The three sport athlete in high school, Sierra Dawn-Nelson is Clark Atlanta University’s floor captain for the 2018-2019 volleyball team.

Sierra Dawn-Nelson has been playing volleyball since the age of 12.  With her second year on the squad, the graduating senior has already made a tremendous impact on her teammates, coaches, and in school.

Sierra started out her volleyball career by playing for clubs and recreational teams back in middle school. Afterwards, she was a three-sport athlete in high school playing volleyball, basketball, and tennis.

Before making her way to Clark Atlanta University she played at a JUCO in California. After two years in being at City College of San Francisco, she realized that she wanted a career after college and began to work towards her bachelor’s degree.“I sent out my film to many different schools, and I received an offer from Clark Atlanta so I decided to come here,” said Nelson.

Fighting through the pain. Sierra is the definition of resilient. Every practice and game brings pain as she has two wear knee braces on both of her knees. Still, with all the pain that her knees have brought her for the past two years, she still goes and plays every game like it’s her last.

“I’m a captain but I feel like those are also just labels. With me being the floor captain so whenever we get on the court I am the designated captain. So whenever there is a problem in the game I am the one who talks to the referee, but I feel everyone plays a role on the court,” said Nelson,

After her first year playing for the Lady Panthers volleyball team, she became a SIAC pre-season first team player.  She also has an impressive stat line with her 40th game with double-digit assists and counting.

I think my playing style comes off as intense to my teammates. I am determined, loud when I play, and very bossy. It doesn’t matter who is on the other side of the net, we can beat anybody. I feel like I am being paid to do a job and we should do a good job every time, Nelson said.

The Lady Panthers received a new head coach this season. “I love coach Jones, I feel like we have a coach that is going to push us and get us to where we need to be. Coach Val has a lot more experience and time to put into us”.

Some of Sierra’s goals for her senior year are “ A lot of my goals aren’t necessary for myself, but more so for Clark’s volleyball program. I want Volleyball to be more recognized and respected at Clark Atlanta University. I want the girls that play after me to have the proper college experience as they should be a student-athlete.

Our team can win the conference but that is not always a goal for me, as long as you play goof volleyball then all those things will follow. The experiences that you share with your team and playing together is awarding.

Sierra will graduate next spring with a degree in Psychology, she wants to become a teacher.

Besides playing volleyball with her fellow teammates, some of the other hobbies Sierra likes to do her spare time are to draw, watch HGTV,  and eat her favorite food pizza.


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