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Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Own Words by Kai Christenberry

D3 Week Graphic - Kai Christenberry (Men's Track & Field)

WASHINGTON – Gallaudet University athletics is proud to participate in the eighth annual NCAA Division III Week (April 1-7) in an effort to celebrate the impact athletics and Bison student-athletes have on our campus and the surrounding community. GU is joining nearly 450 Division III institutions and 43 conferences in this week’s celebration.

To help focus on the many student-athletes that represent Gallaudet athletics we will spotlight two different student-athlete each day this week. You will learn more about them as they express their feelings on what it is like to be a Division III student-athlete here at Gallaudet. Interviews were conducted by the Gallaudet Sports Information Office.

Junior Kai Christenberry (Birmingham, Ala.) is a three-year letterwinner on the Bison men's track and field team. Christenberry is undeclared on a major but is on track to graduate in 2020.

In My Own Words: Kai Christenberry

What is it like to be a student-athlete in college?
KC: Being a student-athlete in college can be overwhelming between class, competing and for me, being a Resident Assistant at Ballard West. I have good skills with time management and I am able to handle all of these things at once. When my team travels to different states to compete against other schools, I have more involvement in the deaf community because of my team. I have good leadership skills being a student-athlete, and this is a positive influence on other students.  

What is it like to be a student-athlete at Gallaudet University?
KC: Being a student-athlete at Gallaudet University for me is an opportunity to learn deaf culture and be involved with the community. I grew up going to an Alabama mainstream school, and it was frustrating because I didn’t have open communication and felt silenced by people there. Now, at Gallaudet University I can understand any person anywhere and join any conversation using American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is very important to me. ASL has helped me bond with my teammates and coaches and be able to grow personally while being part of a team. I am thankful to be a student-athlete here at Gallaudet University. 

What are your goals after graduation, what do you hope to do in life?
KC: My goals after graduation, I hope to work with Alabama School for the Deaf as a sprint and hurdle coach part-time and study automobile engineering at a community college. I will also be waiting for God’s answer for me, maybe a missionary journey or helping other countries.

How has being a part of the Gallaudet Track and Field team changed you personally as a person?
KC: Being a part of the Gallaudet track and field team has changed me personally as a person in many ways. I feel this track and field program is part of my FAMILY like brothers and sisters, because we go through the same experiences on the field. Sometimes, we do make mistakes, but I am always there to make them laugh and feel better every day. My team has taught me how to think positive and focus on myself when I’m training. Gallaudet track and field has made me continue training for my goal of running in the Deaflympics 2021 and Tokyo 2020. I have not given up on this goal.

Division III Week Fact of the Day
In many sports, Division III student-athletes enter college having competed year-round in a single sport on both high school and club teams.

Division III Week Student-Athlete Spotlight: In My Words
Wednesday: Kai Christenberry (Men's Track and Field) | Elizabeth Stern (Softball)
Tuesday: Cameron Upton (Baseball) | Taylor Nguyen (Women's Cross Country)
Monday: Rett Jala (Men’s Swimming) | Juliana Bahan (Women's Basketball)

About Division III Week
Division III Week is a positive opportunity for all individuals associated with Division III to observe and celebrate the impact of athletics and of student-athletes on the campus and surrounding community. During the week, every Division III school and conference office is encouraged to conduct a type of outreach activity that falls into one of three categories: academic accomplishment; athletic experience; or leadership/community service/campus involvement. For more information log onto http://www.ncaa.org/about/division-iii-week-2019

About Gallaudet

Gallaudet University, federally chartered in 1864, is a bilingual, diverse, multicultural institution of higher education that ensures the intellectual and professional advancement of deaf and hard of hearing individuals through American Sign Language and English. Gallaudet maintains a proud tradition of research and scholarly activity and prepares its graduates for career opportunities in a highly competitive, technological, and rapidly changing world. For more information about Gallaudet University please log onto www.gallaudet.edu.