Windsor Lancers

Monday, May 5, 2014

Where are they Now? – Nikkia Smith --- Bringing Hartford Basketball to the Nation’s Capital

I can’t believe it has been almost a full year since graduating! But boy what a crazy and exciting year it has been.
After graduating last May, my Aunt graciously opened her home in Bloomfield to me, allowing me to live there through the summer. I continued working at Farmington Valley Transition Academy as a one to one specialist through the end of June.
At the end of August, I officially said goodbye to Connecticut and moved to Washington, D.C. for graduate school. Over the past eight months I have been working as the Graduate Assistant/Assistant Coach for the women’s basketball team and working on my Masters in Public Administration at Gallaudet University. Gallaudet is a private institution for the deaf and hard of hearing in the heart of D.C.
Competing at the NCAA Division III level, Gallaudet competes in the Northeastern Athletic Conference (NEAC). This past season the women’s basketball team finished 15-12 overall and made it to the NEAC tournament semifinals for the first time since 2010-11. Needless to say, it was a really exciting year for our program!

Attending Gallaudet has been a dream of mine for many years. I have truly been blessed with this opportunity to further my education and continue to be involved with basketball at the collegiate level as a coach. Living in D.C. has truly been amazing. I’ve had to make friends outside of sports, use public transportation and even live with people I didn’t know in advance! I know all these probably sound like minor accomplishments, but after being surrounded by wonderful teammates (who had cars) and were also easy to get along with, these are basically major milestones in life.

The players and staff of Gallaudet’s many athletic teams have taken me under their wings. They teach me new signs every day and challenge me even when I’m extremely uncomfortable. I have been able to transfer so many intangibles from what I learned at Hartford. It shocks me sometimes at how similar I sound to my coaches at Hartford.

I knew my coaches were smart while I was there, but they’re even smarter now that I can use some of the very same sayings I heard on a regular basis and see the impact it has on my players. Having the experience of being a Hawk has taught me more about life and management then I could have ever imagined. I am grateful everyday for all the experiences I have had.  


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