So I certainly can't take credit for finding out about this story through good old fashioned journalistic know-how and fact gathering, but it's one that I felt deserves sharing nonetheless (hat tip to Lehman head track coach Lesleigh Hogg for sharing).
The term student-athlete is often thrown around by institutions of higher learning as a nice marketing term to insist that those who dedicate so much of their time and effort on the playing field are also dedicated students. It might be a cynical view, but at many Division I colleges and universities where athletics is looked at as a cash cow to fund other school initiatives, student-athlete is more often than not a pipe dream.
But on the lower levels of college athletics, Division III in particular, the athletes truly are students. Visions of grandeur as professionals playing a game are not the reality. Studies have to be taken seriously. At Lehman College, where admission standards continue to rise, those students who excel in any one of 17 varsity sports currently offered are also doing great things in the classroom. Once they graduate, they continue to succeed, create, and leave a legacy in their communities and in some cases, across the globe.
One such example is Daniel Gurdak, a former Lehman track and field athlete from 2003 to 2007, who recently spent six weeks in Brazil doing scientific studies of the varzea (which refers to areas of Brazil's Amazon floodplain) as part of larger conservation effort in conjunction with National Geographic and several other organizations including SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Daniel documented the sights and experiences in his own personal blog, which is pretty fascinating, even for someone like myself who has an extremely small amount of knowledge about the situation.