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SAAC Spotlight: Central Washington's Kiah Jones
Kiah Jones was named All-GNAC Honorable Mention this season after finishing with 251 kills, 58 blocks and 104 digs.
Kiah Jones was named All-GNAC Honorable Mention this season after finishing with 251 kills, 58 blocks and 104 digs.
Kiah Jones.
Kiah Jones.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, GNACsports.com uses this space to profile conference student-athletes who are members of their respective institutions' Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). In addition to providing feedback on the student-athlete experience, conference and institutional SAAC members also offer input on the rules, regulations and policies that affect student-athletes' lives on NCAA member institution campuses. Click here for more information on the function of SAAC at the NCAA level.

Name: Kiah Jones
School: Central Washington University
Sport: Volleyball
Year: Junior
Major: Cellular & Molecular Biology/Pre-Med
Hometown: Port Angeles, Wash.

Extracurricular activities: Parisitology/ Immunology Research lab (hookworm), biology tutor, Douglas Honors College and Phi Kappa Phi.

Why did you choose to attend CWU? The amazing volleyball program and biology department! Also, the ability to be in the Honors College.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why? BIO 435/535 Flow Cytometry. This class was an amazing experience because it's very rare that undergraduate students get to work on a flow cytometer as not many universities have them due to expensiveness. The ability to use the machine makes you very attractive to employers at any biological company. Also, the techniques I learned for the class were very beneficial, and we got to plan individual projects that allowed for us to have a lot of independence and responsibility.

Who is your favorite professor you've had in college and what did you enjoy about learning from him or her? My favorite professor is Dr. Blaise Dondji. He is my research professor, but I also have had him for introductory biology classes as well as the Flow Cytometry class. Dr. Dondji is always so happy to be teaching, and makes learning difficult material enjoyable. He also has so much experience in his field, and I've learned so much from him. He also has an amazing story, being born in Cameroon and overcoming many obstacles. He is passionate about his field and works to give so much back to his community. Finally, he always encourages you to push yourself and work harder, and is very uplifting and inspirational.

Years involved in SAAC: Three.

The reason I chose to get involved in SAAC: My good friend, Lauren Herseth, was president at the time. She told me about all the opportunities SAAC provided to get involved with community service, especially at the middle schools in town.

Most memorable SAAC activity: Field Day at Morgan Middle School, playing kickball with all the kids. It was a blast.

If I could change one NCAA rule, it would be: Rules that make student athletes sit out a year when they transfer! While I've had an awesome experience at my institution, not all people do. It's so stressful to be recruited in the first place, and then to realize you don't like where you decided to go to school. I can't even imagine that feeling! But rather than support athletes who are brave enough to transfer to try to make themselves happier and have a good college experience, we penalize them. Who cares if they transfer within conference or between conferences? Let them make the changes they need to be happy, and not stand in their way!

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics? Always make time to RELAX. The life of a student athlete is so stressful and school work is so time sensitive, but if you don't take time to enjoy life then you are missing out on an important part of college.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete? It means being a part of a close knit athletic family. Everyone knows everyone, and the support between teams and from administration is impeccable.

Current mentor(s): Mario Andaya, Chloe Solum, Blaise Dondji and Lucinda Carnell

Future goals after school: I hope to attend Medical School for Dermatology.

Biggest obstacle overcame during collegiate career: Balancing my hectic research lab schedule with my volleyball career! 

Best advice I’d give to an incoming freshman: Do everything. Join a club, take honors college classes, get involved with research. College is a time to experience it all, and while athletics is a big part, there's so much more!

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)? Pope Francis, because he is redefining Catholicism, and promoting love and acceptance worldwide. This could be the most revolutionary papacy the world has ever seen. He is involved at a global level with international and humanitarian issues and I truly admire all that he does and all that he stands for.

Favorite sports team: Well my Central Washington Wildcats of course! And the Mariners!

Favorite athlete: Dustin Ackley (member of the Seattle Mariners).

Most memorable sports-related moment: Winning districts in basketball with both my older sister and then my younger sister. Cutting down a net, while standing on that ladder was one of the most amazing feelings, and being able to play with my sisters was such a precious gift.

One thing that people don't know about me is: I am a very good shot! My dad calls me dead eye, and the first time I went out shooting with my boyfriend, I told him I was okay with a shotgun and then proceeded to kick his butt at knock out!

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