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Opening Doors: Bryanna Hames '18 says Elon has equipped her with knowledge, ingenuity

The "Opening Doors" story series celebrates the power of scholarships to change the lives of Elon students and the generosity of donors who make this transformation possible.

Bryanna Hames competing in the 2017 NCAA Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in June. (Eric Evans Photography)

The "Opening Doors" story series celebrates the power of scholarships to change the lives of Elon students and the generosity of donors who make this transformation possible.


By Bryanna Hames

I started my athletic career as a basketball player, playing for club teams and my middle and high school teams, and really wanted to be the best at that. The truth was, I was behind, and trying to catch up to all-star players by the time recruiting began would be challenging. I wanted to be the best at something and I wanted to leave my mark in the sports world. In ninth grade, I went out for the varsity track and field team and made it. I made it for the 200, 100, long jump and the throws. I decided to stick with the throwing events and from there I formed the passion for the sport I love today. 
When I realized that throwing was my path and would provide a platform for me to go to college without burdening my family financially, I researched for countless hours about top track and field universities, and completed numerous questionnaires. The process was challenging. I was good enough to compete at a power-five conference school, but my focus wasn't just on being the best athlete. I wanted to be the best student and athlete I could be. I also knew my family couldn't afford an expensive college and I was determined that I would work hard enough to be offered a full athletic scholarship.
From the beginning, Elon made its name known in my household, with consistent interest, phone calls, and genuine care for my well-being long term. When Elon offered me a scholarship the summer going into my senior year, I was ecstatic and knew it was the beginning of something great. I wanted to make my mark and help show the rest of the world how great Elon is and showcase my talents. I couldn't do that at many other schools I had considered. I needed to go somewhere that needed me just as much as I needed them and I wanted to maximize my potential as an athlete and a student.
I entered college as a biology major with a pre-med track, but I determined that wasn't the right path for me. By the spring of my freshman year, I decided to pursue strategic communications. I loved it, but I was still interested in doing more, so I started to take business classes. By the spring of my sophomore year I was set on completing a double major in communications and business.
Undoubtedly, my first three years at Elon have been some of my best years, surrounded by professors, coaches and people determined to see me succeed.
Qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field National Championships for the first time in school history last year will by far be in my top-three Elon moments. I have never been one to back down from a challenge and, truthfully, I was disappointed I hadn't made it the year prior. I train for the big moments, the moment of release and the feeling of a strong discus throw. There is honestly no better feeling and to be competing on a stage with the top throwers in the country was incredible.
Our team has created such a firestorm since we've entered the CAA a few years ago. And to even claim I've been a part of this all-star team is incredible. I am blessed to say I am a part of the first team to win a CAA championship title at Elon, but even more so to be the first to ever be back-to-back champions.
Elon has taught me so much about myself and given me a home. It has given me experiences that other universities cannot match. One of my all-time favorite memories of college is having the opportunity to study abroad in Greece with my team last November. I had never traveled outside of the U.S. and growing up, my family didn't travel much. Going abroad, experiencing a different culture, competing overseas, and being with some of my favorite people was life-altering. I had the opportunity to take six weeks of coursework leading up to the trip and it was fascinating.
With all the athletic success, Elon has not fallen short of preparing me for my post-collegiate career. As a double major in marketing and strategic communications, I have received an excellent education in each field from professors and mentors who have excelled in their respected professions. I currently intern for one of the largest digital marketing and media companies in the country, Townsquare Interactive. Through the Elon Job Network and LinkedIn I was able to find an internship and have been learning more about hands-on digital marketing. The business school guided me through professional development tactics, improved my resume, and conducted mock interviews with me for multiple internship opportunities. I continue to be amazed by how much Elon offers. The knowledge and ingenuity the university equips us with is priceless.  My internship has been a stepping-stone in my career and allowed me to see what I really am passionate about and what I bring to the table as a marketing professional.
I can't talk about my Elon journey without mentioning my faith. As a sophomore, I helped start FCA at Elon, and it is arguably my greatest accomplishment since attending the university.  The opportunity to attend Elon on a full scholarship and participate on the track and field team has provided me such a tremendous foundation for the rest of my life.  I am a better student, Christian, athlete, friend, daughter and person because of the things I experienced over my time at the university.  I am forever grateful and in love with the university I chose four years ago. 

Long Live Elon and go Phoenix!

Owen Covington,
12/6/2017 1:05 PM