The A team: Amber Reber
Every week, TexasSports.com highlights a UT senior student-athlete who earned Academic All-Big 12 honors in 2005-06.
Her dad always told her it was the trying that counts.
Perhaps it was these simple, yet reassuring words of wisdom from Wayne Reber that set senior distance runner Amber Reber along a great path. She has tried much, pushing herself physically, intellectually and spiritually throughout her life, and in turn, she has achieved and received so much.
A native Texan-- she was born in Arlington-- Reber went to middle and high schools in O'Fallon, Ill., a small town in the southeastern part of the state, just east of St. Louis, Mo.
After taking to the track in the eighth grade, she began running cross country in high school. She knew she wanted to return to warm weather in the south and The University of Texas turned out to be the perfect fit.
"I knew that Texas was a great state and Austin was such a beautiful city," Reber said. "I would also get a great education here, so it was a combination of several things that brought me here."
Reber competes in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field. She focuses primarily on the 3,0000-meter, 5,000-meter run and 3,000-meter steeplechase, all events that greatly test an athlete both physically and mentally. She consistently finishes well, often medaling. Due to previous medical redshirts, Reber will have a full-year of athletic eligibility remaining after this spring, leaving the possibility open for remaining as a student-athlete at Texas for one more year while she pursues a graduate-level degree.
Academically, Reber has also attained great success. She has been named to an All-Big 12 Academic First Team four different times (three times in cross country, once in track and field).For the 2006-07 academic year, Reber was awarded one of The University's prestigious Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarships, which are given to The University's top undergraduate students based on academic achievement and extracurricular involvement. Nominated by her academic department, Reber reserves this achievement as her proudest academic accomplishment at Texas.
Along with her many athletic and academic responsibilities, once on the Forty Acres Reber also became involved with several campus ministries, including Lutheran Campus Ministry and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).
"FCA is a great ministry that I felt could really reach out to others, especially to other student-athletes," Reber explained.
It has been through involvement like this that Reber has grown even more as an individual and has come to see the world in a different way.
"Looking at all of my experiences holistically, it is amazing to see how I have developed as a person and in my relationships with so many wonderful people during my years here," Reber remarked.
She has led and participated in bible studies and covenant groups and also serves on the leadership team for FCA. She regularly volunteers with a homeless lunch outreach program and has spent past summers as a camp counselor at the FCA Leadership Camp in Abilene and at sports camps back home in O'Fallon.
Reber is a woman who strives to help others, so it should not be surprising that she aims to pursue a career doing just that. She hopes to satisfy her innate desire to help people and better understand human behavior in a career as a Christian counselor for children or athletes.
"Ultimately, I want to work with people on an individual basis by helping them lead physically, mentally and spiritually healthy lives," Reber said.
She plans to further her education after she graduates in May with her degree in psychology. Graduate school is in her immediate future, hopefully at Texas, before eventually obtaining her Ph.D. in educational psychology, clinical psychology, and/or theology.
It will certainly be the same hard work, determination and positive attitude that will help Reber accomplish these and other great things. Whatever she chooses, she will undoubtedly put forth the effort and try.
"Everyday I try to do everything I can to be the best I can be and to grow and to learn and to strive, whether it is in my faith, in relationships with friends and family, out on the track or in the classroom," Reber said.
After all, it is the trying that counts.