Written by Bari Bossis (beyondsportsglass.com)
Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica – Recent Dickinson grad, Naji Thompson '19, has relocated to Costa Rica for a year-long fellowship with Beyond Sports. Thompson was one of eight women selected for this competitive opportunity where she will continue to explore the power of sports and help shape young female leaders. Thompson's driven personality, as well as her record of excellence in athletics, leadership, and service, will make her a crucial asset to this Beyond Sports Fellow Team.
The primary responsibility of Thompson and her team of fellows will be to design and implement Beyond Sports' newest endeavor, the Girls Leadership Academy for Service & Sport (GLASS). This ten-day program will host high school female athletes in Costa Rica beginning in the spring of 2020. With a goal to empower the next generation of female leaders, the fellows are designing a curriculum of sports-specific training, leadership development, service-learning, and adventure excursions.
Thompson's proven ambition will make her instrumental in the development of this new program. In her time at Dickinson, Thompson was a Centennial All-Academic honoree, a 3x All-Region honoree, and a 2x Academic All-American honoree. During her sophomore season, she was the Centennial Conference champion in the 60m and 100m. In her senior season, Thompson snatched the 60m Conference championship once more. Thompson holds the record for Dickinson's 60m dash, which she set during her sophomore season. During her junior year, Thompson received a prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which allowed her to embark on a study abroad journey to Cameroon and Tanzania in 2018. Thompson was a recipient of the 2019 National Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award, which is given to athletes who embody leadership and value the impact of community service.
"When Coach Nichter told me about the Beyond Sports Fellowship I knew I needed to apply," Thompson said. "I'm also grateful to Dickinson fostering an environment that not only prepared me for my new role, but also allowed me to become a well-rounded, globally engaged athlete."
Beyond Sports is a Portland-based organization whose mission is to "connect the world through sports." Since 2010, this organization has been creating immersive, sport-centered travel opportunities for US athletes. Grounded in the power of cross-cultural interaction, their programs are are mutually transformative for US athletes, international athletes, and international youth.
For more information about the Beyond Sports Fellowship or GLASS, please visit www.beyondsportsglass.com