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Fit and Feeling Fab

Jayvon Evans, at right, with his mentor Barbara Brown, coordinator of Advising Plus. (Photos by Naomi McPeters)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 4, 2017) — When you meet senior Jayvon Evans, the first thing you sense is the unadulterated joy that exudes from him.

A Brooklyn native, Evans entered the University four years ago unsure about what he wanted to do and uncertain about who he was. The major field he had planned on no longer felt right to him.

“The one thing I really felt passionate about was fitness,” Evans says. “I found the World of Fitness and Recreation Living-Learning Community and it ended up changing my life.”

His interest in fitness led him to a job with Campus Recreation. Early last year, Evans began teaching Campus Rec’s exercise class Insanity. “After I started Insanity, I realized that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. My ultimate goal is to one day own my own gym, and to inspire people to be happy.”

Evans had to find his own path to happiness on campus. Personal issues during his first two years were negatively affecting his academics. But, in addition to discovering a calling to a career in fitness, he found one person in particular who gave him the mentoring and support he needed to overcome his problems: Barbara Brown, coordinator of a program called Advising Plus.

She and Evans met weekly during his tumultuous years. “It was mostly just talking through things,” Brown said. “At Advising Plus, we work with students at all grade levels and connect them to the academic help they need, whether it is tutors, review sessions, time management skills, or just talking through what’s going on in their life. We are the place to go to when you’re not sure what you need to be successful.”

With Advising Plus, Evans found what he needed to be just that.

“I have watched him grow,” Brown says warmly. “He got very much into physical fitness and nutrition and it became the something he needed to then spur him on to be excellent in every other area of his life.”

Through conversations with Brown, Evans realized changing his major to Communication would better suit his natural ability to relate to people. Once he understood the direction in which he wanted to go, Brown says it unleashed in him a positive energy that is obvious to everyone he meets.

If there is a secret to his positive outlook, this is just it. He says the first thing he does when he wakes up in the morning is to call his mom and make sure she smiles before he starts his day.
Evans plans to graduate in May, and while thinking about the next step in his life makes him sad about what he will be leaving behind at UAlbany, he knows the future is bright.

Barbara Brown, and a good dose of resiliency, gave him that hope.

“It all comes down to intrinsic motivation,” he said. “You should be able to wake up in the morning and say, ‘Today is the day that I’m going to take charge of my health, take charge of my life, and take charge of me.’”

For more information about Advising Plus, located in Social Science 308, contact Barbara Brown at advisingplus@albany.edu.

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A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.