Rising Stars Spotlights: Dia Fortenberry and Dani Fey
Fortenberry is the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Engagements and Initiatives NCAA Intern at Wesleyan University.
In her role, Dia is tasked with creating programming and providing resources to enhance the University andathletic department's understanding of diversity, equity and inclusion. She also holds a major role within Wesleyan's student-athlete driven Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.
Dia arrived at her position at Wesleyan after having most recently served as an elementary school teacher at James Singleton Charter in her hometown, New Orleans, Louisiana. Some of the events that have shaped her career include the NCAA D3 Leadership Conference, the NCAA D3 Student Immersion Convention, the NCAA Inclusion Forum, and the Women's Leadership Symposium.
While an undergrad at Millsaps College, Fortenberry was a panelist on ethnic diversity in sport for the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) in 2020 where she was one of three selected students speaking to athletic directors across the nation about her personal experiences and providing direction on proper DEI practices. Dia also credits this event as one that first that ignited her passion for DE&I. In her time at Millsaps, Dia founded Black Athlete Empowerment (BAE) student organization and served as President during her senior year. This student association was created to unite black athletes, affirm experiences, unite and uplift all athletes, and provide resources like mental health, self-image, and story-telling workshops.
A highly distinguished student at Millsaps, Fortenberry was named Millsaps' Most Distinguished Woman in 2021 as well as a Hall of Fame inductee for the College that same year. A standout on the basketball court, Fortenberry was a four-time All-Southern Athletic Association (SAA) performer for Millsaps. She earned SAA Defensive Player of the Year honors and was an All-South Region Second Team honoree her senior year in 2020-21. As a 2021 graduate of Millsaps College, Dia holds a Bachelor's in Sociology with minors in Religious Studies and Philosophy. At Wesleyan University, she is currently working towards her master's degree in Social Sciences.
Fey is currently serving as the social media coordinator for Penn State Athletics. She is responsible for running the main social media accounts for all 31 sports and providing assistance across other social channels, including photo and video capturing and editing. In addition, Fey holds the position of social media chair on the ACDEI (Athletic Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).
During her time at Penn State University, Fey was not only a student-athlete on the softball team but also pursued a degree in communications with a specialization in broadcast journalism and a minor in sports studies. After graduating in 2021, she gained valuable experience as a marketing intern at an engineering company for three months. However, her true calling in college athletics became evident, leading her to join Juniata College as the Assistant Director of Athletic Communications at the Division III level.
In February of 2022, Fey returned to her alma mater, Penn State, for her current role. Over the past year and five months, she has embraced various experiences and made connections with numerous individuals.
Fey's professional development journey commenced with the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar, which she attended just before starting her position at Penn State. The seminar equipped her with a wide range of skills that she seamlessly incorporated into her new role. Her most cherished professional event thus far was the Women Leaders in College Sports Conference in October 2022, held in Kansas City. Being in a room filled with female leaders ready to make their mark on the sports industry was a truly inspiring experience for Fey. It provided her with a renewed sense of purpose and solidified her identity within her chosen career path.
Beyond her work commitments, Fey leads an equally busy personal life. Her involvement in softball opened the door to participating in triathlons, thanks to the guidance of her mentors. She is currently preparing for the local half Iron(WO)man event in State College, scheduled for July. In her free time, Fey enjoys watching and walking dogs, earning a five-star rating on Rover.com. She finds solace in any activity involving water, particularly wakeboarding, although she often prioritizes relaxation and rejuvenation while spending time on the lake. Fey's family serves as her anchor, and whenever her schedule allows, she makes it a point to visit her hometown of Bangor, PA, and spend quality time with them.
Looking ahead, Fey is eagerly anticipating her attendance at the upcoming Women Leaders in College Sports Conference in New Orleans. This highly anticipated event will provide her with an opportunity to further propel the progress of women in sports and advance her own personal career aspirations.
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