Student-Athlete Development

About Us

Mission Statement

Mission Statement: We prepare student-athletes to become leaders and champions in life by placing the highest values on integrity, character, sportsmanship and victory.

Balancing academic success, athletic competition, and personal growth along with student life can be very challenging for the student-athlete. The Student-Athlete Development Program represents the comprehensive commitment by the Vanderbilt Athletic Department to foster the total growth and development of our student-athletes.


We Are Committed To:

  • Personal Development
  • Professional Development
  • Social Impact
  • Leadership Development

Meet the Staff


Alison Wenzel

Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development / O: 615-343-5463 / she, her, hers

Alison Wenzel started working in Student-Athlete Development as the Life Skills Coordinator in October of 2006. In June 2016, Wenzel was promoted to the Assistant Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development. She oversees all Career Development, Personal Development and Community Outreach initiatives for all men and women sports teams. Prior to joining Student-Athlete Development, Wenzel served as Vanderbilt Athletics Assistant Director of Marketing. Wenzel earned her bachelors’ and masters degree from The University of Florida in Exercise and Sport Sciences.




Assistant Director for Student-Athlete Development / O: 615-322-8013 / she, her, hers

Jax Collins joins Vanderbilt Athletics as the Assistant Director of Student-Athlete Development as a recent graduate of Vanderbilt Divinity School and with a history of higher education programming. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia where she worked with Hoos football program as an equipment manager. Jax is responsible for collaborating with community partners to provide social impact opportunities for student-athletes, facilitate leadership development programming, and curate and implement innovative Name, Image, and Likeness holistic programming.

Personal Development


A Commitment to Personal Development ensures that each student-athlete participating in Vanderbilt Athletics will be provided with opportunities to focus on personal growth issues such as defining  values, setting goals, and learning fiscal responsibility. Each component will be focused toward developing a healthy and sustainable lifestyle.

Student-Athlete Orientation
Each first-year student-athlete will engage in a resource opportunity to understand what resources and information is available to them. Over the course of their time as Vanderbilt Student-Athletes they will engage with resources such as:

I Am More Than Campaign

Founded by SAAC members, I Am More Than seeks to highlight student-athlete journeys that exist off the field or outside the weight room. Our student-athletes make up a collective full of imaginative, innovative minds and talents, check out some of their stories below. 


Events and Workshops

Nashville Cultural Experience
We are lucky enough to partner with amazing community partner to host a day of immersion for a group of student-athletes each summer. This experience allows students to see Nashville outside of the lens of the college-bubble and dive into the good work that is happening all around them when they move here. Interested in putting together another NCE during the school year? Contact Jax here.


Senior Student-Athlete Workshop Series
Senior student-athletes have the opportunity to take advantage of their resources and  time before they graduate to solidify networking experiences, job planning, budgeting, and other key topical areas to create a successful  journey post grad. To take part in this year’s Senior Student-Athlete Workshop Series, sign up here by THIS DATE.

The Golden Dores

Golden Dores is an annual tradition where student-athletes gather to celebrate each others’ achievements, both on and off the field. Awards Include:

Commodores of the Year

Awarded to a graduating senior student-athletes who best represents their team, the student-athlete body, and the campus community.

  • 2020-2021 Commodore of the Year: Cameron Robinson (Football)
  • 2020-2021 Commodore of the Year: Kaley Buchanan (Swim)
  • 2019-2020 Commodore of the Year: Harrison Ray (Baseball)
  • 2019-2020 Commodore of the Year: Nemo Sanchez (Swimming)
  • 2018-2019 Commodore of the Year: Patrick Martin (Men’s Golf)
  • 2018-2019 Commodore of the Year: Fernanda Contreras (Women’s Tennis)

Jim Robins Award

The Jim Robins Award is given annually to perpetuate the memory of James A. Robins, class of 1892, whose life and teaching exemplified selfless devotion to learning, to honor, to participate in sports and to service to youth and Vanderbilt. It is awarded to the senior student-athlete in whose life these virtues are most evident.

  • 2020-2021: Melissa Hawkins (Lacrosse)
  • 2019-2020: Cody Markel (Football)
  • 2018-2019: Melanie Becker (Lacrosse)

Social Impact Award

Awarded to a student-athlete who has performed numerous hours of community service and has made a significant contribution to the Nashville community.

  • 2020-2021: Lindsey Gordon (Swimming)
  • 2019-2020: Cody Markel (Football)
  • 2018-2019: Gabby Rademaker (Soccer)

Dr. Jerry Reves Award

Awarded to the graduating senior student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA.

  • 2020-2021: Nicki Dadino (Lacrosse)
  • 2019-2020: Kendall Derry (Women’s Cross Country)
  • 2018-2019: Kristin Quah (Bowling)

Male Player of the Year

Awarded to the student-athlete who had the most significant athletic impact on their team.

