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SAAC Spotlight: Simon Fraser's Rachel Vanstone
Rachel Vanstone totaled 16 kills in 31 sets played this season for the Clan.
Rachel Vanstone totaled 16 kills in 31 sets played this season for the Clan.
Rachel Vanstone.
Rachel Vanstone.

Friday, January 29, 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: Rachel Vanstone
School: Simon Fraser University
Sport: Volleyball
Year: Junior
Major: Psychology & Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
Hometown: Nanaimo B.C.

Extracurricular activities: Writing music and poetry, reading, watching movies, hanging out with friends & family, hiking/walking/running in some of the most beautiful routes British Columbia has to offer and eating pizza and any/all Italian food.

Why did you choose to attend SFU? SFU appealed to me because of the location, the impressive academic programs, and the fact that they are the only school in Canada to compete in NCAA.

What is your favorite class you have taken in college and why? My favorite classes were my Gender and Pop-culture class, and my Train Wrecks, Gold Diggers, and Yummy Mummies: Feminism and Contemporary Celebrity Culture class. Both of these classes discussed the importance of gender and sexuality on celebrities and characters in television or film and how these affect the sexualities and genders of western societies in particular. I am very interested in how the media and things seen in the media affect children, adolescents, and young adults’ sexuality and gender which thus affects the way that these people move through life. 

Who is your favorite professor you've had in college and what did you enjoy about learning from him or her? My favorite professors are Lucas Crawford and Coleman Nye. These are two GSWS prof's who are very passionate about their work. They are two of the smartest and most intuitive people that I have ever been in contact with, which built a passion in me for the major. These professors encourage students’ opinions in combination with learned theories to help students make their own inferences and opinions on topics being discussed. I constantly search for classes taught by these professors because of the passion and brilliance they present when they are teaching.

Years involved in SAAC: Four.

The reason I chose to get involved in SAAC: I am someone who enjoys inclusiveness and SAAC promotes this through events, parties, and fundraisers planned to encourage cohesiveness of all the athletes that attend SFU. It establishes an athletic culture within the SFU athletics community to promote friendships and togetherness as a school.

Most memorable SAAC activity: My most memorable SAAC activity was a Clan Auction that was put on as a fundraiser. Things were auctioned off by donations or something purchased. This was one of the most successful events that we have done raising a major amount of money for charity! It was a lot of fun getting every team out to the fundraiser to participate in the auction making it a very successful and important event

What is the most important thing you've learned from balancing the demands of athletics and academics? Time management. Laying out your schedule in a way that can incorporate athletics, school, and free time is difficult and most often, free time is not accessible but the balance between these things is important. Knowing when to finish homework, classes, and readings based around your athletic schedule can be frustrating because it limits free time but this is what student athletes sign up for! What I have learned is to take athletics as your free time and as a break from school and stress because at the end of the day your team is your family, and that’s pretty amazing to be with them for so many hours of the day.

What does it mean to be a Division II student-athlete? Passion, discipline and hard work.

Future goals after school: To travel everywhere, attend a masters and PhD program so I can become a sex therapist, and to be happy in whatever I do.

Biggest obstacle overcame during collegiate career: I suffered from a very severe concussion in my third year which forced me to red-shirt that season.

Best advice I’d give to an incoming freshman: STUDY and don't be shy! The classes you take at the university will be ones that challenge you so even if you think you have a grasp on concepts, study anyways! Be willing to meet people and put yourself out there because the friends I have met here because of athletics are some of the most important people in my life.

If I could spend the day with one person (past or present), who would it be (and why)? Jennifer Lawrence because she's a boss, and all of the Spice Girls because they were some of the trailblazers in gender equality.

Favorite sports team: Hockey: Montreal Canadians (Habs); Football: Seattle Seahawks; Baseball: San Francisco Giants

Favorite athlete: Brendan Gallagher (Montreal Canadians hockey player), and Alison McKay (SFU volleyball libero). Both of these athletes are scrappy, they never give up and seem to bring their teams together.

Most memorable sports-related moment: In tenth grade, my coach told me to serve short for the game winner, which decided whether or not we progressed on to nationals. I was terrified because my short serves were very inconsistent. I served short and got an ace and we won the game!

One thing that people don't know about me is: I attended a performing arts high school for singing and acting. I can recite the entire "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" movie and sing every word of "Grease!" the movie.

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