SAAC Spotlight: Alaska's Grace Nelson
Grace Nelson has a career-best air rifle score of 591. She placed 30th in air rifle and 34th in smallbore at last year's Patriot Rifle Conference Championships.
Grace Nelson has a career-best air rifle score of 591. She placed 30th in air rifle and 34th in smallbore at last year's Patriot Rifle Conference Championships.
Grace Nelson
Grace Nelson

Friday, December 27, 2019

Part of a regular series.

Throughout the year, 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.

Name: Grace Nelson
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Year: Senior
Natural Resource Management
Minor: Journalism
Lititz, Pennsylvania

Why Did You Choose To Attend Alaska?: I initially chose Alaska because I want to live in Alaska and I wanted to be on the rifle team. I fell in love with UAF because it has a small school atmosphere with large school opportunities. The faculty and staff invest in individuals and strive to help each student succeed.

What Is Your Favorite Class You Have Taken And Why?: Natural Resources at High Latitudes has been my favorite class so far. In the 10-day field class, a group of 12 students and two professors loaded up into vans and drove around Alaska, stopping along the way to see the beauty of Alaska and to speak with professionals in the natural resource field.

Who Is Your Favorite Professor And What Did You Enjoy About Learning From Him Or Her?: Dr. David Valentine and Dr. Peter Fix co-taught my favorite class. They focused on teaching us through hands-on problem solving and discussion.

Years Involved In SAAC: Three years.

The Reason You Chose To Get Involved In SAAC: I saw SAAC as an opportunity to make a difference in the culture surrounding athletics on campus and in the community. I wanted to work with other student-athletes to positively impact the campus and community that has given so much to us.

Most Memorable SAAC Activity To Date: The Nanook Olympics is always a memorable event. Every spring, the entire department gets together and competes against each other in all of the sports. Aside from it being a ton of fun, we also find a new appreciation for the skills required for each sport.

How Do You Feel Participating In SAAC Will Help You In Life After You Graduate?: SAAC has helped me to grow as a person. Freshman Grace would have laughed at the suggestion of being SAAC president. SAAC has allowed me to improve my leadership and communication skills, which will be critical in my professional career.

What Does It Mean To You To Be A Division II Student-Athlete?: Being a Division II student-athlete means that I can be successful in my academic program while competing in my sport.

What Is The Most Important Thing You’ve Learned About Balancing Athletics And Academics?: The most important thing I have learned from being a student-athlete is the importance of scheduling time to recharge. Taking time off to be with family or friends or just to be alone is key when trying to stay focused.

Biggest Obstacle Overcome During Your Collegiate Career: The fact that a day only has 24 hours in it has been my biggest obstacle. Time management is one of the first things I had to learn as a student. I have come a long way since my freshman year but I still have a lot to learn.

Favorite Thing About Competing In The GNAC: Being a part of a conference that has members who care about making a difference on their campuses and in their communities.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: My most memorable sports-related moment was competing in the 2019 Patriot Rifle Conference Championship. Alaska hosted the competition and we moved the range into the gym. The entire athletic department helped to set up and tear down the event. The entire event had a lot of energy, which made it fun.

Current Mentor(s): My mom is my biggest mentor. I am always calling her to ask her how to make some sort of dish or just to talk about life. She always has the best advice.

Best Advice You’d Give To An Incoming Freshman: Get involved and stay engaged. There are so many cool opportunities in college so take advantage of them.

If You Could Spend The Day With One Person (Past Or Present), Who Would It Be (And Why)?: I would love to spend the day with C. S. Lewis. He is my favorite author and I would enjoy talking to him about his writing and ideas.

Extracurricular Activities: I am currently interning with Alaska Fish and Game and working in its subsistence division. I also work for the Alaska sports information office.

Future Goals After Graduation: I hope to find a job in the natural resources field, specifically in public education. I would also like to stay involved in the shooting sports.

Favorite Sports Team: Philadelphia Flyers.

Favorite Athlete: Kim Rhode. She is the first Olympian to win a medal at six consecutive Summer Olympics.

One Thing People Don’t Know About You Is: I am a second-degree black belt.