2020 KOGOD Womxn of the Year: Grace Brennan '23

Grace Brennan, this year’s KOGOD Womxn of the Year award recipient, is a sophomore at AU studying business administration. She is also part of AU’s Womxn’s Lacrosse team as a defensive player.

HCAU sat down with Grace to learn more about her and highlight her achievements before the Womxn of the Year award ceremony.  

 

Her Campus American: Who nominated you for Womxn of the Year and what was your reaction on finding out you had won?

Grace Brennan: It’s a little bit of a funny story. My sister [Hannah Brennan] nominated me, she's a part of Her Campus. And I had no idea she nominated me until I got the email saying that basically I won and I had no idea.

So I walked over to her I'm like, “Um, Hannah, what's going on here? Can you explain this to me?” And she explained it to me and I have not been able to get my smile off my face since.

I'm so happy about it. It's really touching to be awarded something so prestigious for an organization with womxn who are so empowered and so strong. I feel really lucky.

Woman Wearing Brown Shirt Carrying Black Leather Bag on Front of Library Books Abby Chung

HCAU: What does being a student athlete mean to you and what work goes into that?

GB: Being a student athlete is a full-time job on top of school.

It's a lot of work and truly, it shows you what you're made of. I have learned so much about myself, off the field more than on the field, about who I am, the woman I am right now and the woman I'm becoming. Just skills that I have learned about myself—time management, resilience, everything that has gone into it.

I'm a better person for it now. And I wouldn't change a thing about it.

 

HCAU: Tell me about Team IMPACT and what role you play in it.

GB: Team IMPACT is a nationally recognized organization that basically pairs a child who has been sidelined by sickness with a collegiate team. It then takes that child and lets them be an honorary team member, lets them have a family outside of their own and have support and have something to look forward to. They get a Jersey, they get to come to all the games and everything.

It's really something for the child to look forward to. It's like a shining light in their life that they get to hold onto, which is really nice. And we'll be the first program at AU that has started this, which is really exciting. I hope other programs follow afterwards, but I coordinated it alongside my head coach, Lindsey Teeters, and it would not have happened without her constant support.

 

HCAU: How did you go about involving American University with Team IMPACT?

GB: You have to go through all the administration AU wise, get to the top and ask them ‘can we do this?’ Obviously, the administration at AU is great, so they said ‘Yes, go for it. This is an amazing thing.’

We applied, I’ve been corresponding with the Team IMPACT representatives for the DC area for a couple months now. And, finally, we have gotten through all the hoops, jumped through all of them. We’ve gotten to the point where we’re able to be matched up with a child.

 

HCAU: What are so goals you feel you’ve reached so far and why are they important to you?

GB: I wanted to talk about how I am a member of an anti-racism collective at AU.

Throughout this collective, we are basically having a book club and discussing the contents of White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo. It is so important to have a safe space to discuss these hard and uncomfortable topics because they need to be tackled. We need to educate ourselves as well as reshape the conversation to truly foster lasting change!

But overall, this past year was quite a big transition coming into college. I didn't necessarily know what to expect and I didn't know who I really was. And coming into college, I feel like I didn't have an identity of my own.

Tt was my goal to find myself and find who I really want to be. And I'd say I absolutely found myself. I had one hell of a freshman year, even though we were sent home early. I'd say that was my biggest goal to really find out who I am and who I want to be.

And then through this first year, I really found myself and found how resilient I am and I faced a lot of hardships, but it was really worth it in the end. And I liked the person I have become now.

person using laptop at a desk Photo by Christin Hume from Unsplash

HCAU: Do you have any future goals or plans for after graduation?

GB: I don't really know what I want to do after school yet. I am in the business school, but I'm very interested in public health. My mom does work in dialysis and I would love to do something on the public health side of business and really help people. That would be my goal.

We'll see where I end up, but hopefully I'm working with people.

 

HCAU: What womxn in your life inspire you the most?

GB: I have to say without a doubt, my mother.

She is 100% my pillar of strength, and love and hope. She is my everything and I am so fortunate to be related to her and to share her blood.

I’m partial because she is my mother, but she really is the most amazing womxn ever. She faced so many hardships and everything that she tackles, she conquers. And if I can be half the women she is one day, then I will be something really great.

 

HCAU: What advice to you do you have for other hardworking womxn?

GB: I would say be true to yourself and never give up. It's so important in this time to keep working hard, to keep evolving as a person, keep growing and working towards your goals.

Never give up.

Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels

Her Campus American is so excited to celebrate Grace and our other Womxn of the Year winners this Sunday at our annual event. She deserves this award and to be recognized for all of her hard work both in and outside the American University community