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Allison Fanta: Focused Energies

Not everyone sees the link between athletics and academics. Allison Fanta brought the same competitive spirit to her business courses as she did to the UMD volleyball court. This stellar scholar-athlete earned a 3.97 cumulative GPA, with a dual major in business management and accounting. Those who can, give it all they’ve got.

Allison Fanta

Senior Allison Fanta will graduate with a a double major in business management and accounting in December 2012.  

The competitiveness she’d come to expect on the volleyball court proved to be the perfect training ground for the competitiveness she found at the Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE). Allison Fanta focused her energies on a duel major in business management and accounting, and hands-on projects translated into real-world experience. “I learned more than I could ever have hoped for,” she said.

Volleyball gave Fanta an appreciation for being part of a team. “There were very few LSBE classes that didn’t focus on teamwork,” she said. “Professors coached us on it: how to be effective, how to work harder.” Sports also taught her to learn from critiques. “Athletics and business are all about receiving and giving feedback.”

Fanta was able to integrate teamwork and communication skills on a number of LSBE projects. One of her favorites was during a management course in which she and other students were able to work with a small non-profit. “We met with them and learned about their work. One area they were struggling with was keeping their personal expenses separate from their business expenses. We were able to help them with that. It was really cool to get them started. They were very receptive to what we were saying.”

Her studies became an important counterbalance to the intensity of volleyball. “I think the reason why I enjoyed school so much was because it was my escape from the crazy life of a student-athlete. When I had a rough day at practice or we lost a game, I often found comfort in going to the library and studying. I was able to relax and realize that although it seemed like the world had ended because we lost a game, I still had my education and that was one thing I had complete control of.”

In the summer of 2012, Fanta worked as an intern at Cargill. “I was able to draw upon so much of what I had learned. It was great.” Cargill was impressed and offered her a position. She will begin the job after she graduates in December 2012. “Coming to UMD and getting a better hands-on education than a lot of larger universities could offer and then starting my career at the largest private company in the world; sometimes I am just floored,” she said. “I have the utmost respect for what a smaller community like UMD can do.”

Fanta, who compiled a 3.97 cumulative grade point average, received the John and Diane Newstrom Scholarship. “The scholarship is one of the main reasons why I am able to focus more of my efforts on my education in my last semester. Instead of working to pay for my tuition, I am able to spend more time studying for the rigorous course load I have this fall.”

The Newstrom Scholarship is awarded to LSBE students who excel academically, exhibit strong interpersonal skills, and participate in extracurricular and service activities. In addition to playing volleyball, Fanta volunteered at the CHAMP Day of Service, helped organize and run the Whipper Snapper Race’s during Grandma’s Marathon weekend, and organized a clothing drive through the psychology club of which she is a member. Through the Mortar Board National Honor Society, she helped with community clean-ups and gave of her time at elementary schools. “These volunteer opportunities truly helped me grow as an individual. Giving back to the community should also be on the top of everyone’s list,” she said.

Fanta received numerous awards including the 2012 E.L. "Duce" Rasmussen Award as one of UMD's top scholar-athletes. She was a CoSIDA Academic All-America second team honoree in the fall of 2012, and she was UMD's nominee for the 2011-12 Willis R. Kelly Scholar-Athlete Award (top female student-athlete in the NSIC). The three-time NSIC All-Academic Team qualifier also earned a NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award as a senior. On the volleyball court, Fanta handled a starting defensive specialist role during four seasons. In the fall of 2011, as team co-captain, she ranked third among Bulldogs in serve reception percentage with a career-high .959 mark.

Those Who Can, Duluth

Written by Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, October 2012

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