When freshman Robyn Cummings began looking at colleges, finding one with a good atmosphere and family setting was high on her checklist.
She checked that off her list quickly, along with a couple of other priority items, when she visited Augusta University.
“I visited three schools, and I wanted to go to Augusta,” said the South Effingham High School graduate. “It’s not too far, and it’s not too close to home. I really liked the class size … And when I went to go visit, I loved the atmosphere. Everyone seemed so welcoming and friendly.”
Augusta also had her sport and career path, which made her decision easier.
“I’ve actually wanted to be a pediatrician my whole life, and as a freshman, my summer jobs were babysitting or helping with little kids in the area,” said Cummings, who will run track and field for the Jaguars. “My granny has an organization where she helps families in need, and just being a part of that really opened my eyes that the next generation is really important to be a part of.”
Adam Ward has been involved with the cross country program since 2003. He became head coach of both the cross country and track & field programs in 2013. He is excited about Cummings coming onboard.
“From what I’ve gathered talking with her and talking with her coaches, we’re getting someone who is very dedicated, very hard working and has a keen understanding of what they want, not only on the track but in the classroom,” Ward said.
When Cummings’ focus isn’t on running, it will be in the classroom. She is a biology major and hopes to take advantage of the “many medical opportunities at AU.”
Cummings participated in HOSA-Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, which is an international student organization recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Education Division of ACTE. The program is designed to develop leadership and technical HOSA skill competencies through a program of motivation, awareness and recognition, which is an integral part of the Health Science Education instructional program.
“I have a lot of teammates from previous years that have come to Augusta, and they’ve told me it’s so cool and everyone is friendly and outgoing on the team. All of our times are close in range, and they said no one is left out and everyone is one big family,” Cummings said of the appeal of Augusta. “I love running, and I wouldn’t want to be part of any team that makes me feel that the sport shouldn’t be my top priority. I am just so excited because being part of a school that has my sport and my career pathway is 100 percent great.”
Ward said Cummings’ drive is a blessing for a coach.
“I think someone who has their priorities and their head screwed on straight really excites you as a coach because all we have to do is point them in the right direction and get out of their way,” Ward said.
Cummings enters her collegiate career after sitting out the last part of the spring season with an injury.
“We were getting ready for the 4×100 on the track team. We took days to prepare for this handoff, and we still weren’t as successful to land it correctly,” she said. “As the baton was handed off to me, it was my job to hand it off to the third leg, and she didn’t take off at the correct time … but when she did, she took off with my leg. So we got all wrapped together and we fell, and I hit headfirst onto the track.
“She didn’t continue to run and she cried and cried and blamed herself, and I told her it was not her fault,” Cummings said. “I just wanted her to know it was all good.”
Cummings knows there will be some adjustment going from high school athletics to a university setting. She relied on high school coach Laura Soles to be more of a life coach who was always there when she needed something. In her interactions with Ward, Cummings feels she will fill that same kind of role moving forward. Either way, she’s ready for the next step in her life.
“I’m so excited that I’m nervous. It’s basically the rest of my life, and I know that I won’t be getting started in (my field) for the first couple of years. But the fact that knowing that I am on the right track of making my life what it should be is really exciting,” Cummings said. “Knowing the right people and the right friends pushing me to be great, it’s really exciting.
“I’m looking forward to being part of the student body,” she added. “My friend tells me so much about what’s going on. She tells me about the different clubs and the extracurricular activities. And the students together make the journey so fun. I’m just ready to be part of the Jaguar life.”