A former collegiate and professional basketball player who currently works as a paraprofessional, United States Sports Academy doctoral student Emily Hall hopes her education from the institution can help her make a positive impact on her community.

A resident of Montclair, N.J., Hall is the Academy’s latest Student of the Month. She is seeking her Doctor of Education degree in sports management with a focus on sports leadership, which she plans to use to start a non-profit organization to benefit underserved and marginalized young people in the Montclair area.

“I want to start a place that can be a safe haven for young people who feel different and who may be struggling to find who they are and where they belong in the world,” Hall said. “I want to provide a place where young people can learn life skills, the value of education, financial literacy, self-awareness and other skills that can help them be stronger people. At one time, I was one of those kids who needed help, so I hope I can be a positive young, black, female role model for others like me.”

Hall holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bloomfield (N.J.) College and a master’s degree from Bond University in Australia, where she played both collegiate and professional basketball. She found the Academy through an internet search for sports doctoral degrees.

“I was immediately impressed by the Academy’s focus on sports and education,” Hall said. “It has been great, because even though the programs are online, the faculty and staff are wonderful communicators. The Academy has blown my expectations for online education out of the water.

“I am specializing in leadership, and that has helped me as a transition from being a player to a coach and mentor. Leadership is important to me because the sports world needs more female voices. I want to be one of those voices, and the Academy’s well-rounded, challenging education is going to help me get there.”

Hall currently works as a paraprofessional working with teens and young adults with cognitive disabilities. She is also an entrepreneur and financial literacy counselor.

“Financial literacy is so important,” Hall said. “The American dream is still out there, but you have to be educated about debt, credit, home ownership, and other issues to be able to attain it. I wasn’t taught that at a young age, and unfortunately, a lot of my peers weren’t taught that either.

“I want my education and my work in the community to make my family – my ancestors and my descendants – proud.”