INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – Earlham College senior student-athlete Hannah Franklin served on the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant External Review Panel.
The Innovations grant program provides $100,000 in grants annually to NCAA member institutions to fund research and pilot programs that support student-athlete well-being and mental health.
"It was an amazing experience to be able to meet people from all over the country that are excelling in their fields," Franklin said. "From sport psychologists, athletic directors, coaches, and many more, all of them came together for a common goal. Being able to hear all of the different perspectives on each proposal helped to enrich the experience and make it so we made the best decision possible on which institutions would receive the grant funding."
The panel that Franklin served on reviewed the 63 proposals and selected the grant awardees was composed of athletics administrators, mental health practitioners, current student-athletes and scholars representing all three NCAA divisions. The winners were announced on Tuesday, Feb. 15.
"It was an honor to be the only Division III student-athlete asked to be a representative on the panel," said Franklin. Being the voice for Division III student-athletes all over the country on which proposals would be the most beneficial was a task I didn't take lightly."
Sitting in on all 63 proposals opened Franklin's eyes to her experience as a student-athlete at Earlham.
"Beyond the actual in-person meeting, reading all of the proposals for the NCAA innovations grant, which was required to have a wellness/mental health focus, made me reflect on what types of initiatives we are already had in place on our campus and also which ones could be implemented and improve the student-athlete experience here at Earlham," she said.
John Morris, chair of the panel and director athletics at Tufts University (Massachusetts), believed it was vitally important to include student-athletes on the panel.
"Having the opportunity to work with Dominic, Iman and Hannah reminded our entire committee once again just how impressive our student-athletes are across all three divisions of the NCAA," Morris said. "Dominic, Iman and Hannah were thoughtful, conscientious and insightful, and their input and perspectives were invaluable to the committee as we determined which grant projects would have the greatest potential to positively impact and improve the well-being of student-athletes across the country."
Franklin, who recently became the 13th member of the 1,000-point club, concludes her women's basketball career against Mount St. Joseph University on Saturday. Her collegiate athletic career will continue, however, as Franklin is a member of the Quakers' outdoor track and field team.