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Magical Experience

Donors enhancing all aspects of the student-athlete experience for Gordon

Volleyball player Kelsey Gordon serving

From Athletics Spotlight - Fall 2019

Kelsey Gordon knows the power of education. She knows the importance of the biology degree she is seeking. And she knows the benefits of growing together as a student-athlete and a teammate on the Washburn volleyball team. She’s grateful for the donors and fans who support her academic and athletic endeavors.

“I think what makes Washburn so great is not only the people on campus, but the people off campus because none of this would happen without them,” the sophomore middle hitter from Emporia, Kansas, said. “We wouldn't have this new indoor facility coming in without these donors. We wouldn't have the DNA sequencing equipment. The marching band wouldn't have these new uniforms. All these projects happening on campus, and what makes our campus so involved and so engaging is the fact that we have people coming back and supporting us after they graduate.”

Growing up around her father’s veterinary clinic, Gordon is studying animal science with a hope to work in zookeeping. Washburn is providing a welcoming environment just far enough away from home.

In her third year on campus after taking a medical redshirt year as a true freshman, Gordon is excited about spending time in the biology labs as she advances through the program. Her teammates tease her about going to check on her fruit flies in her genetics class, but she doesn’t mind. Last year, she followed along as the biology department ran a successful crowdfunding project to raise money for DNA sequencing equipment. She’s excited and grateful for how much the equipment will enhance the student experience.

“If you walk into Stoffer (Science Hall), it's almost this magical feeling because we have such nice equipment and such nice facilities,” she said. “That's really a staple to the hard work they've put into this biology program and making it great.”

On the court, Gordon is grateful for the chance to be part of a team that went 33-5 and finished third in the nation last year. She had some of her strongest performances during the final stretch as they beat three top-10 teams in the NCAA regional.

“I was very fortunate with whatever came to me at any given match,” she said. “I think nothing would have been accomplished without my teammates in those moments, and I was happy to be able to help. Not one performance on the court defines a match. That's what was so great about last year. We were so equally distributed across the court.”

Gordon has received athletic and academic scholarships to support her education.

“Having donors provide scholarships is so important because I think the best gift someone can receive is education,” she said. “Education can essentially transform somebody's life and being able to transform someone's life is so important these days. A proper education can truly transcend somebody.”

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