Earning Her Stripes
Wellness and Recreation student employee Hannah Williams (integrative physiology and neuroscience '22) will be a referee for the national flag football tournament in Round Rock, Texas in January 2022.
By Natalie Gore, DASA Marketing Intern
EDITOR’S NOTE: In January, Hannah Williams was named All-American Official at the national flag football tournament in Round Rock, Texas, where she was a referee in the women’s championship game. Williams is NC State’s first All-American Official since 2014 and is the university’s first-ever female official to earn All-American honors.
Hannah Williams (integrative physiology and neuroscience ‘22) has always been an athlete and a sports lover. Her passion for refereeing flag football, though, is a rather newfound interest that has motivated her efforts to make it to the national tournament in January 2022. Officiating is now Williams’s dedication to athletics, but it was not always this way for her.
Williams grew up an athlete, playing showcase basketball for one of the most competitive teams in North Carolina. Her mother also coached a recreational basketball league. The inspiration she derives from her mother pushes her to work hard, even in a field that is dominated by males. “Because of the experiences I gained through her, I am extremely passionate about recreational sports and the opportunities they offer to people,” she explained.
After deciding to attend Campbell University as a first-year in college, she made the difficult but necessary decision to not continue her path as a student-athlete into college. However, Williams knew that she wanted to stay engaged and connected within the sports community.
Upon arrival at Campbell’s first-year orientation, she immediately searched for a job and found her place in the Campus Recreation department officiating all sports played at the school. Williams transferred to NC State for her sophomore year and knew that she wanted to continue her career as an official within the Wellness and Recreation department. She started as an official, moved up to being an evaluator and then applied to become a program assistant (PA) in the spring of this year.
As a PA, Williams has the ability to teach as well as to help her fellow students grow professionally — both things that she greatly enjoys. Additionally, working for Wellness and Recreation “is a field that keeps you on your toes,” she says. “Things are constantly moving and evolving, which makes it a very fast-paced and competitive work environment.”
Once she arrived at NC State, Williams was able to center her focus on officiating flag football, specifically. She has been hooked ever since. “Officiating is exhilarating. It is competitive and fast-paced while also being an environment where you will only thrive if you work as a team with your fellow officials,” Williams said. The experience not only excites her, but teaches valuable lessons such as cooperation and teamwork as well.
Williams can recall a myriad of pleasant moments from her time working as a flag football referee, and she has made meaningful, lasting friendships through the experience as well. As she finishes her senior year and looks to the future, Williams hopes to secure an internship in competitive sports and return to school for her graduate degree.
Flag football officiating certainly is not going away in her life anytime soon, though. Williams attended a flag football regional tournament at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst
in October, where she earned a bid to officiate the national flag football tournament in Round Rock, Texas in January 2022. Williams sets a prime example of an NC State student and WellRec employee using her resources to follow her dreams and achieve greatness.
Support from WellRec
Williams received funding for her travel from Wellness and Recreation via the Student Development Professional Fund. This scholarship covered her travels in the past, and will help to cover the costs of travel to Texas again in January. If you would like to help other NC State Wellness and Recreation employees in their adventures at NC State, please consider making a gift to the Wellness and Recreation Friends and Family Student Employee Scholarship Fund or to the Wellness and Recreation Enhancement Fund.
Additionally, we love to learn about and share stories like Hannah’s. If you are a Wellness and Recreation alumni or student worker with a cool story to share, contact Mary Yemma Barnhart at firstname.lastname@example.org or (919) 513-3890.
Update: First All-American Female Official!
In January, Hannah Williams was named All-American Official at the national flag football tournament in Round Rock, Texas, where she was a referee in the women’s championship game. Williams is NC State’s first All-American Official since 2014 and is the university’s first-ever female official to earn All-American honors.