WOMEN ROWERS EMBRACE INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY
Kadee Sylla ’20 and Kathryn Brady ’20 ended their undergraduate rowing careers at USD as two of the top athletes on the women’s rowing team. In addition to being leaders on the water, they served as president and vice president, respectively, of the Scholar-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), whose mission is to provide outlets for community service specific to scholar-athletes.
Two important initiatives close to their hearts are increasing diversity and practicing inclusion. “I’ve been working with our athletic director, Bill McGillis,” Sylla explains. “For example, we hired four Black psychologists and began the Black Student-Athlete Forum, where these students can voice their opinions in a safe space.”
Two additional initiatives started by Sylla include the creation of a Diversity and Inclusion Executive position on the SAAC executive board and a voting initiative, which eliminated all required training and competition on voting day.
Both young women believe leadership is an important role in today’s society. “Especially right now, there’s an opportunity to use our voices in order to move the country and the world forward,” says Brady. “This time is when you want to step up and use your voice. This moment in particular is powerful: to help things move in the right direction, rather than letting things stay the way they are.”
Brady has been using her leadership role to demonstrate the importance of listening and learning. “I’ve been attending things that Kadee started or that we’ve had as a team. We did a book club with women’s basketball all summer. We read the book Race Talk and had weekly meetings to go over chapters and have open discussions.”
When the pair has free time, they enjoy cooking and making crafts. “I didn’t want to go to college, I wanted to go to culinary school,” Sylla says with a smile. “Cooking is my thing.” “I’ve been told by Kadee that I’m very crafty; that’s something people don’t necessarily know about me,” Brady adds. “I like making friendship bracelets and posters. I like that side of things because it lets me decompress from our typical busy life.” — Chloe Zakhour ’20