Eric R. Flores
The Paw Print
“It is fun to play two roles.”
That’s what Adams State College senior setter on the volleyball team, Mary McNeil (Phoenix, Ariz.) enjoyed about her fall days. Many on the campus of ASC saw McNeil as a student-athlete who was a senior leader on the volleyball team.
What many don’t know is that McNeil works a 40-hour-a-week job while jumbling the busy schedule a student-athlete deals with on a daily basis. McNeil is a laboratory aide at San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center.
McNeil made more than just a small impact on the team during her career; she also made an impact on the record book as she set the Grizzlies’ NCAA Division II era (1992-Present) career assists record on October 15. That night McNeil had 3,493 career assists and by season’s end she finished her career with 3,699 career assists, the second best mark in the Grizzlies’ all-time history. In the process, she also finished her career with 207 blocks and 78 aces ranking fifth and tied for eighth on ASC’s Division II era charts in those respective statistical categories.
As a lab aide McNeil draws blood, puts data into the computer, helps with paperwork and helps deal with patients in the emergency room and at the clinic.
McNeil got her start as a freshman when her host parent, Julie Smith, who is a Registered Nurse in the emergency room, helped her start to volunteer.
“I would observe Julie and she would teach me how to draw blood,” said McNeil. “Then a job opened up and I did on-the-job training.”
“I enjoy working there. I enjoy working in the medical field and drawing blood,” she added. “I love working with my co-workers. I like the adrenaline rush and trauma that comes with working in the emergency room.”
McNeil works the night shift. “I work 12 hours a night on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights,” she noted. “I get off at 6 a.m.”
“Even though I am majoring in HPPE, when I go back home I will go to school for nursing now,” she said. “This semester for my senior seminar class we have to do volunteer hours and I plan on volunteering with the EMTs so I can see how it is to work out in the field.”
One would think that working these 12-hour shifts would hurt McNeil in her athletics or academics, but it doesn’t. “It has not had an effect on my athletics because my boss, Jamie Colwell, Director of Laboratory and Pathology Sevices, Coach Lindy Mortensen and I have an agreement that during the season, volleyball was my priority,” she said. “It’s all about learning time management and knowing my priorities whether it is school or work.”
Patients that she works with while at work sometimes notice her from pictures. “It is fun to smile and say ‘yes, that is me,” she said.
“I am grateful that my boss understood the constraints of being a volleyball player and how much time it takes,” she said. “They understood my schedule.”
“I have learned that being involved with the community has helped me grow in the last four years. Being both an athlete and working has helped my communication skills and helped me develop as a person.”
“I am just grateful for the opportunity that has been given to me.”