Lady Vols’ Burrell, Kushkituah Enhance Leadership Skills at AIA Virtual Academy

Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Athletes in Action Basketball recently hosted its first Virtual Leadership Academy for NCAA Division I women’s basketball captains and emerging leaders, and University of Tennessee student-athletes Kasiyahna Kushkituah and Rae Burrell served as representatives for the Lady Vols.

A total of 50 players from 25 different universities were selected to participate in this year’s Academy, which is normally held in Xenia, Ohio, at the Athletes in Action World Headquarters. This year’s Academy spanned three days, with participants spending two hours daily from April 24 to 26.

Kushkituah is a rising senior from Atlanta, Ga., and averaged 5.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 31 games last season. Burrell is a rising junior from Las Vegas who was UT’s second-leading scorer (10.5) and rebounder (5.5) while appearing in 31 contests and starting the final nine. They helped the Lady Vols to a 21-10 overall record and 10-6 SEC mark that earned them a share of third place.

The purpose of the Academy is to equip, empower and encourage student-athletes to be competent, confident, effective team leaders. Participants engaged in a variety of sessions and live video conferences, including how to be a great teammate as well as viewing conflict management techniques, case studies in leadership, cohort group breakdowns, communication lessons and interviews with established leaders in business, sport and the military. Attendees had the chance to develop a deeper view of leadership and identity as well as expand the scope of their leadership understanding in the areas of connectedness and service.

Mike Petersen (Atlanta Dream) and Ariel Atkins (Washington Mystics) as well as former college captains and coaches headlined the experience for the players. The Academy is driven and supported by an AIA staff who want to help athletes use the time well and grow in their personal leadership goals. This marked the fourth year that Athletes in Action Basketball staged its Captains Academy and was the first one ever to be held on Zoom. The captains and leaders were able to participate in this training from their own residences.

Athletes in Action is an international sports organization that champions faith, character and victory beyond competition. AIA basketball hosts events, sends teams and develops total athletes and coaches globally. ‘For the good of the game, the growth of its people, to the glory of God’ is the organization’s prime motivation.


UT Athletics