MACOMB, Ill. - Western Illinois announced the hiring of Claire Smalzer as Assistant Director of Academic Services. Smalzer spent the last year serving as a graduate assistant in the department before accepting the full-time position.
"I am ecstatic that Claire has decided to join the Leatherneck family as a full time staff member," said Assistant Athletics Director for Academic Services and Senior Woman Administrator Lisa Melz-Jennings. "Her past year as my graduate assistant proved to be invaluable to her growth. I am certain she is ready for this next stage in her career."
As a graduate assistant, Smalzer was responsible for the academic advising of six NCAA Division I sport programs including: football, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, volleyball and softball. Weekly she would meet with student-athletes to track grades, discuss study strategies, encourage the utilization of tudors and stress the importance of quality communication skills. She gained experience updating semester and degree progress hours on the NCAA Compliance Assistant website, updating major changes and helping student-athletes with course selection.
The Palos Heights, Ill. native, also helped coordinate community events for Leatherneck student-athletes including Jump Rope for Heart, Rocky's Reach and The Summit League Food Fight.
Smalzer came to Western Illinois after graduating Dean's List with Distinction from Duke University in 2011 with a bachelor's of science in
Anthropology and Anatomy and a minor in Education. While at Duke, she helped the Blue Devils volleyball program to ACC Championships in 2008 and 2010, the NCAA Finals in 2007-10 and the Elite 8 in 2010. The starting libero and four-year letterwinner ranks third in Duke history in career digs (1,637).
"I am very excited to join Western Illinois athletics as a full-time staff member this fall," Smalzer said. "I am eager to continue my work with the Macomb community and the
wonderful student-athletes, faculty and staff members we have here at