Meet the Athletes: Taylor Johnson & Samantha Wroblewski

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Softball players Taylor Johnson and Samantha Wroblewski represent FMU at annual PBC Women in Athletics Conference.

Softball players Taylor Johnson and Samantha Wroblewski represent FMU at annual PBC Women in Athletics Conference.

Photo by: Lauren Owens

Photo by: Lauren Owens

Softball players Taylor Johnson and Samantha Wroblewski represent FMU at annual PBC Women in Athletics Conference.

Sarah Jones, Staff Writer

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FMU softball players Taylor Johnson and Samantha Wroblewski were representatives at the ninth annual Peach Belt Conference (PBC) Women in Athletics Conference in Augusta, Ga.

Johnson and Wroblewski were chosen to be representatives for their accomplishments both as athletes and as students. Both students are returning starters this season and appeared on the PBC Presidential Honor Roll and FMU Swamp Fox Athletic- Academic Honor Roll for at least two semesters.

The PBC represents 12 schools throughout Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Women in Athletics Conference is a seminar that promotes women pursuing a career in all areas of athletics.

The event consisted of a panel of eight women who hold careers in college athletics, such as coaches, athletic directors and NCAA representatives. During the conference, there was a Q&A portion, time to meet other student athletes and an opportunity for the students to talk with the women on the panel.

Schools that were represented in the conference included the University of North Carolina Pembroke, University of South Carolina Aiken, Clayton State University and Flagler College.

Wroblewski, who attended the event, said that several universities and varying sports teams were represented at the conference.

“All Peach Belt schools were represented at the conference, including any South Atlantic Conference members from Division II athletics,” Wroblewski said. “The sports represented included soccer, softball, basketball, cross country, track and cheerleading.”

According to Wroblewski and Johnson, the conference was created to help young student athletes decide their next steps after graduation. Both students said hearing the stories of the panelists and other members was comforting because it reiterated that, sometimes, people do not know exactly what they want to do in terms of professional careers before graduation.

Coaches from all PBC affiliates encouraged athletes to attend the conference because it is a great networking opportunity for athletes and is a way to be better informed on their fields of interest, Johnson and Wroblewski said.

Wroblewski said the panelists helped her gain several professional development skills and pushed her to take risks in her career.

“I learned that I need to be more of a go-getter and that I can’t be afraid to apply for a job even if I think I do not meet all of the requirements,” Wroblewski said.

According to Johnson, the advice from the panelists at the event helped show attendees that there are several different career paths that students can take in an athletic field.

“I met a lot of amazing women that are willing to help in any way they can in my future,” Johnson said. “There are more positions within college athletics than most student athletes realize, so attending an event like this is a great eyeopener. There are positions within a conference, university or with the NCAA directly.”

Wroblewski, a native of Delray Beach, Fla., and transfer student from Brandeis University, is a right-handed pitcher for the lady Patriot softball team, studying Business Administration at FMU. She was elected Team MVP 2016, is ranked 10th nationally in walks per seven innings and 26th in shutouts, is on the 2016 PBC Presidential Honor Roll and the FMU Swamp Fox Athletic-Academic Honor Roll for fall 2015 and spring 2016. During her high school career at Spanish River Community High School, she was a 3-year varsity letter winner and played flag football.

Johnson, from San Diego, Calif., and a transfer from the University of Alabama, plays shortstop as well as second base for the Patriots. She was a walk-on to the team, started in all 55 games of the 2016 season and she is an Chi Alpha Sigma national college athlete honor society member. During her high school career at La Jolla Country Day School, she was a 4-year varsity letter winner and earned nine varsity letters in three sports (volleyball, basketball and softball).

Both Wroblewski and Johnson said the conference was a success and was helpful for all student athletes who attended. They also said, if given the opportunity to attend the conference again, they hope to bring some of their fellow athletes with them so they can have the same networking opportunity.

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