“Branching out and taking opportunities for yourself is really important. I grew up in a small town in southwest Missouri where people shared a lot of the same principles and ideas. There were a lot of great things about being in that kind of culture, but people didn’t like to be uncomfortable.

Volleyball was something that I was just always naturally drawn to. I wanted to be part of that kind of team environment. I loved the game and how it was played. At the time, my only option was to play with the girls team. I got made fun of and there were a lot of people who had engrained perspectives about my choice, but I did it anyway because I loved everything about it. As I kept playing and doing my thing, I eventually found myself connecting to people who were connected to the men’s volleyball world. I was offered a chance to become part of the first men’s volleyball team in southwest Missouri. It was eight random kids doing our thing and challenging the status quo, and we loved every minute of it. Eventually, our energy and positivity helped it grow. Missouri now has men’s volleyball as a sanctioned sport and from that one team and eight players there are now four coaches and three teams playing and winning at a national level. I am so proud to have been part of building that.

Morningside became a choice in my college search early on simply because they offered men’s volleyball. I also love maroon, so that was an added bonus for me. I absolutely fell in love with the campus when I visited and could see even early on that this place had a small, close-knit family feel that was going to be perfect for someone like me.

Besides playing volleyball, I am majoring in biology and I intend to graduate and pursue my master’s degree in sports medicine so I can continue to work with athletes and coaches. My experiences with growing men’s volleyball in Missouri has really taught me how powerful it is to bring energy to your life. Your attitude and impression really do influence people, and I plan to do everything I can to make a positive impact on the world.”

– Emilio DeWitt, men’s volleyball athlete and advocate helping build community through the power of positivity