Business alumna finds her passion in academic advising for student-athletes
For Brenna Anderson ’15 growing up in the small northwest Washington community of Burlington, where she starred as student-athlete, would eventually pay dividends in the future for another Pacific Northwest small town in the Rogue Valley of Oregon. Participating in basketball, Brenna showed strong prowess and was recruited by former SOU women’s basketball coach Lynn Kennedy. But she chose not to come to Ashland right away and decided to play locally at Skagit Valley Community College for two years, just fifteen minutes away from home. She earned her associate’s degree there and when Coach Kennedy continued to recruit her, she signed a letter of intent and made the move to Ashland to enroll at SOU in 2013. “I was very comfortable with Ashland after growing up in a tight knit, small community. Plus, Ashland had a really nice vibe that was attractive,” she said.
On campus, Brenna pursued a business degree while participating as a student-athlete in basketball, serving on the Student-Athlete Advisory Council and working part time at Lark’s Restaurant in downtown Ashland. “I was really proud of being a student-athlete at SOU. I loved the small college atmosphere and my professors were great mentors,” she said. She cited business professors Byron Marlowe and Dennis Slattery for their guidance, leadership and expertise. “Both of those professors were very accommodating and flexible about missing coursework and assignments from basketball road trips and I really appreciated how they went out of their way for me,” she added.
During her senior year, she had an internship with the marketing office at Lithia in Medford and her basketball career culminated with a trip to the NAIA national tourney in Sioux Falls, Iowa, where the Raiders won one game and lost one. All told, during Brenna’s two years at SOU, her basketball team was a remarkable 52-13. “I loved our teams and we had a really nice chemistry on campus, during practice and in games. All of my teammates were close and, in most cases, even seven or eight years later, we still are,” she said. She graduated in 2015 with her bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in hospitality and tourism management.
After graduation, she continued to work at Lark’s for several months then moved back to Washington where she worked for a tech company for a short time. She found that it wasn’t her passion so she pursued a master’s degree in athletic administration at Concordia University, graduating in 2018. She secured a position with Seattle Pacific University as a student success counselor then was hired by the University of Washington Department of Athletics as an academic advisor for men’s soccer and also took on academic counseling and guiding 20 football players who were struggling academically. Brenna departed Seattle and the UW after working there from 2019-21 to pursue a position at a small, 3,000 student, NCAA D-II school in Durango, Colorado, called Fort Lewis College.
At Fort Lewis, she was hired as the Assistant Athletic Director – Student-Athlete Success/SWA (Senior Women’s Administrator) in the department, where she advises all 320 of the Skyhawks’ student-athletes in 14 inter-collegiate sports. “It’s a lot of hard work but it is what I am most passionate about, seeing our athletes earning their degrees while contributing to the success of the college,” she said. “I love being back at a small school where everyone interacts with the community and the people on campus know each other.”
“My time being a student-athlete at SOU is something I will cherish forever. I made lifelong friendships, connections and memories. I grew as an athlete, person and professional, and wouldn’t be where I am today without my experience at SOU. Go Raiders!”
Learn more: Fort Lewis Skyhawks Athletics