  • 2020-2021: Matthew Estopinal (Men’s Cross Country)
  • 2019-2020: John Augenstein (Men’s Golf)
  • 2018-2019: Will Gordon (Men’s Golf)

Female Player of the Year

Awarded to the student-athlete who had the most significant athletic impact on their team.

  • 2020-2021: Gabby Fornia (Lacrosse)
  • 2019-2020: Nia Dorsey (Soccer)
  • 2018-2019: Kristen Denk (Track & Field)

“Play of the Year”

Awarded to the student-athlete who had the most outstanding play that was either a turning point in their season or the cause of a significant moment or win for their team.

  • 2020-2021: Sarah Fuller, the first woman to play and score in a Power 5 game (Soccer & Football)
  • 2019-2020: Baseball’s National Championship
  • 2018-2019: Bowling’s NCAA Championship

Newcomer of the Year

Awarded to the student-athlete who is either a freshman or a first-year transfer who had the most significant impact on their team.

  • 2020-2021: Corey Pacernick (Men’s Cross Country)
  • 2020-2021: Haley Bishop (Track & Field)
  • 2019-2020: Scotty Pippen Jr. (Men’s Basketball)
  • 2019-2020: Koi Love (Women’s Basketball)
  • 2018-2019: Aaron Nesmith (Men’s Basketball)
  • 2018-2019: Haley Walker (Women’s Cross Country)

Comeback Player of the Year

Awarded to a student-athlete who has either triumphed over physical adversity or a student-athlete who has persevered to achieve their goals in their respected sport.

  • 2020-2021: Hugh Fisher (Baseball)
  • 2020-2021: Christina Rosca (Women’s Tennis)
  • 2019-2020: Cam Johnson (Football)
  • 2019-2020: Hannon Eberts (Soccer)
  • 2018-2019: JJ Bleday (Baseball)
  • 2018-2019: Haley Hopkins (Soccer)

Godfrey Dillard Award

Awarded to a student-athlete who has overcome obstacles on or off the field.

  • 2020-2021: Cameron Robinson (Football)
  • 2019-2020: Andre Mintze (Football)
  • 2017-2018: Turner Cockrell (Football)

Perry Wallace Courage Award

The Perry Wallace Courage Award was established in 2014 to honor the legacy of former Vanderbilt Men’s Basketball player, Perry Wallace, the first black varsity basketball player in SEC history. This is awarded to a student-athlete(s) who has displayed uncommon courage.

  • 2020-2021: The members of the Black Student-Athlete Group
  • 2020-2021: All Vanderbilt Student-Athletes

Professional Development


A Commitment to Professional Development places a priority on developing work experiences outside of and after  intercollegiate sports. The program acquaints student-athletes with the storytelling process,  job searching, networking opportunities, and ultimately assists with career placement. As the Student-Athlete Development program works towards the development of the total person, the ultimate goal is to guide individuals to find their rewarding journeys and careers.

Black and Gold Club

The Black and Gold Club is Vanderbilt’s athletics alumni network open to all former student-athletes, spirit, student managers and student training staff. The Black and Gold Club has the unique opportunity to connect current student-athletes with former Vanderbilt student-athletes for opportunities such as mentoring partnerships, networking sessions, and collaborative events. To find out more how to sign up or how to co-host an event with the Black and Gold Club, reach out here

Athlete Network

Founded by former student-athletes, Athlete Network is a platform to better connect student-athletes with opportunities and individuals in their program. To sign into your Athlete Network account, click here.

Career Center - Doreways

The Career Center is Vanderbilt University’s resource for all students to gain resources and guidance on career development. Doreways is the Career Center’s online resource where you can learn about and connect to professional opportunities on and off-campus. Check out your Doreways account here.

Professional Documents

Looking for resources for resume, cover letters, and personal statement tips/examples? Check GamePlan for these resource.


Each year Student-Athlete Development offers workshops specific to student-athletes’ stated needs around professional development. The following are a list of past examples. Check your TeamWorks for our current offerings. If you have a request or would like to organize a workshop in collaboration with a student org and SADev, please contact the Director of Career Development, NAME.

Leadership Development

Student-Athlete Advisory Committee

Student-Athlete Advisory Council

SAAC is a  committee comprised of two representatives from each varsity team, selected for leadership capabilities provides Vanderbilt University student-athletes the opportunity to:

  • Communicate with and support other student-athletes.
  • Have a voice to the Athletics administration and the entire University community.
  • Develop leadership skills. Leaders of Vanderbilt’s SAAC may go on to represent the University at the SEC level and at the NCAA level.
  • Participate in community service activities, social activities, and programs designed to raise awareness about athletic events and the accomplishments of student-athletes.


Black Student-Athlete Group

BSAG is a student group that was formed to  improve the Black student-athlete experience at Vanderbilt University. The Black Student-Athlete Group offers student-athletes space to voice their experience and important feedback for senior administration. 

