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New program helps ASU student-athletes build leadership, service skills

Tip of the Fork 2014 cohort
June 04, 2014

Whether they excel in individual or team sports, athletes tend to be natural leaders and community builders. A new collaborative program between Sun Devil Athletics and Arizona State University’s College of Public Programs offers ASU’s high-achieving student-athletes with a passion for public service the opportunity to build upon those strengths.

Tip of the Fork acknowledges student-athletes who have demonstrated success both on and off the field. The first cohort was recently selected to participate in the program that will take them through two years of classes, culminating in a community service project. Students in the program graduate with a certificate in leadership and service in addition to their degree.

The program brings together students across a wide range of majors, and provides an opportunity for student-athletes to work closely with other students on campus.

“There is a natural correlation between participation in athletics and leadership. The goal of the Tip of the Fork program is to cultivate our best and brightest into agents of impact among their teams, campus and the local and global community,” says Jean Boyd, senior associate athletic director, Sun Devil Athletics.

“This is an opportunity for students who have a passion for public service to put their ideas and innovation to work today to make meaningful, positive change in our community,” says Jonathan Koppell, dean of the College of Public Programs.

“I applied because I can help people and actually make a big difference within this community,” says Elisha Davis. “Additionally, I think this program will help make me a better person because I will be more hands-on in the community and I will see how grateful and appreciative I should really be due to me seeing others' unfortunate circumstances.” Davis is on the women’s basketball team and pursuing a double major in communication and social work.

Matthew Schneider is on the men’s wrestling team and pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering. He says, “I’m passionate about making a difference in the world and leaving my own positive mark on society. My goal is to make sure I improve our way of living before I die. This program gives me an excellent opportunity to take my first step towards my ultimate goal.”

During their studies, students will fulfill over 100 hours of community service. The cohort will design and implement a local leadership initiative.

Students in the Tip of the Fork program will ultimately serve as mentors for future cohorts. Learn more at