"A big part of what attracted me to Marian was the opportunity to build personal relationships with faculty and coaches, which isn't always possible at Division I and Division II schools"
After he explored his college options, Conor Smith decided to choose Marian University because of his interest in athletics and exercise science. After completing a bachelor's degree, he planned to continue his studies in a graduate program and become a physical therapist.
"A big part of what attracted me to Marian was the opportunity to build personal relationships with faculty and coaches, which isn't always possible at Division I and Division II schools. Coach Holman really showed interest in me, both as a person and an athlete. I felt like I would grow the most at Marian. And I wanted to be part of Coach Holman's program," Smith recalls.
As a member of Marian's track and field and cross country teams NAIA, Smith is a mid- and long-distance runner. He qualified for cross country NAIA Nationals 3 of his 4 years and earned All-Crossroads League honors in 2017-18. He finished the season at Nationals in Cedar Rapids Iowa with an all-time best of 25:28 for 8,000 kilometers concluding his cross country career on a high note.
Academically, Smith has studied biomechanics and related subjects through classes like ESS 435: Fitness Testing and Exercise Prescription. "That was a good class. We utilized case studies to evaluate fitness profiles, ran formulas to identify performance variables, and then developed unique training plans for each case." He plans to complete an internship working with athletes to improve physical efficiency and performance before graduation.
But Smith, an Indianapolis native and North Central High School graduate, is a young man with many interests. To save money while in college, he began cutting and styling his own hair. He became so good that he now he cuts hair for his male friends and teammates. Many people on campus now know him as Conor Cuts. "I enjoy cutting hair because, it is rewarding but ultimately it gives me an opportunity to maintain relationships with people I would rarely get to see otherwise."
Smith is also interested in the world of business, especially the risks and rewards of entrepreneurship. "About halfway through my sophomore year, my passion for physical therapy began to shift and I decided to add a minor in business to my studies. After completing BUS 109, I came to the realization that this is what I want to do. I like the fact that many of my business classes are taught by professors who have corporate experience. So by the time I began my junior year, I decided to double-major in finance. As I progressed in the major I applied for the opportunity to intern at Eli Lilly and Company in their PRA department. After going through the application and interview process I received the opportunity to be a full-time intern for the summer of 2019. After an incredible experience with Lilly where I was able to further develop my skills and knowledge from the corporate experience, I was presented with a full-time job opportunity to return in the summer of 2020. I was humbled and accepted the job offer knowing that is where I wanted to work.
Outside of athletics and academics, Smith is active in other aspects of campus life. Since the 2018-19 academic year, he has served as a Presidential Ambassador, representing the university and the student body at high-profile on- and off-campus events. He had just recently accepted another role as a Byrum School of Business Ambassador where he will assist in events and recruitment with the business school at Marian.
He has also served as vice president of Marian's Campus Activities Board (CAB) since 2018."I applied for the CAB position because I want to help other students get involved, explore their interests, and build a strong community. Since my freshman year, the university hasn't stopped growing. We've opened new facilities and expanded programs. As campus continues to grow, I think CAB can be a good resource for creating positive changes, like building an even stronger social atmosphere. I hope we can create some new events and increase the numbers of students who participate in CAB activities."
His advice for new college students? "Don't be afraid to change your majors or broaden your horizons and add a second major in a field that interests you. Initiative is a trait that I believe has carried me far and it is the little things you do that can really make a difference. Had I not taken the little bits of initiative on the opportunities I was presented with, I would not be in the position I am in today.
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Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
*Placement rates are gathered from data collected from graduates within six months of graduation.
Students may make a complaint to the Indiana Commission of Higher Education.
Marian University is sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, Indiana.
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