The national Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee has selected Samantha Roberts of Texas A&M-Commerce as the 2018 Dr. Dave Pariser Faculty Mentor Award winner.
The award, named after a Bellarmine physical therapy professor who died in 2013, recognizes faculty members at Division II institutions for their dedication to supporting and mentoring student-athletes, as well as their commitment to Division II student-athletes’ lifelong learning, competition and well-being. Roberts will receive the award Jan. 25 at the Division II Faculty Mentor Award Presentation and Reception during the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando, Florida.
“Dr. Roberts is an outstanding individual that goes above and beyond for students and student-athletes,” said Hannah Peevy, internal operations coordinator of Division II SAAC and former rifle student-athlete at North Georgia. “When reflecting on Dr. Roberts’ role on her campus and her involvement, what stood out is how closely her devotion to her students reflected national SAAC’s goals and initiatives. She promotes bystander intervention, mental health awareness and partnered with the athletic department’s Responsible Lions performance team.
“Whether it be fostering a new master’s program or applying for an NCAA CHOICES Grant, she selflessly gives her time to move others forward.”
Roberts hails from England, where she previously was a senior lecturer and earned her doctoral degree from Coventry University in 2014. Since moving to the United States in 2016, Roberts has been a standout faculty member in the Texas A&M-Commerce community. Roberts, an assistant professor, specializes in teaching sports marketing and international sport management at the graduate level. On campus, she serves a vital role on the athletics department’s performance team, a group responsible for policies, procedures and education pertinent to the well-being of student-athletes.
Roberts also was selected to assist as an advisor for Responsible Lions, a student-led group that educates student-athletes on issues such as alcohol and drug abuse, nutrition and eating disorders, mental health, and sexual assault and harassment.
“I think one of our ultimate aims is to make not just the student-athletes, but A&M-Commerce as a whole, more aware about the challenges each one of us faces,” Roberts said.
In addition to Responsible Lions, Roberts has been able to facilitate Texas A&M-Commerce’s bystander intervention program as well as help create the athletics department’s emergency action plan that offers guidance on what to do in a crisis. She wants all students and student-athletes to know that, “If you need to talk, someone will be available to talk, and to not be ashamed of that.”
In Roberts’ short time at Texas A&M-Commerce, student-athletes have helped her and her family assimilate into the American college sports culture. “What I love about student-athletes, especially those that I have in class, is you get to build that special relationship with them,” Roberts said. “And then they appreciate you so much for coming out to their games.”
Roberts makes it a priority to be there for her students and student-athletes, whether that is through interactions in the classroom, one-on-one mentorship or bringing her family to watch the student-athletes compete.
“They know that I have their back, and that is probably why I have been able to have the impact that I’ve had so far,” she said. “If they are willing to show me that they are going to work and want it, then I will bend over backwards to help every single one of them.”
Article courtesy of NCAA