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By Marta Lawrence
Junior Travis Misner, a baseball student-athlete at Division III Loras College, will spend his 21st birthday on a day-long flight to Chinese Taipei. Misner and former basketball student-athlete Andrea Dalton of Division II Pittsburgh-Johnstown were picked to represent the United States at the International University Sport Federation (FISU) Forum, a conference held every two years at different locations around the world.
The pair, who were selected based on academic excellence, leadership qualities and community service as well as athletics involvement, will meet with other athletes from around the globe to discuss this year’s theme “University Sport: a Platform for Sustainable Development.” Neither Misner nor Dalton have traveled internationally and had to apply for their first passports in advance of the March 26-31 conference.
Misner, who will be the first person from his family to graduate from college, said he was “ecstatic” to learn of his acceptance.
“An opportunity like this to broaden my horizons and diversify myself and see what other countries are doing is an opportunity that is priceless,” he said.
Although he had always desired to study abroad, Misner, who is paying part of his tuition, said it was not financially realistic. He said the FISU experience will provide him the chance fulfill his dream while experiencing a new culture.
Loras baseball student-athlete Travis Misner will represent the United States at the FISU Forum.
“I’ve never had the opportunity to see how people in other countries live,” he said.
Loras Athletics Director Robert Quinn recognized Misner’s dedication and work ethic.
“Travis manages his academics, athletic participation, leadership experiences and mentoring work at the highest level. He also holds a part-time job in the community to help pay his college tuition,” he wrote in a recommendation letter.
For her part, Dalton, a four-year standout who serves as the assistant coach for her former team as she completes her bachelor’s degree, said she hopes the experience will help her in her future career in athletics administration.
“Getting a global perspective is extremely important if you want to be an athletic director,” she said. “Knowing what’s going on in other countries, not just in the United States, could benefit a university program.”
Dalton also said she’s interested in understanding the role of women in athletics around the world.
Pittsburgh-Johnstown's Andrea Dalton is excited for the opportunity to experience a different culture.
In her letter recommending Dalton for the FISU role, Pittsburgh-Johnstown coach Sasha Palmer wrote, “she is the epitome of an ideal student-athlete on the court, in the classroom, and in the community.”
Palmer continued, “Andrea is not only a fine player, but is also an outstanding individual. She excels in the classroom with a 3.86 GPA and is looked upon for her leadership.”
Both Dalton and Misner are nervous about the language barrier, but say it will be part of the experience.
“To see a totally different culture is going to be eye-opening,” Dalton said. “It’s really exciting.”
Dalton and Misner will be blogging throughout their journey. Links to the blogs will be featured on NCAA.org.
Although Misner will have a birthday that lasts less than 24 hours as he flies from time zone to time zone, he said he doesn’t mind.
“That’s kind of a cool birthday present,” he said. “I get to go to Taipei City.”