Cannon works to involve students in leadership and alcohol awareness

Mariah Howland

Kristin Cannon

Kristin Cannon is Johnson State College’s new coordinator of student athlete development and also assistant women’s soccer coach.

As coordinator of student athlete development, Cannon provides a support system for student athletes on campus. “I’m here to provide skill support in terms of academics, athletics, and community service,” she said. “If a student athlete needs help with any of this, it’s my job to be there.”

If an athlete needs anything, from places to volunteer, to help with scheduling or just to find someone to talk to, Cannon is there to help. She works closely with Athletic Director Jamey Ventura and Assistant Athletic Director Michael Osborne, who notes that Cannon has brought energy and impact to her job. “Kristin’s contributions in her first semester with us has exceeded the high expectations we had for her when she was hired,” he said. “She has quickly developed an impressive and strong rapport with a large portion of our student athlete population and the Johnson State community as a whole”

Cannon is working on a variety of projects, one of which is the NCAA Choices Grant, a three-year project based on alcohol education awareness for student athletes.

Part of the Choices Grant will be a course for students with a focus on counseling and prevention. The college is currently seeking an instructor for that course who will interact with the students and develop a curriculum. Several professionals in counseling and prevention fields are potential applicants. The course would be geared to all students at Johnson, with a goal of shifting campus culture and promoting positive choices.

Although the grant is targeted around student athletes, it will reach a larger audience. “We are trying to engage the entire campus community, not just student athletes,” said Cannon. Activities that have been funded by the grant include the substance-free tailgate party in the VAC parking lot during Homecoming Weekend, and the on-going student leadership training series.

“Cannon has been integral in the implementation of the student leadership series,” said Osborne. “The leadership series has seen impressive and consistent attendance over the course of the semester from organization, invitation, and facilitation,” all of which he attributes to Cannon’s hard work. “In Kristin Cannon, Johnson has found a home run of an acquisition,” he said.

The student leadership series, which is held each fall, is for all members of the Johnson State College student body. “At the student leadership training series student leaders will be trained in topics including alcohol abuse prevention, harm reduction, team building, communication, and overall leadership ideologies,” Cannon said.

Cannon, who played soccer at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass., knew she always wanted to be involved in sports. While working as a loan officer at an investment bank, she called her old coach and inquired about any position available in athletics. An assistant women’s soccer coach was needed, and she filled the void.

While she was assistant coaching and working as a special education teacher, she was getting her master’s degree in Sports Management from Springfield College. Cannon said she now feels at home at Johnson. “Being a loan officer was a job. Doing what I do now is a passion,” she said. “Athletics and being involved in young people’s lives as a mentor and coach was how I wanted to spend my life.”