Alyson Jennings: 'Lady in black' always shows a bright side
Alyson Jennings, a senior in communication studies, earned the nickname "Lady in Black" from her Texas Volleyball teammates because of her attire.
She also has earned the inaugural Female Student-Athlete of the Month for the 2007-08 school term.
Thus, for Jennings, the "darkness" ends with her attire.
"I was really excited (about being named the Female Student-Athlete of the Month)," Jennings began. "There are so many great student-athletes here, so I am honored."
Jennings did admit that she did not see the e-mail that was intended to inform her of this recognition.
"I was in Bellmont Hall and I looked up and saw my picture where they have the Student-Athletes of the Month," she said, laughing. "I shouted 'Oh, my god!'"
Her child-on-Christmas-morning response is one reason why Randa Ryan, the senior associate athletics director for student services, is so fond of Jennings.
"Sunny and fun is what Alyson is to me," Ryan said. "Whenever I think about Alyson, I smile. She is the most consistently positive and even personality of any student in our program."
Jennings, a Costa Mesa, Calif., resident, also is consistent on the court as she has started each match for the Longhorns since the beginning of her sophomore season. A member of the U.S. Women's National Volleyball A-2 Team, Jennings was team UT's MVP in 2005 and 2006.
"Alyson has been a steadfast and unwavering part of our program since her first days on campus," Ryan said. "Alyson is dedicated. She always tries hard. She believes in the value and importance of hard work on the volleyball court and in the classroom. She never quits."
Jennings is a recipient of the Betty Alexander Endowed Scholarship, as well as the UT Women's Athletics Betty Himmelblau Endowed Scholarship.
"The lessons I have learned during my years at Texas go beyond the classroom," she said. "There have been life lessons for me in everything I have done."
And what Jennings has done is set an example for those younger members of the volleyball team, from time management skills to her attendance at study hall, as well as being a mentor for others.
Today, what she is doing is coming to grips with the fact that she is nearing the end of her UT career.
"It's sad," she said. "Every time we do something, we say, 'This is the last time we're starting fall practice.' Or we say, 'This is the last time that we'll play our first game.'
"It's hard to believe. I'm really going to miss it."
And Texas will miss her.