Abram Erickson

HESD Student Receives ACSD Grant to Study Experiences of Student Athletes

Abram Erickson first arrived on Wheaton's campus as a freshman in 2017. His four years as an undergraduate were impactful, exposing him to numerous leadership opportunities and formative experiences; and instilling in him a desire to work in Higher Education, paying it forward by supporting college students as he had been supported. This led him to apply and enroll in Wheaton's graduate Higher Education and Student Development program, where he is completing his final semester and conducting thesis research.

Abram was initially drawn to the program because of Wheaton's unique model that allows students to gain practical higher education experience by serving in graduate assistantships while completing their degree. Abram says, "Maintaining an assistantship in Residence Life while completing my degree, I have been able to consistently apply the concepts and strategies that I have learned in the graduate school classroom to real-world situations."

Currently, Abram is completing his thesis research on the experiences of student-athletes at Wheaton College. Abram applied for and was awarded a grant from the Association for Christians in Student Development (ACSD) to support his research efforts. He was drawn to the topic in part because of his own experiences as a student-athlete and because Wheaton is a faith-based institution with a particular programmatic emphasis on developing people holistically. His study seeks to answer the question, "In what ways do student-athletes perceive their athletic participation to impact their experience of holistic development during their time at Wheaton College?" Though his research is still in process, preliminary findings suggest that student-athletes see their athletic participation as having a significant impact on their development in multiple areas, including their leadership, relational and spiritual growth, and, somewhat surprisingly to the researcher, their academic development.

Abram looks forward to a career in higher education where he can continue to mentor and develop college students. He says he "looks forward to leading teams of students around a common purpose." While Abram cannot tell with certainty where he will serve next in higher education, he is certain that his experience in Wheaton's Higher Education and Student Development program has equipped him well for his future assignment.