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Student-Athlete Support

The dual role of student and athlete can be a daunting challenge for any person at the Division I level. Recognizing that academic challenge, the Student Athlete Support Services (SASS) program has been developed at San Diego State to assist all student-athletes in achieving academic excellence.

It is a source of pride within San Diego State athletics that the department has developed one of the most comprehensive academic support programs in the country.

The Staff
The SAASS staff includes a learning specialist, five academic advisors, the department's director of compliance and assistant director of compliance, an eligibility coordinator, a financial aid coordinator as well as an admissions specialist. The academic support unit is under the direction of Kathy Vany Wyk, SDSU's senior woman administrator.

In addition to the full-time staff, the department employs more than 20 mentors and tutors.

Collectively, they operate a program that promotes academic achievement, community outreach, life skills and citizenship.

The Services
Throughout the academic year, advisors offer a variety of services to aid individuals in the development of their academic, career and personal goals, and the blueprint for pursuing those goals.

During the course of their academic careers, student-athletes are provided many opportunities for acaemic and personal growth through seminars, workshops and community service activities.

All new student-athletes are invited to an orientation that helps lay the foundation for future successes. Each advisor teaches a section of the University's Freshman Success course (General Studies 100), which deals with specific transition issues for student-athletes. Topics include time management, study skills and test taking.

In addition, the course also introduces new students to services such as the Love Library, University Advising Center, Career Services, Health Services and the counseling center.

The Resources
In the fall of 2001, the academic unit joined the rest of the athletic department moved into the new $30 million, 130,000-square-foot Aztec Athletics Center. The academic wing is located on the third floor of the complex and includes a 40-station computer lab, individual study rooms and two lecture rooms.

The Commitment
San Diego State's annual Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet honors students with a grade-point average in excess of 3.2. In 2004, 199 student-athletes, more than one-third of the SDSU student-athlete body, were honored at the Scholar-Athlete Awards Banquet and attended a theatrical production downtown.

A new event was launched in the spring of 2005 with the inaugural Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Awards. In the spirit of the ESPYs, SDSU's student-athletes were treated to an awards banquet and ceremonies to recognize outstanding individual achievements throughout the athletic department.

Life Skills
To further increase the opportunities for success, San Diego State is part of the NCAA's CHAMPS/Life Skills Program. The curriculum of Aztec Pride (Promoting Responsibility, Integrity, Diversity, Education) offers a wide range of programs and activities that enhance the educational experience. Special emphasis is placed on the areas of personal development, community service and career development.

In conjunction with the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, the Life Skills Program represents San Diego State's total commitment to enhancing the quality of each student's experience.

The Staff
Colleen Evans
Director

Willie Judd
Academic Advisor, baseball, volleyball, men's golf, women's basketball
Life Skills Coordinator and SAAC Co-advisor

Jessica Simmons
Academic Advisor, football, women's soccer, softball, water polo

Kristie Smedsrud
Academic Advisor, men's basketball, men's soccer, crew, women's golf

Bre White
Assistant Director and Academic Advisor, football, women's track/cross country, women's swimming, men's tennis, women's tennis
Community Service and Multicultural Programs Coordinator, SAAC Co-advisor

Maria Moreno-Pardo
Learning Specialist, mentor/tutor Coordinator

Christopher Hoppe
Admissions/Eligibility Coordinator, housing liaison