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GNAC Excited to Receive D3 Diversity Funding Grant For Third Consecutive Year



GNAC will announce newest D3
diversity funding intern hire next week

WINTHROP, Mass. – Made possible by the NCAA Division III Diversity and Inclusion working group and governance staff, the Great Northeast Athletic Conference is pleased and fortunate to receive $2,500 in grant funding for the third straight year. The resources will go towards hiring a league office intern, who will assist with social media, event planning, and championship administration, among other creative tasks. 

Through the diversity funding, the conference will hire a student that is a woman and/or ethnic minority and is currently attending a GNAC member institution. While the GNAC is set to announce its newest intern for 2019 early next week, the conference office is also proud of its previous two interns that have been hired through the NCAA Division III Diversity Funding program.  

At this time a year ago, Lasell College's Kelsey Hagan worked for the GNAC on the D3 grant before graduating from Lasell last May. Hagan soon after was hired as the Director of New Media by the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, a Division III league office headquartered in Lawrenceville, Georgia. 

"During my time with the GNAC, I was able to get first-hand experience learning what life in a conference office is like," said Hagan, who hails from Narragansett, R.I. "I learned how to create and implement a social media plan and how to conceptualize different graphics for both social media and print. My experience at the GNAC most certainly helped me receive my current position at the SCAC." 

Saint Joseph's College of Maine graduate Sarah Comtois, a Lowell, Mass. native who worked for the GNAC in the spring of 2017, went on to land her dream job a year ago at NEWSCENTER Maine TV after graduating from SJC as a four-year women's soccer standout in 2018. 

"With the GNAC, it was an opportunity to be as creative as you would like," said Comtois. "This is a chance for a GNAC student to develop new ideas, techniques and opinions about the field they are working in, or wish to work in. I was given the freedom to test out different graphic designs and learn more about the programs I was using, and I still use these techniques in the work I create today." 

Prior to the GNAC, Hagan also worked with the Eastern Women's Hockey Conference, a junior women's hockey league dedicated to the development of female hockey players between the ages of 14-19, where she served as Director of Communications. On campus at Lasell, she worked as a Resident Assistant and was part of the Lasers' athletic department gameday staff. In 2018 prior to the GNAC hiring, she began working for Lasell athletics more specifically in a graphic design role. 

As for Comtois, she played four years for SJC head coach Jenelle Harris, in addition to her other commitments on campus, as she was also a SAAC member and SJC Sports Information intern. On the field, she earned 2016 GNAC All-Conference First Team honors as a junior before garnering 2017 All-GNAC Second Team accolades as a senior. Off it, she earned CoSIDA Academic All-District recognition in both 2016 and 2017 for her exemplary work as a New Media Communications major, and logged internships with the Portland Sea Dogs, Maine Red Claws, Nashua Silver Knights and Portland NBC affiliate WSCH-6. 

The ability to work remotely while handling academic, athletic and other responsibilities was key for Comtois. "It was exciting the league office trusted me to get work done on my own time, so I could continue to focus on all aspects of being a student-athlete," she said. "I also loved being able to travel to GNAC Championships, doing social media and lending a hand administratively. It was particularly fun to watch the 2017 GNAC Men's Volleyball Championship [at Wentworth] because I was unfamiliar with the sport." 

Hagan and Comtois worked collaboratively with GNAC Assistant to the Commissioner Annie Jenkins and GNAC Assistant Commissioner Michael Ghika, as will the incoming intern, who will be announced on Monday, March 4. For details on the complete announcement, be sure to log onto  

"It was a great experience to create graphic content and seeing it distributed on social media," added Hagan. "My advice to the next intern would be to take advantage of the opportunities that the GNAC has to offer!"

"The next intern should definitely use this as an opportunity to grow as an individual," said Comtois. "What you can accomplish during this internship is all what you make of it. In any new role, it's important for young professionals to propose new ideas and also hone in techniques you have always wanted to practice."

Up to $50,000 will be distributed from September 2018 through August 2019, as approved by the NCAA Division III Strategic Planning and Finance Committee (SPFC). For more information on the NCAA's Diversity Funding for Division III conference, please click here

PICTURE (from left to right): SJC's Comtois; SCAC Director of New Media Kelsey Hagan with the GNAC office's Michael Ghika & Annie Jenkins at the 2019 NCAA Convention in Orlando.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.