Equipped to Serve

Michael Dumas Experience, Spring 2021

Jonina Brinson ’17

Years as a star athlete taught Jonina Brinson the merits of short- and long-term goals. The work someone puts in today may not manifest itself in immediate success, but with passion and dedication, positive outcomes will still occur.

Mastering that concept is how the 2017 graduate earned multiple player of the year honors, and why her coaching career has taken off since she graduated. In August 2020, Brinson was named the assistant track & field coach at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Her hire was no surprise to University of Mobile Head Track & Field Coach Andy Canegitta, who relied on Brinson to help lead his teams after she transferred to the university

as an upperclassman from her home state of Georgia. After her athletic career ended, Brinson was named to UM’s All-Decade Team in both indoor and outdoor track & field.

Coaching isn’t her only calling. Building on her degree in psychology, Brinson also is pursuing a career as a counselor. She started off assisting children and adults with behavioral challenges and intellectual disabilities, and said she also wants to offer therapy to student athletes.

“Sometimes mental health in the student athlete world is overlooked,” Brinson said. “Typically, student athletes don’t really admit how they’re feeling because they don’t want it to look like weakness.

“So I’m here to advocate for them, tell them the help is definitely out there, and we can get it for you.”

Brinson’s been an advocate for much of her adult life, including as a University of Mobile Ambassador, one of a select few chosen for the program’s inaugural year. The experience, and a lifetime spent in athletics, has also helped equip her to live in service to others.

“It’s good to know that everything isn’t about you,” she said. “And you can take time from yourself to help others and watch them succeed.”

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Michael Dumas