On Tuesday, March 21, Kean conducted its Women Empowerment Series by launching Play Like a Girl. In this panel, Brianna Shaw, event facilitator and women’s swimming team member, led this event to celebrate women in sports.
“We are ensuring that women’s stories are heard and valued,” Shaw said.
Play Like a Girl is a program first conducted by Shaw when she was a residential assistant. The idea behind this event was to create more gender balance and equality. This goal became a panel interview where inspirational women, from different backgrounds and sports, discuss their trials, tribulations, and experiences.
Predominantly every women’s sports team at Kean University was in attendance as well as athletic trainers, male athletes, and athletic directors. Play Like a Girl is the second part of the empowerment series following their Monday, March 21 event, Temples Are Sacred and So Are YOU featuring Karima McKenzie, founder of T&AT Solutions.
The panel included three women with athletic roots which varied in dexterity. The featured guests of Play Like a Girl were:
- Brianna Lee, managing assistant director of Sports Medicine
- Danielle Todman, head coach of Kean University Cross Country
- Amanda Martin, assistant coach of South Jersey Aquatic Club
“Sports has been a male-dominant field,” Lee said. “I’m happy I get to change that path.”
Lee has been a certified athletic trainer for ten years for Divisions I, II, and III athletes. Lee has been credited with changing the lives and trajectories of many students at Kean. She's also been influential in the rehabilitation processes of many athletes.
Todman was 16 years active in the Air Force and attended Bucknell University. At her university, she was part of the track and field team and competed for the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the panel, Todman described women in sports as trailblazers.
“What it means to be a woman in sports is that we’re creating history every time we touch something,” Todman said. “For all the women in here, understand that you are history.”
Martin was a 13-time Division I All-American Athlete and competed in Olympic trials as well as completing three Ironmans. Martin described being a female athlete as something to be proud of because they’re strong women who’ve experienced the highest of the highs and lowest of the lows.
“It’s really important to have strong women in society as well as strong men,” Martin said.