A'Jah Davis is a kinesiology major from DeKalb, IL
Hometown: DeKalb, IL
Year: Expected graduation: 2023
Minor: Sport management
What scholarships did you receive and why did you receive them? How has the financial support impacted your experience at NIU?
I received a Huskie Legacy scholarship (my mom is an alumna). I also received a full athletic scholarship, which allows me to graduate college with no student loans. I am thankful that my parents pushed me in academics and athletics, so I was able to receive the scholarship. I am also grateful to the NIU women’s basketball coaches for seeing my ability and trusting that I will live up to the standards of the program and university!
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Growing up, I wanted to be a police officer. That changed as I started to compete athletically at a high level. Injuries amongst myself and my teammates became common. I was so intrigued by learning about the human body and how to prevent injuries. So, I decided to major in kinesiology, the study of human movement with a focus in rehabilitation. After graduation in May, I will look to pursue my master’s in athletic training.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
Kinesiology is my major and sport management is my minor. I love being an athlete and being around that population. Injuries are a part of being an athlete, and studying how your body moves allows me to understand injuries more. As far as sport management, I wanted to have some type of background in managing sports. It makes you that more appreciative for every little thing that goes on to allow your program to succeed.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
Something that I found surprising about NIU was the student population. It is diverse, and NIU administration makes it very inclusive and open for people to grow and learn.
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
I primarily connected with my classmates in the classroom. Once you get into your major, you see the same people every day, so it allows you to build relationships and connect with those people.
Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
I am involved with Huskie Athlete Mentoring, Lead Huskie, Captain Council, the NIU diversity and inclusion committee, the University Honors Program and the College of Education Student Advisory Committee. Each group allows me to grow in a different aspect. It also allows me to interact and grow with different people outside of my sport and try to make a change for the better.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
Student-Athlete Academic Support Services (SAASS), the University Writing Center and the NIU Honors Program. SAASS is specifically for student-athletes, and I think they do a tremendous job helping student-athletes with time management, planning and holding us accountable to get the help we need. They are also very supportive on and off the playing field. It has made my time here at NIU so much easier. The University Writing Center was probably my best friend my first two years of college. Whatever help you need, from writing an email to writing a paper, they will help you—and it’s free! The honors program has been super-supportive and rewarding with many great opportunities to learn and grow in your field of study.
What Honors Program opportunities or support have helped you get closer to your academic or career goals so far?
The ability to attend honors-only courses. It makes the course or assignments more personal.
What do you enjoy the most about the Honors Program?
The variety of opportunities that are present in the program.
Who has been one of your favorite instructors/professors and why? What course did they teach?
Dr. Emerson Sebastião (KNPE 445) and Dr. Brandon Male (KNPE 471) have both been very influential on my academic career. Dr. Sebastião was the only professor to invite me to be a part of a research study, where I actually got to help set up, direct and review the study. Dr. Male was very personal and helped me learn ways to improve high-caliber athletes.
How have you benefited by attending class regularly?
When you attend class daily, you have the opportunity to learn and maximize every concept and opportunity that is presented.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
Besides the Convocation Center (for obvious reasons), I enjoy the Holmes Student Center. I don't have much time to be in there, but when I do, I love seeing so many active organizations and students supporting each other.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
To go to a school where you feel like you can grow and make an impact. If you are undecided on a major, find a school that has multiple majors of interest.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
Time management and allowing time for yourself. I think allowing time for you to do whatever you need and want is underappreciated. Being a student who is active in many organizations—let alone a student-athlete—is hard. Taking time for yourself is important and should be stressed more.
What do you do to relax or recharge?
I typically like to grab coffee or a cold beverage and listen to music.
Follow @HuskiesofNIU on Instagram and see the university through the eyes a different Huskie each week