Utlak Returns from NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum

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ORLANDO, Fla. (WLUC) – Michigan Tech volleyball student-athlete Megan Utlak recently attended the 2019 NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum, in Orlando, Florida from April 11-14.

A total of 220 student-athletes representing a broad array of NCAA-sponsored athletics and possessing an immense range of experiences and perspectives met for the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum. The leadership forum represents the collaboration between the leadership development and Division I, II and III governance groups at the NCAA national office.

The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership forum is an opportunity for college athletes, coaches and administrators to collectively learn about themselves and grow as the next generation of leaders.

During the forum, the student-athletes learned about NCAA governance structures and how committees function to make informed decisions impacting the membership. They also learned more about the role and structure of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and how impactful these organizations can be at the national, campus and conference levels.

Additionally, the student-athletes participated in a community service project to benefit the One Love Foundation, a prominent nonprofit organization aiming to educate young people about healthy and unhealthy relationships and developing leaders of change in this area. Participants assembled care packages to be distributed at domestic violence shelters in Orlando and Jacksonville, Florida.

Utlak was selected to attend the three-day prestigious Leadership Forum by the NCAA Leadership Development Team. Utlak learned leadership skills, the relationship between personal values, core beliefs, and behavioral styles, and more. Utlak was nominated and chosen to participate in the Leadership Forum because of her positive influence on campus and within the community.

A sophomore defensive specialist from Parma, Ohio, Utlak was named as one of three captains for the upcoming season of Michigan Tech volleyball. She was a pivotal member of the backcourt for the Huskies, receiving All-GLIAC Honorable Mention honors in 2018 for finishing the year with 511 digs (4.52/set) and 92 assists (0.81/set) in 113 sets as the Black and Gold qualified for the NCAA Tournament second straight season and for the 10th time in program history.

The Leadership Forum, created in 1997, has been a life-changing experience for more than 5,000 student-athletes, many who have grown personally and professionally, gained a new network of peers and friends, as well as felt the rewards and importance of community service.

Megan Utlak on the experience:
"The NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Forum was an incredible experience that has given me an opportunity to explore my leadership philosophy and build relationships that will remain with me for life. I was able to reflect on who I am as a leader while learning and gaining knowledge from the experiences of others. It allowed me to realign my core values and realize that as a leader on both my athletic team and my campus, I can make an impact."

"It put a new perspective on 'Make It Yours' by allowing me to understand that being a student-athlete expands far beyond the aspects of competition. Being a student-athlete has given me a platform to influence the lives of my teammates, my peers, and my community."

"I was able to expand my understanding of what it means to be a leader in ways that I have never imagined. It is difficult to put into words how grateful and rewarded I feel to have had the opportunity to connect with other student-athletes who possess the same passion and desire for growth as I do. Being a leader means teaching others to lead and this opportunity has provided me with the proper knowledge and courage to take back to my campus and help empower other leaders to share their influence and make an impact."