Taryn Nash ’14 ~ Standout Student-Athlete
Spring Hill College senior and volleyball star Taryn Nash lives by the motto of “Jump High, Hit ’em Hard.” The saying, which started as just a sports quote in Nash’s family, has come to mean much more than a metaphor for getting motivated and winning games.
“My grandfather would tell it to my mother before her games, and slowly the family started saying it to my sister and me before our games,” says Nash. “It’s really about being the best woman I can be. It’s about facing every challenge with the intent to rock it. And sometimes, that little bit of confidence is all you need.”
That “can-do” attitude is displayed in every facet of Nash’s life. The international studies major from Independence, Mo., balances her responsibilities as a student-athlete while managing to find time to volunteer, participate in on-campus clubs and honor societies, as well as procure key internship opportunities.
Nash, who is minoring in French, philosophy, and political science, plans to attend law school, and has a particular interest in pursuing a career in child advocacy. In the interest of gaining as much real-world experience as possible, she currently interns for Phelps Dunbar, LLP in downtown Mobile, Ala. During the summers of 2012 and 2013, Nash interned for McKay and Byerley Law Offices in Kansas City.
“I am deeply passionate about the rights of children with special needs or from difficult homes. I want to be someone that represents or defends people that do not have the ability to do it themselves,” says Nash. “I am also interested in education law, policy, access to healthcare, and other issues that affect children’s lives. I am very excited to explore my career options, but I know that my career will keep me in cities where there will always be pressing urban issues.”
Dr. Matthew Baugh, assistant professor of political science and law at Spring Hill College, praises Nash’s drive and ability.
“Taryn has a natural instinct for the law,” says Baugh. “She can see straight to the heart of an issue without losing sight of the things that make it difficult or complex. Her research and writing on the juvenile death penalty in particular was just outstanding. She'll make for a great lawyer, not just because of her keen analytic skills but also because she genuinely desires to be a 'woman for others’.”
Nash already practices giving back to the community as a student at Spring Hill College. She has volunteered with the Special Olympics at the NAIA National Tournament, and has helped raise money for Children’s Miracle Network as a part of SHC’s Phi Mu fraternity. Nash serves as president of the SHC student athlete advisory committee and is a member of the international Jesuit honor society, Alpha Sigma Nu.
As a lifelong athlete, Nash was initially attracted to Spring Hill College because of the school’s stellar volleyball program, led by head coach Peggy Martin.
“I knew Coach Martin from home, wanted to play for her, and wanted the chance to make an impact on the volleyball program,” says Nash. “After I visited, I became enchanted with Spring Hill. In the end, it was the whole package that made me enroll. It was the chance to play volleyball while also getting a great, well-rounded education. And it didn’t hurt that Mobile had an incredible climate and was 45 minutes from the beach. This Midwest girl was in paradise!”
Nash was also immediately drawn to Spring Hill College’s size and tight-knit community.
“I love that I know all my classmates, that I always have someone to sit with lunch, and can walk into my professors’ offices unannounced,” says Nash. “I am also consistently amazed at how so people at this school many tolerant and accepting of diversity,” says Nash. “Students here may have their opinions, but they want to learn from yours. I have learned so much from my peers, and they learn from me.”
Dr. Patricia Harrison, Spring Hill College professor of history, has been impressed with Nash’s ability to express her ideas. “Taryn is one of the best students I’ve ever taught and will be an asset to any profession she enters,” says Dr. Harrison. “Her comments, papers, and exams are always perceptive and excellent. I am also impressed that Taryn can maintain her excellent academic record while being an award winning athlete at the same time.”
Over the last three years, Nash has perfected her time management skills in order to get the most out of her Spring Hill College experience.
“By no means is balancing my life easy, and I speak for all student-athletes when I say that,” says Nash. “Fortunately, I’ve learned to thrive off a busy life. For me, the key is time management, staying organized, and knowing your priorities. Student-athletes don’t get to be ‘typical’ college students. It’s not for everyone, but I’m proud to say it’s for me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”
Advice for SHC Freshmen ~ Taryn Nash’s Top 10
- Soak it all in. Before you know, you are a senior and you have forgotten that there is a world outside of the Hill
- Join an organization that matters to you
- Support your student-athletes
- Don’t slack off your first semester
- ALWAYS greet Ms. Juanita with a smile in the cafe
- Respect Public Safety
- Enjoy the beautiful weather every day you can
- Pray you can experience at least one “snow day” in your time here
- It’s a small school, so always make a good impression.
- Remember that some people go to college, but only a few get to go to Spring Hill. You’re a lucky one!