williams has helped organize various community service projects that include move-in day, student-athlete volunteers for the Salvation Army 10K/20K Community Challenge and the Penn College baseball Military Appreciation Doubleheader.
“Hanna has been a fantastic representative of what a true student-athlete is,” said former Penn College Women’s Soccer Coach John McNichol. “Her dedication to helping grow the Penn College SAAC to a thriving student-run organization has been amazing. Her hard work, organization and energy led to more student-athletes getting involved and participating in many community service projects and SAAC-led events. Hanna’s leadership as SAAC President will be felt for years to come as she has helped lay the ground word for the Penn College SAAC to continue to thrive in the future.”
A native of Marion, N.Y., Williams played a pivotal role in organizing Pie the Athletics staff, Yards for Yeardley and Penny Wars, which served as the Wildcats’ three main events during NCAA Division III Week in April. As a dual-sport student-athlete with a 3.97 GPA, she also made an impact in the Williamsport community by helping facilitate a school supply drive and volunteering hours at the FireTree Place After-School program. Williams also spearheaded a three-day Read across America event in various Williamsport Elementary Schools.
Penn College SAAC Advisor and Head Softball Coach Jackie Klahold recognizes that Williams’ effort have created a new standard for the Wildcats’ SAAC group moving forward.
“I am so proud of Hanna,” Klahold shared. “She has done an incredible job of demonstrating what it takes to be a successful Division III student-athlete on and off the field. This past year, Hanna was instrumental in leading our student-athletes and athletic department to our highest volunteer hours, participants and money raised. She has definitely left her mark here at Penn College and set the bar high for our current and future SAAC members.”
Williams, who served as a NEAC SAAC representative at the 2017 NCAA Convention, led the 2017-18 Penn College SAAC to 2,502 total hours volunteered. Under her leadership, 686 individuals participated in events and Penn College raised $4,683. Some of the charities that benefitted from Penn College’s efforts include the Salvation Army, Autism Speaks, Ronald McDonald House, Wounded Warrior Project, Special Olympics of Lycoming County and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. She is the second student-athlete from Penn College to be the recipient of the NEAC Female SAAC Member of the Year award.
“Hanna’s impact on our campus is immeasurable,” said Penn College Director of Athletics John Vandevere. “Her work ethic, character and passion are hard to quantify and she has left a lasting impression. We have been very fortunate to have Hanna for four years and we’re proud of all she has accomplished. We will miss her dearly.”
Alyssa Rex – Keuka College
Rex will be a senior in the fall as a dual-major in Criminal Justice and Psychology with a 4.00 GPA. She is a three-time NEAC All-Conference women’s volleyball player and the President of the Keuka College SAAC. Rex is a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and serves as a student justice on the Student Conduct Panel while holding multiple work study jobs around campus. She has volunteered at the Veterans’ Day Ceremony on campus and participated in a SAAC fundraiser that donated over $1,300 to Habitat for Humanity.
Katherine Vahsen – SUNY Cobleskill
Vahsen wrapped up her sophomore season on the SUNY Cobleskill Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field Team earlier this spring and has been elected as the institution’s SAAC Vice President for 2018-19. Vahsen assisted in the organization of the Fighting Tigers’ Yards for Yeardley event that raised awareness for relationship violence and led all SUNY institutions with the completion of 2.2 million yards. She also helped update the SUNY Cobleskill SAAC bylaws.
Amber Wood – Bryn Athyn College
Wood is the Bryn Athyn College SAAC President and just completed her junior year as captain of the women’s volleyball team. She is heavily involved on campus as a student ambassador, resident advisor and resident life assistant. Wood maintains a 3.93 GPA and has made the Dean’s List every semester. After receiving a scholarship through the Alumni Association, Wood’s current community service project includes a year-long service initiative to create care packages for the less fortunate. She was a NEAC SAAC representative at the 2018 NCAA Convention and have been a leader at Bryn Athyn College by managing community service events that include Penny Wars for Cancer, Cards for Veterans, Special Olympics, Coats for Kids and a student-athlete t-shirt fundraiser.
The North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) has fourteen NCAA Division III member institutions which include: Bryn Athyn College, Cazenovia College, College of St. Elizabeth, Gallaudet University, Keuka College, Lancaster Bible College, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Pennsylvania State University – Abington, Pennsylvania State University – Berks, SUNY Cobleskill, SUNY Morrisville State College, SUNY Polytechnic Institute, Wells College, and Wilson College. Associate members are: Cedar Crest College (W Swimming), D’Youville College (M Volleyball), Hilbert College (M&W Lacrosse), Medaille College (M&W Lacrosse, M Volleyball), Pennsylvania State University – Altoona (M Volleyball), and Rutgers University – Camden (M Golf). The NEAC has partnered with the North Atlantic Conference in the sports of field hockey and men’s tennis. For more information, please visit: www.neacsports.com.