CONWAY, Ark. (January 29, 2014) –
Though she didn’t train for elite track and field competition as a Hendrix
student, Amanda Brooks ’08 credits her alma
mater with putting her on the path to the 2016 Olympics.
“I actually have a pretty unusual
story, but it shows why a liberal arts education is perfect,” says Brooks, a
religion major and English minor who is now a marketing and communications
manager for USA Track & Field.
A lifelong sports fan, Brooks played
intercollegiate volleyball for three years. She participated in intramurals
throughout her time at Hendrix and was the student intramural director for two
years. She was also a member of Campus Kitty and Totem and worked at a local
church, St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Conway, for four years.
“Hendrix taught me to be versatile,
dedicated, innovative and passionate,” she says. “All of those lessons have
helped me get where I am today.”
After Hendrix, Brooks went to graduate
school at Vanderbilt University, where she earned a master's degree in ethics.
As a graduate student, she began working in athletics communications because
she loved sports and enjoyed writing. Three weeks later, Brooks was on the
sideline as Vanderbilt beat Auburn in football on ESPN’s College GameDay.
“I was hooked,” says Brooks, who
eventually worked with every sport at Vanderbilt and traveled with football,
men's and women's basketball, women's lacrosse, women's soccer and women's
track & field.
She also worked with the Nashville
Predators, an NHL hockey team, as a graduate intern, and at both Vandy and the
Preds, she coordinated media requests, wrote features, handled game day press,
and acted as a liaison between the media and teams & coaches.
Brooks then left Nashville to work for
the Florida Gators, first as an intern and then full time.
“At Florida, my teams combined for four
conference titles and three NCAA championships,” says Brooks. “I had similar
duties from when I was at Vandy but way more responsibility and on a much more
“Social media also really started
becoming a part of athletics communications and I got super interested in fan
interaction, social engagement, and how new media becomes part of brand
identity and growth,” she says.
This fall, Brooks was approached by USA
Track & Field about a potential job. After a lengthy interview process, she
started in November. As a marketing and communications manager, Brooks has the
same duties as she had in her previous jobs, and she’s also solely responsible
for social and new media.
She is also helping develop the new
USATF mobile app and assisting in the organization’s rebranding process, while
constantly protecting and promoting the USATF brand and sponsor interests. She
works primarily with elite and professional athletes, as well as high-profile retired
athletes like 1996 Olympic gold medalist Dan O'Brien and three-time World
Champion Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
This spring, Brooks will represent
USATF at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, and the IAAF
World Relays in Nassau, Bahamas. She'll travel with Team USA to the 2015 IAAF
World Outdoor Championships in China, as well as the 2016 Summer Olympic Games
“I don't think I could be where I am
without my four years at Hendrix,” she says. “Obviously, college is a time
where everyone grows and changes into the people they are today, but being at
Hendrix made me fiercely independent, demand the best from myself and know that
my hard work will pay off.”
“My professors and mentors supported
and challenged me from day one,” says Brooks. “Without every single one of
them, especially Danny Powell (former athletic director) and Jennifer and Thad
McCracken, there is no way I'd have the confidence and drive I do now as a
female in the sports world.”
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a
national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. For the sixth
consecutive year, Hendrix was named one of the country’s “Up and Coming”
liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and
World Report. Hendrix is featured in
the latest edition of Colleges That
Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think about Colleges,
as well as the 2014 Princeton Review’s The
Best 378 Colleges, Forbes
magazine's list of America's Top Colleges, and the 2014 Fiske Guide to
Colleges. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since
1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.