2021-2022 Representatives

Taiya Shelby | Co-President


Elijah McAlister | Co-President

Be An Anchor

Be An Anchor is a leadership training program made up of two representatives from each sports. Partnering with Growing Leaders, Vanderbilt Student-Athlete Development trains curriculum that provides research-based and customizable sports leadership training to teach timeless life and sports leadership skills in an engaging, memorable way for the student-athletes. The Growing Leaders curriculum introduces powerful leadership habits and principles rooted in real life. The unique and transformative encounters are a part of an ongoing process that builds leadership habits and attitudes.

Social Impact


A Commitment to Social Impact is our challenge to our student-athletes to develop an understanding of the communities they touch and how they want to create a lasting impact on those. Specifically it is a charge to  give back to the Nashville community and to broadly to persons in need through a programs of service. Our student-athletes will be given opportunities to develop the foundation for a lifelong commitment to impacting their communities no matter where they find themselves. 

Dancing Dores

Functioning as a part of Miracle Network Dance Marathon, Dancing Dores is a philanthropic event to raise funds for over 150 children’s hospitals that support 10 million kids each year across the country. Dancing Dores collaboration with Vanderbilt Athletics began from Andre Mintz’s summer internship project. Dancing Dores has raised over $100,00 over it’s three years of partnership and continues to be a meaningful experience for student-athletes. Each year, every sport is represented in Dance Marathon. To register your team for Dance Marathon, please contact the Dance Marathon Executive Team, found below:

Whitney Brown | Dancing Dores President |

Passion Project

Committed to your interests, we want to know where and how you want to make an impact. If you have an idea for a social impact project that is not currently being implemented, please reach out to Jax Collins at  or email to Student-Athlete Development email at



As a university, Vanderbilt put forth a promise of excellence as outlined in Vanderbilt Athletics’ Strategic Plan. A key pillar on which this plan stands is a “rich and pioneering history and commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Vanderbilt University pledged to become a more diverse and inclusive Vanderbilt, publishing its EDI Report and recommitting to new reconciliation practices. To uphold these values, Student-Athlete Development not only commits to adhering to the policies and procedures outlined by the university, but also taking a proactive step in programming imaginative ways to understand the whole person including discussing race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, disability, sex, gender, expression, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

If there is an EDI initiative you want to facilitate in collaboration with a student org and your fellow student-athletes, please reach out to Jax Collins at  or email to Student-Athlete Development email at

Impact Time

Use this link to log your time making an impact in your community or check your team or department status.


Community partner interested in connecting to make a difference with our student-athletes? Please reach out to Jax Collins at  or email to Student-Athlete Development email at

Name, Image, Likeness

Mission Statement

The objective of Vanderbilt Athletics’ name, image, and likeness programming is simply to coach and to support: a model to be carried forward as student-athletes graduate and continue their roles as leaders wherever they find themselves. As first and second year student-athletes, this program will coach their already developing leadership skills and prepare them for capitalizing on personal branding opportunities. As they progress and near graduation, student-athletes will be supported by the program with resources, guidance, and experiential opportunities. This enterprising programming will holistically support student-athletes to fully leverage their time on and off campus. 

Focus Areas

  • Financial Fluency: Students will be prepared with the necessary knowledge and confidence to discuss and perform basic financial necessities in their personal and professional endeavors in order to manage their finances including financial aid, taxes, etc.
  • Social Impact: Student-athletes will be given tools to be changemakers in their communities to supplement experiences on and off the field thus crafting a narrative of leadership experiences. Students will gain an understanding of social impact and socially conscious spaces.
  • Entrepreneurship: Students will develop a personal mission and ethos that is translatable through a variety of social media platforms, present in their communication skills, technical skills, and form the foundation of business pursuits. Additionally, students will learn foundational business models and strategies with a particular focus on startup and social impact businesses. Students will apply their fundamental knowledge through launching themselves.
  • Value Creation: Students will consider their normative ethics against their behavioral to solidify a personal code of ethics. Students will develop skills to discuss holistic worth in future professional, sponsor, or related contractual agreements. Students will develop negotiation skills to assist in determining value, value creation, and value claiming in professional interactions.  

Risk Management: Students will understand and navigate complicated contractual language and obligations to be clear of their expectations and their counterparty’s expectations prior to and after committing to a contract. Students will have access to legal resources to determine the validity and compliance regulation of deals.

Protocols and Resources

As of September 13, 2021, Vanderbilt Athletics Compliance requires the following of student-athletes regarding NIL:


  • Vanderbilt Student-Athletes are required to report their compensation involvement through the compliance office (Teamworks).


Vanderbilt Student-Athletes are prohibited from involvement name, image, or likeness activities that:

  • Promote gambling, tobacco, alcohol, and adult entertainment.
  • Are considered to be in conflict with the values of the institution.
  • Are considered to be in conflict with the institution’s intellectual property.


Agents are permitted to be hired by Vanderbilt Student-Athletes so far as the agent is appropriately accredited and compensated. Agents cannot agree to serve as a part of the student-athlete’s NIL compensation deal.

All documents and Resources can be found via Teamworks. For more information, contact Jax Collins,