Three Stony Brook Student-Athletes Attend 2023 Black Athlete Summit in Los Angeles - Stony Brook University Athletics (2024)

Los Angeles, Calif. – A trio of Stony Brook student-athletes traveled to Los Angeles, California, to take part in the 2023 Black Student-Athlete Summit (BSA) in May. Founded in 2015 and headlined at the University of Southern California (USC) this year, Simon fa*gade (football), Torri Henry (volleyball), and Shamarla King (women's basketball) represented Stony Brook alongside Assistant Athletic Director for Student Career and Leadership Development Arnika Edwards.

"The Black Student-Athlete Summit is such an amazing opportunity for our student-athletes to experience. The Summit puts them in front of a wide range of speakers and other student-athletes from far and wide that arms them with new ideas and knowledge that empowers them to use their voice for the good of their own Stony Brook community. The invaluable skills that they gain not only contributes to their personal growth as effective leaders but also within their teams and beyond," said Edwards as she discussed the experience at BSA.

The four Seawolves joined more than 1,400 black student-athletes, influencers, creators, administrators, and professionals from 170 colleges and universities from across the country to connect and network with one another to support their growth in the classroom and beyond for the student-athletes to become competitive in the job market.

"This experience was honestly life changing for me", Henry said. "It was extremely empowering and sometimes that is all someone needs is a little empowerment for the course of their life to change."

The four-day event from May 21-24, started with a Playfly Sports Career Combine for only student-athletes to meet with employers who are offering full-time and internship opportunities. During the kick-off event, professionals discussed essential career readiness topics such as resume and cover letter foundations, one-way interviewing, and LinkedIn best practices. Following the Career Combine, the trio of Seawolves attended the Welcome to L.A. Reception where they were able to connect with all the participants of the BSA.

"The opportunities are endless at this event. No matter what you are interested in, long-term or short-term, you can benefit from the summit by meeting the right people, joining the right conversations, and by just being in the room," King stated. "With just one attendance, my mentality and attitude towards the way we run our organization has already flipped a switch and I cannot wait to get to work and improve on the way we do things."

On each day, the Summit had sessions and forums featuring guests such as former NBA Champion Matt Barnes, Klutch Sports' Rich Paul, CNBC's Diana Olick, NFL player Jeremiah Brown, USC President Dr. Carol Folt, and USC Athletic Director Mike Bohn.

The forums discussed topics such as how student-athletes can get involved on campus to make a social impact, mental health of coaches, the experiences of Black Student-Athletes at elite institutions, the power of faith, community activism, and how Black Student-Athletes can own, buy, and sell real estate in their own communities.

While discussing the guest speakers, fa*gade said "During the first session of the mental health seminar from Jeremiah Brown, he helped me realize why I was so lost after losing football. I had assigned too much of my identity and purpose to the sport and I needed to look beyond that and find myself as a man." He went on to say, "A quote that stuck with me from the BSA was 'what problem in the world around me can I be the solution to' and I can't wait to carry that around with me and be the solution."

For Henry, guest speaker Jade Smith-Williams had the biggest impact on her and the professional path that she chooses after college. During the Law professional session, Henry got to listen and discuss the future in Sports and Entertainment Law with Smith-Williams.

"Previously, I had been so conflicted on what type of law I wanted to do and how to get more exposure to different types of law. I never realized that Sports and Entertainment Law would be an option for me until one of the attorneys, Jade Smith-Williams, described her experience and what she wanted in life which lined up perfectly with my goals. I've been searching for a way to stay in the sports world while also pursuing the legal side of it. It was really validating and I feel more confident in pursuing the legal career because of Smith-Williams," Henry said about the guest speaker experience.

On the second to last day, the student-athletes had the opportunity to participate in Pro Day and a Career Fair that connected the group with different professionals in their career field interests and employers to learn about internship and full-time job opportunities.

When asked what piece of advice that they learned on the trip and could spread to other students and professionals, Henry said "We are more powerful individuals than we realize and we need to stop selling ourselves short and instead go out and force ourselves to be uncomfortable in order to expand our knowledge, resources, and connections."

King followed with "Be your true self without any apologies and take advantage of every single offer being presented to you. You never know who or what might come from the experience."
The Summit concluded on May 24, with a celebration and the impromptu church joining gospel singing with the entire group in the USC Auditorium. "Everyone was singing gospel songs that a lot of us grew up on so it was beautiful to be a part of. In a way, it made you connect to everyone in the room – people got up to sing, dance, and everyone had the biggest smile on their faces," Henry said.

For more information about BSA, please visit them at or reach out to the Executive Director of the Black Student Athlete Summit, Leonard Moore, at

Three Stony Brook Student-Athletes Attend 2023 Black Athlete Summit in Los Angeles - Stony Brook University Athletics (2024)
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