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Freshman Koch selected to participate in Red Cross/NAIA leadership program


January 13, 2012

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emily koch

KANSAS CITY, Mo - -Emily Koch, a Topeka, Kansas native who recently completed her freshman season on Avila University’s volleyball team, was one of 14 NAIA student-athletes nationwide to be selected to participate in the 2012-13 Red Cross/NAIA Collegiate Leadership Program.

The program, in its sixth year, seeks to inspire, motivate and create a new and diverse generation of American Red Cross volunteers and leaders through exemplifying the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program.

“Athletics plays such an important role in creating a sense of community on college campuses,” said Brian Hamil, Red Cross national chair, biomedical services, in a news release. “The partnership with the NAIA has created a rich opportunity to connect campus communities with the life-saving mission of the Red Cross through the energy of NAIA student-athletes. Since its inception five years ago, the Red Cross has experienced over 8,500 first-time blood donors from NAIA schools participating in this program.”

The leadership program, sponsored by State Farm Insurance, kicks off with two weeks of training June 4-15 at the Red Cross National Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The group will acquire first-hand coaching, mentoring and professional leadership training presented by the Red Cross. In addition, Kristin Gillette, director of Champions of Character, will hold character workshops during the two-week leadership academy.

“Student-athletes selected for this program have an amazing opportunity to hone their leadership skills, build lifelong relationships and learn the necessary steps to carry out a lifesaving mission,” Gillette said in the release.

Student-athletes in the program will organize campus blood drives, actively participate on a leadership board and take part in diversity and cultural competency training. For their efforts, they will receive scholarship support from the Red Cross and State Farm.

Koch, a former high school volleyball star at Hayden High School in Topeka and a right-side hitter for the Eagles, recently was honored for her play this season by being selected on the all-Heart of America Athletic Conference second team. She led the Eagles, 16-18 overall this season, in kills with 270.



Avila University is a private, co-educational, values-based liberal arts institution founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, offering undergraduate, graduate, and adult degree programs. Avila University is located at 119th and Wornall Rd in southwest suburban Kansas City, Mo.