A National Voice For DII Athletes
When people think of student-athletes, they might not emphasize the “student” part of the title. You see a volleyball player or football player or basketball player in action, and that’s what you might think of them – there goes another jock attending college so they can play sports.
Consider the case of Hawaii Pacific University women’s volleyball middle blocker Christina Furrer.
Furrer, a 6-foot-1-inch junior who has been a star on the court for the Sea Warriors for three years now, is in her first year as president of the HPU Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and PacWest’s national SAAC representative.
That means she is one of the top student-athlete leaders from all over the country.
Furrer also is a very good student. She came to HPU after garnering All-Academic honors at her high school in St. Louis. She started out as a nursing major but switched to premed. She hopes to one day become a physician’s assistant.
“I want to do more to help,” she says. “I have a brother who has special needs. I’ve been to the hospital more times than I can count, and I see the people helping and I want to help them.”
Her brother Andrew, five years older than she and about to turn 25 years old, suffers from a rare disorder. “When I was born, he was in the hospital, too,” she says. “He has a special kind of epilepsy that causes him to suffer a lot of seizures.”
She says the experience of growing up with him made a huge difference in her life.
“It shaped me,” she says. “I saw people staring at him all the time, and it taught me about the issues involving living with a disability. The experience has helped me be more patient and more understanding.”
Furrer plans to learn more about how she can help people by working in the medical field when she interns soon with Dr. Daniel Braun at Braun Urgent Care in Kailua.
In the meantime, there is plenty of volleyball to be played and she hopes to help the Sea Warriors finish strong in the very tough PacWest race. There also are her duties as an HPU SAAC leader, where she helped guide her school to the PacWest Community Engagement Award this past year, and the time spent as the national SAAC rep. She attended national meetings with top NCAA Division II personnel in Indianapolis this past summer, and in January, she will be at the NCAA Convention in San Diego.
“The SAAC experience has taught me that we highlight the student as well as the athlete,” she says. “It’s important what we do in the classroom and on the playing field. In Indianapolis, talking in front of a crowd of people for the first time made me more confident, more aware and a better listener. I learned that we can share our experiences as one of 25 kids across the nation doing great things.”
As you can tell, Furrer is passionate and enthusiastic about everything she does, from SAAC and volleyball to her work in the classroom and learning all she can in the medical field. It started with wanting to help a sibling, and it blossomed from there.
“We’re not just a face and a name, we’re there for a reason,” she says. “We’re not just another athlete. At HPU and NCAA Division II, we’re student-athletes. We’re a family.”