Q&A With Soccer’s Riley Patton ’24 and Football’s Kellyn West ’25
WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT BROUGHT YOU TO DAVIDSON?
Riley: I am from Atlanta, Ga. I always knew I wanted to stay in the South when looking at colleges. Davidson provided the perfect opportunity for me to pursue my athletic career close to home while also maintaining a high level of academics. I knew that Davidson was a special place from the moment I stepped on campus, and it has been that way for me ever since.
Kellyn:I was born and raised in Saint Petersburg, Florida. I was drawn to Davidson because of its academic prestige, the generous financial aid package that it offered me and the strong interest the football coaching staff showed me throughout my recruitment.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT DAVIDSON?
Riley: I love Davidson because it brings people from all different walks of life together and unites them around a common goal of making the world a better place. I would have never met many of my closest friends if it weren’t for Davidson, and I will be forever grateful for the lessons I have learned here – how to meaningfully interact with and learn from the people around you.
Kellyn:I love Davidson because I feel like the college does a good job supporting students in a holistic manner. We have access to a wide variety of resources ranging from the free clinical services offered by the Center for Student Health and Well-Being to the professional development provided by the Matthews Center.
WHAT ARE YOU INVOLVED IN AT DAVIDSON OUTSIDE OF YOUR SPORT?
Riley:While it was challenging to participate in many extracurricular activities during my freshman year due to COVID, I have always tried to stay involved with different groups on campus and to take advantage of the resources that Davidson has to offer. Aside from being on the women’s soccer team, I am also the president of the Women in Business Club, an assistant teacher for econometrics and a member of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC). I have also served as the treasurer for Connor Eating House and tutored elementary school students in Spanish at Davidson Elementary School.
Kellyn:Outside of football, I spend most of my time engaging in various extracurriculars around campus. I am a Bonner Scholar, the president of the Pi Mu Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the NPHC ambassador for the Patterson Court Council Executive Board and the community engagement chairman for the Black Student Coalition Executive Board.
HOW ARE YOU SPENDING THE SUMMER?
Riley: This summer, I am interning as a summer analyst with the Consumer & Retail Investment Banking Group at Wells Fargo in Charlotte. After accepting the position nearly a year ago as part of Wells Fargo’s Women on Wall Street program, I could not be more excited to be on the desk and finally getting started.
Kellyn: This summer, I am working as a servant leader intern (SLI) through the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools Program at the Ada Jenkins Center. As an SLI, I help lead grade-school students through a high-energy summer bridge program centered around literacy skills and social action.
WHAT ARE YOU STUDYING AT DAVIDSON AND WHAT CAREER PATH DO YOU HOPE TO PURSUE?
Riley: I am an Economics and Hispanic Studies double major looking to pursue a career in finance. While Davidson does not offer the traditional “business” major, I am hoping to leverage my liberal arts background to achieve a long-lasting career in some form of international business.
Kellyn: I am currently majoring in Economics and minoring in Philosophy. After graduation, I would like to pursue a career in finance or public policy.
WHY IS SUPPORT FROM DONORS AND THE COMMUNITY SO IMPORTANT TO SCHOLAR-ATHLETES?
Riley: Support from donors and the community means everything to scholar-athletes, as it not only provides us with the resources that we need to find success on and off the field, but it gives us the confidence that we have a community supporting us every step of the way. Without the help of donors, we would not be able to prepare, play or recover in the way that our sports demand of us. I feel incredibly fortunate to wear the Davidson logo on my back, and I think it is important to recognize those who help us get it there.
Kellyn: To me, support from donors and the community serves as a reminder that I am not taking on Davidson alone; both my academic and athletic endeavors are backed by those who have made previous connections to the college. Whether it’s the building of new facilities or increased attendance at home games, I have seen the upward trajectory of the football program be sustained just as much by those outside the locker room as inside.
IF YOU WERE SPEAKING TO A RECRUIT, WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM ABOUT THE HIGHLIGHTS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AT DAVIDSON?
Riley:If I were speaking with a recruit, I would tell them that life as a scholar-athlete at Davidson will be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences they will ever have. While it is difficult to manage a full academic course load and still compete at the highest level, the athletic and academic support provided at Davidson is unmatched. While Davidson is made up of highly competitive individuals, I have found the collective desire for success is almost always stronger than any individual aspirations.
Kellyn:I would tell the recruit that one of the main highlights of being a scholar-athlete at Davidson is the community that is built among those involved in athletics. Roughly one-fourth of my classmates are also scholar-athletes, so it has been relatively easy for me to form relationships with different people around campus. I would tell them that the main challenges I’ve faced have been finding a steady balance between the demands of academics and athletics as well as sport-specific obstacles like injuries and adjusting to the collegiate athletic environment.
ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT BEING A SCHOLAR-ATHLETE AT DAVIDSON?
Riley: I am proud to be a member of the Davidson Women’s Soccer team, and I hope future scholar-athletes are able to have the same positive experience that I have had during my time here thus far. The future of Davidson Athletics is bright!
Riley is a recipient of the Dr. John W. Packer Memorial Scholarship and the Underdown Family Scholarship.
Kellyn is a Bonner Scholar.