JaVon Hill Class of 2014
College: University of Missouri – Columbia (2014 – 2018)
Degree: BS in Parks, Recreation and Sport
Advanced Degree: MA in Higher Education Administration – UMKC, 2020
Current Occupation: Academic Support Intern at Villanova University
The overall experience at UA has had the greatest impact on where I am today. The militant-like college atmosphere is something we didn’t always appreciate when we were younger, but most of us now have given thanks to what effect it’s had on our current lives. UA taught us how to be mentally strong, persist through all adversity, and most importantly how to DREAM BIG! Without UA, I probably would’ve been the average kid from the inner city who wanted to play professional sports. In comparison to other schools in the area, UA shined light on a multitude of areas that sparked interest in our minds. We were able to look at life and pinpoint exactly what it is we wanted to achieve!
As I continued to further my education after high school – I began to realize how much more prepared I was for college than my peers. Mentally and academically – my peers just struggled a lot more than myself. Things that may have been simple to me at the time were extremely challenging for those around me. The college-like atmosphere UA provided me with the necessary tools needed to adjust and adapt to certain environments.
In May of 2020, I completed my degree from UMKC with my Masters of Arts in Higher Education Administration. I recently had the opportunity of moving to Pennsylvania and attaining a position as an intern with Villanova (University) Athletics in their Office of Academic Support (OAS). In this role – I’ll be responsible for helping advance the Freshman Mentoring Program, facilitating one on one meetings, implementing student-athlete workshops, creating creative-interactive content (newsletters, social media post, etc.) and preparing reports on academic status for coaches.
The UA Foundation has greatly impacted me personally and educationally. Early on, the peer mentoring program helped me a ton. Being a first-generation college student (& graduate), I knew nothing about college outside of attaining an athletic scholarship. Miles Connor was a good role model for me as someone who looks like me, played sports, and also happened to graduate from the institution I attended my first two years (Central Methodist University).
University Academy laid the foundation for how I view education holistically. Basketball has played a major role in my life since I was young. With the slow recruitment process, I quickly had to accept and learn that sports (in general) won’t last forever. Education is a major reason why I’m where I am today! My grassroots basketball coaches and mentors helped shape the way I process life now. After graduating from Mizzou in 2018, I had a ton of time to reflect on who “JaVon” is and what I actually want to do with my life. I also come from a strong, wealthy (mentally & close-knit) family. The push for me to achieve everything that’s on my table has always been immense.
Since I’ve graduated, I haven’t been as connected with UA as I would have like to have been. Now that I’m completely done furthering my education, I plan to pay back my respects in the form of mentorship. I extend my contact out to anyone who’s looking for advice on continuing their education or simple life expertise in general. As for fellow alums, I keep up with my core friends from high school. We’re all still pretty close and try to stay engaged outside our professional realms.
After completing my internship at Villanova, I plan to acquire a full-time position as an Academic Advisor/Counselor or Student-Athlete Development Coordinator. Outside of sports, I now have found my passion for mentoring and advising the youth. Being an individual of color, I believe it’s my duty to show the youth that mirror myself a new profound outlook on life. For the cliché saying “African-American kids only have aspirations of entertainment and sports,” I’m here to be one that helps alter that narrative in a positive way.
For the students that currently attend University Academy – take FULL advantage of the resources being provided to you. You may not see the effect of what you’re receiving right now, tomorrow, or even a year later – but when you do, I promise it’s one of the most refreshing reflections. You just think about all the hard work and adversity you’ve overcame. Do the small things and dream BIG – manifestation and fruition are real things!