President of the Athletes of Color Coalition Maya Carnes ’26 Speaks on “Bridging the Gap”

6 min read

Annika Dyczkowski ’25

Sports Editor

The Tripod had the opportunity to sit down with Maya Carnes ’26, president of the Athletes of Color Coalition (ACC), and discuss her experience as a member of the coalition, the role that the ACC plays on campus, and looking ahead for student-athletes of color at Trinity.

In addition to being the interim president of the ACC, Carnes is a member of the women’s basketball team, the DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging) Committee, and the NESCAC CoSAoC (Coalition of Student-Athletes of Color). In the spring of her freshman year, Carnes decided to join the ACC after former teammate and member of the ACC E-Board Frankie Silva ’23 encouraged her to join. “I didn’t do much except printing and doing small stuff for the E-Board members.” This past fall, Carnes served as vice president of the ACC, working closely with former President Mike Brice ’25. “He was sending emails, and I was doing behind the scenes work.” This semester, however, there was a leadership change that led to Carnes doing much more for the ACC. Brice is studying abroad this semester, leaving Carnes with the responsibility of the coalition.

“Being the interim president is a lot of responsibility, we have a younger board, so everything is really new.” Carnes continues, “Brice has been really helpful texting me and helping me with any questions I have.” She elaborates on her new responsibilities this semester that she had no experience with prior to serving as president, “Sometimes I might have to schedule a meeting with the career center,” she laughs, “I didn’t know how to do that before but now I know how to do it.” Carnes continues, “[Now] anytime we need to have a meeting, plan an event, or collaborate with anyone, my responsibility is to organize that and delegate responsibilities.”

In planning events on campus, Carnes works closely with Denver Williams, assistant football coach, and Kristen Noone, associate athletic director and senior woman administrator responsible for compliance and student-athlete welfare. Other clubs and committees on campus that the ACC collaborates with for events includes the Multicultural Affairs Committee (MAC) and Imani, the Black Student Union’s club. “We’ll do tailgates, movie nights and anything else like that when we collab with Imani,” Carnes says. The ACC also has experience with community work in the Hartford area, such as their annual Community Day with the Boys and Girls Club. Carnes shares, “there were athletes of all different teams playing games with the Boys and Girls Club and we ended with a big picnic.” For Black History Month, the ACC has been quite occupied, with events including Black History Month Trivia and game nights. “For Black History Month, we try and do as many events as possible, and we make our events open to everyone.” As the ACC plans so many events on campus, Carnes emphasizes how she and her fellow E-Board members curate a supportive environment for student-athletes of color. “We work to promote a safe space, bringing awareness to what it’s like being a POC at a PWI [predominately white institution] and just being another community for athletes of color on campus.”

Carnes was hesitant to accept the position at first, but she concludes that it was the right decision. “I didn’t wanna do it at first, but there was a learning curve.” She alludes to the experiences that being ACC President has afforded her, saying “it’s given me the opportunity to connect with a lot of people on campus, especially the administration.” She shares that working with the athletic administration is something she was not familiar with prior to serving as president. “We work with Kristen Noone pretty closely, and Kristen and Drew [Galbraith] are really good at helping.

Carnes elucidates how the Career Center is at the core of the ACC’s work on campus, collaborating on events such as free headshots for members of the ACC. The Career Center is often a valuable resource that some students may not take advantage of, and she describes the importance of offering headshots and hosting similar events, saying “most athletes have resumes, LinkedIn pages, Handshake, and they sometimes don’t even know how to work with those platforms.” She continues, explaining the significance of the Career Center and its close relationship with the ACC, “it’s important to host these events, like bringing alums to talk to us about life after college because most times having connections with alums is how students here get jobs.”

The ACC works according to their mission statement: “Bridging the gap between athletes, students of color and the greater Trinity College campus community one step at a time” (via @TrinityCollegeACC on Instagram). Carnes describes why the coalition’s mission statement is so significant to her, saying that being a student-athlete of color has its own challenges. “There’s another dimension, another layer of challenges and obstacles.” She acknowledges that everyone faces struggles, but that the ACC exists to reflect exactly that. “What we really wanna focus on is that you’re never going through anything alone, and that we are so much more than just our sport and being an athlete at Trinity.” She concludes, “We want to make our presence known and we want to connect with everyone on campus.

Carnes shares that the biggest focus for the ACC right now is student body involvement. “We usually have good turnout at events, but we are looking to branch out into more sports [teams].” She also shares that they are looking to increase their female presence in membership and at events; although she acknowledges that not every team holds the same amount of diversity, “getting other sports and other perspectives involved is important.” The ACC’s next event is a Resume Building Informational Session in coordination with the Career Center on March 21. If you are a student-athlete of color interested in being involved with the Athletes of Color Coalition, you can contact Maya Carnes at maya.carnes@trincoll.edu.

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