The Power of Perseverance

Associate dean of the Student Athlete Academic Center, Trevor Wilson, reflects on his experiences in the EdD program as a recent graduate

Having graduated with an education doctorate this past semester, Trevor Wilson is living his dream by combining his two passions—athletics and education—in his current position as the associate dean of the Student Athlete Academic Center. “When I was younger, I always thought about being a teacher and working with athletes. That was really all I ever thought about doing,” said Wilson.

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Photo Courtesy of Trevor Wilson

Wilson received his bachelor’s degree at BYU–Hawaii and continued his schooling at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where he received a master’s degree in education and obtained a license in public school administration. Upon completion of his degree, Trevor moved to Utah where he taught courses and coached basketball and volleyball at Weber State University. After a few years, Wilson decided that the college coaching lifestyle wasn’t for him, so he moved to K–12 where he was a principal at Mt. Ogden Junior High and Ogden High School.

In 2011, Wilson joined BYU as the director of the Student Athlete Academic Center. Three years later, after discussions with his wife about furthering his education, Trevor enrolled in the education leadership (EdD) program to achieve his goal of obtaining a doctorate degree. Wilson said, “I never would have applied to this program had my wife not been so supportive. She’s the one who kept telling me ‘you really need to get this’.”

Even with the support of family and friends, Wilson still faced adversity and moments of uncertainty. “When I first started in 2014, I had quite a bit of anxiety. My job was really hectic, and my church calling was really busy. And I wondered—how am I going to add school on top of this?” said Wilson. 

Wilson’s anxiety was calmed during an introductory retreat at Pam Hallam’s cabin. He recalled, “We were all meeting at the cabin and somehow, I got lost. I don’t know where I was, and I ended up sitting in a parking lot thinking that there is no way I have time to do this. Right then, Steve Hite pulled up right next to me and asked, ‘Are you looking for Pam’s place too?’ and I said ‘yeah’ and he said ‘Well we are lost together’.”

From that point on, Wilson was fully engaged. Any anxiety he previously had about the program was gone. He often reflects on that experience and on how thankful he was that someone was placed in his life at that moment. “I think back on that and say ‘How close was I to giving up?’ Steve gave me that little boost,” said Wilson. “I’m grateful in that moment the right person was sent to give me a little pick-me-up that has made a huge difference in my career.”

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Photo Courtesy of Trevor Wilson

In the Student Athlete Academic Center, Wilson has the opportunity to assist students who may be in a similar situation. “I often think about how many students I work with who may be in that simple anxiety moment. Helping my students in that five-minute anxiety moment may be the difference in deciding to move forward or to back out.”

Wilson oversees student athletes in various aspects of school life, such as admissions, academics, housing, and the Honor Code. In a typical day, he spends about 60 percent of his time on administrative tasks and 40 percent on working with students. Another big part of his job is interacting with professors and coaches about the academic progress of student athletes.

Supporting students is one of the most satisfying parts of Wilson’s job and he credits it to the encouragement he received from his cohorts and professors within the Education and Leadership Foundations Department (EdLF). “I had a billion questions and they were always so responsive,” said Wilson. “The input [my cohorts] gave was just as valuable as the course material.”

Thanks to the EdD program, Wilson has reaped the rewards that come through persevering through tough moments. Experiencing those trials has enabled him to understand and serve his students in a greater capacity. Wilson also expressed his gratitude for all those who worked with him, especially the professors. “You would think at my age, in midlife, you wouldn’t look at professors and teachers as role models, but I did.”

Reflecting on his time in the program, Wilson said it was one of the best experiences he has been through. “I can’t think of one negative thing about that program. It was just really good for me personally,” said Wilson. “I certainly would not have been satisfied with my career had I not completed that program.”

Writer: Cameron Hussein

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922