Where Are They Now?

Athletic alumna Heather Shiflett during her senior year as a Judson volleyball player.
Athletic alumna Heather Shiflett during her senior year as a Judson volleyball player.

“Live it up! There will be a day when you miss it, I promise.”

Ring a bell? You may have heard this phrase or something similar from your parents, a coach, or maybe even a professor. However, these are the words of athletic alumna Heather Shiflett. Judson’s athletic department has always emphasized interaction between current athletes and alumnae with events such as alumnae athletic day, but have you ever wondered what really connects the two? Athletic alumna like Shiflett are a reminder of that union. Shiflett began attending Judson in 2010. Eight years ago, Shiflett too walked the halls of Jewett. She double majored in biology and chemistry while playing softball and volleyball. Shiflett too experienced the long study hours and late-night trips home from games. More importantly, she experienced the overwhelming stress of being a college athlete. Shiflett has no problem admitting that being a college athlete played a crucial role in who she is today. “My time at Judson made me realize that hard work pays off. Being a college athlete is hard both physically and emotionally, but so worth it,” said Shiflett. Shiflett expressed the struggles she faced (like many student athletes) with juggling classes. While playing two sports, Shiflett set a goal for herself to graduate in three years instead of four. “I told myself that if I could play two sports in college and manage to graduate in three years that I could do anything,” said Shiflett. She achieved that goal by graduating in June of 2013. Today, Shiflett is working as a pharmacist and will finish her residency in June. Shiflett is married to her high school sweetheart and enjoys reminiscing about her time at Judson.

“One of my favorite memories would be the time the softball field got flooded really bad before a game and we were trying to quickly dry it up to get ready for the next day. It was such a mess, but it was so much fun.” Shiflett’s response resonated with Judson’s current softball team, as they too have made some unforgettable memories preparing the field for a game the day after rain. “It’s so funny to hear that we still have to go through some of the same things that the alumnae did when they played,” said junior softball player Ashtin Morris. Another Judson alumna, Sidney Burnett expressed how her Judson experience continues to impact her life today. Burnett played softball for Judson and graduated in December of 2008. She now works as the executive assistant at Grace Fellowship. Burnett has also served in the Alabama Army National Guard for 15 years. She shared one of her best memories of being a Judson student athlete, which occurred at one of the scariest times in her life. “Right before Christmas tea in 2008, I found out I was getting deployed to Afghanistan,” said Burnett. “The first person I told was Dr. Potts. At the serenade he shared the news, and my teammates and classmates gathered around me to pray.” Burnett said that this moment gave her an “unimaginable peace” that carried her through the next eighteen months. “Being a Judson student athlete will push you to new levels and challenge you like never before, but that’s what helped me prepare for my next adventure,” said Burnett. When you look back at your time as a student or student athlete at Judson, what will your greatest memories be? Will they consist of muddy practices, or will they be filled with moments of fear followed by comfort from Judson sisters and staff? Whatever they may be, our athletic alumnae encourage us to fully embrace the experience. In the words of Heather Shiflett, “When the games and practices are hard, relax and leave it all out on the field or court. That’s the best you can do!”

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