The University of Georgia
Brannon, Drew

UGA's Amazing Students

Drew Brannon

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October 3, 2008

Drew Brannon helps athletes perform. A former student athlete, he’s not the kind of coach you’d find on the sidelines. A lot of his work is done before players hit the field…or track…or court. Brannon is a doctoral student in counseling psychology, and he works with UGA student athletes to help them maximize their potential. Working with the UGA Athletic Association, he has counseled student athletes through struggles ranging from anxiety and depression to sport-specific issues. His doctoral research is in the area of sport motivation, particularly looking at how personality traits and contextual variables affect well-being and motivation. After graduation, Brannon hopes to become a licensed psychologist and continue working with student athletes.

Expected graduation:

Fall 2010

Degree objective:

Ph.D. in counseling psychology with a concentration in sport psychology

University highlights, achievements and awards:

This is my second year as a graduate assistant with the UGA Athletic Association. Also, last winter, I was one of two doctoral students invited to attend a noteworthy seminar focused on the psychological healthcare of athletes. This seminar was first organized by the NCAA and is limited to approximately 30 psychologists working with or consulting with Division I athletic departments. Also, I consider many of my highlights to be the work I do with my clients. Helping people overcome various types of psychological and emotional barriers is a challenging and yet rewarding process. Last, I am conducting research in the area of sport motivation. The life of an athlete is extremely demanding. Maintaining adequate motivation is critical in order to function well and reach performance goals. I am seeking to determine how personality traits and contextual variables affect one’s well being and one’s motivation toward their sport.

Current Employment:

I am employed as a graduate assistant by the UGA Athletic Association in the division of sports medicine. I provide counseling and sport psychology services to individual student-athletes and teams. I work with student-athletes on many issues, ranging from depression and anxiety to sport-specific mental struggles. I also consult with coaches regarding their teams.

I chose to attend UGA because...

...of the quality of the counseling psychology program and its department, which is ranked 6th nationally. Our program offers great training opportunities and prepares graduate students well for various careers in psychology. Additionally, I completed my master’s degree at UGA, so my family and I were already fond of Athens.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

... to run. I’m an avid runner and enjoy the landscapes of UGA, especially the areas of North Campus and the Oconee Forest Park trails.

When I have free time, I like...

...to spend time with my family. Things stay pretty hectic, so quality time with my wife and my daughter is something I cherish and depend on.

The craziest thing I've done is...

...take a spontaneous trip to Disney World during my senior year of college. My wife (fiancee at the time) and I were having dinner one evening when the topic of Disney World surfaced. I had never been there, so she made the comment that “we should go sometime.” I agreed and said “how about right now.” We were both collegiate athletes, but actually we both had the following day off. So, we cleaned up dinner, jumped in the car, and left. We drove all night and arrived at the Magic Kingdom just as the gates opened for the day. After a great time, we left mid-afternoon and got back to campus around midnight. It was my first (and hopefully last) 40 hour day. The trip was called the “Disney Dash,” and we still laugh about it today.

My favorite place to study is...

I have two places that I use depending on how focused I need to be. If I really need quality study time, I go to the top floor of the Science Library because it is quiet. But, if I can afford to be interrupted, I like to be at home. My daughter can be very persuasive in her attempts to pull me away from the books.

My favorite professor is...

...my wife and daughter. They have been the ones who have kept things balanced in my life during graduate school. They are very good at making me laugh and reminding me never to take anything too seriously.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

...win a gold medal for the U.S. Olympic team in the marathon. This would have to be a “could not fail” decision because I would have no chance of making the team otherwise.

After graduation, I plan to...

...become licensed as a psychologist. In terms of a job, I know I want to continue to work with athletes. Increasingly, athletic departments are employing full-time psychologists to provide a wide array of services. I would be interested in this type of position or possibly in operating a private practice, while also doing consulting work with athletes and organizations.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

...graduation day. Although it is yet to come, I feel confident that it will be my favorite memory. Graduate school has provided outstanding growth opportunities for me, but has also been very challenging. Graduating with my Ph.D. in hand will be the culmination of countless hours of hard work and many sacrifices.