Make It Millikin: Aubrey Staton '22
Aubrey Staton's role as a senior entrepreneurship major is only one piece of her identity at Millikin University. The El Paso, Ill.-native is involved in a diverse array of activities outside of the classroom, such as running her own photography business, Photography by Aubrey, and competing on Millikin's women's basketball championship team. Aubrey's experience as a student-athlete at Millikin has helped her improve as an athlete, a teammate and a leader.
The competitive athletic opportunities, along with the diverse selection of student engagement opportunities and small class sizes sealed the deal for Aubrey to make it Millikin. Through her involvement in a diverse selection of activities, such as her duties as a Big Blue Ambassador with the Alumni and Development office, a tour guide with Millikin's Office of Admissions and a senior resident assistant, Aubrey has grown into the role of a leader.
Those qualities of leadership have helped her leave a positive impact on both students on campus and her teammates on the basketball court.
"I just want to make sure that people have the best experience possible at Millikin. I talk about my experiences and help them see what is out there and how to make the most of the opportunities offered," Aubrey said.
That isn't to say that Aubrey hasn't been challenged by meeting the demands of her busy schedule and plethora of commitments. "I learned the hard way about overextending myself and having burnout," she mentioned. "I've gotten a lot better about saying no since my first year. I was in way too many things then, and I've narrowed it down to things I'm really passionate about and things I feel like I can make a really big impact in," Aubrey explained.
Between the packed schedule of basketball practice, training and team meetings and her academic responsibilities as a James Millikin Honors Scholar, Aubrey has grown to appreciate the rewards that come with hard work. "Being a student-athlete is definitely a challenge," she said. "There's a lot of work that goes into it, but at the end of the day, I get some of my best friends from being their teammates, and I've learned a lot about what it means to push your body."
Aubrey says that the experience as a Millikin student-athlete that impacted her most was winning the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) conference championship in 2021, defeating Illinois Wesleyan 72-59. The win marked the first conference championship title for Big Blue women's basketball in 15 years. "I was so excited to bring that home to Millikin and being able to win it on our home court was just surreal," she recalled.
As a female student-athlete, Aubrey has gotten the chance to celebrate Millikin's 50th anniversary of women in athletics, an occasion she considers highly significant because of the number of student-athletes at Millikin and the influence of those who came before them. "So much of what we do would not be possible if women weren't allowed to participate. It feels awesome to be able to compete at a time like this, where so many role models who have come before us are still here to share their experiences," Aubrey said.
One such role model is Lori Kerans, who Aubrey described as greatly influential. "Lori was a groundbreaker when it came to women in athletics, especially at Millikin," Aubrey remarked. "It's great to still have her around and to be able to talk to her and ask for her advice."
Following her upcoming graduation from Millikin, Aubrey hopes to take what she's learned at Millikin as a student-athlete, a leader and a positive role model to pursue her photography business full time.