2019 JED Student Voice of Mental Health Award Honoree: Enna Selmanovic
Enna Selmanovic is a graduating senior from the University of Cincinnati, where she was a member of the varsity swim team while studying Biological Sciences with a minor in Psychology. On November 11th 2016, she was told that the back injury and concussion that she had suffered her freshman year was not healing, and for her own health, she would no longer be able to compete. This was a huge emotional setback for Enna, but slowly her purpose shifted. No one – student-athlete or not – would ever feel the way she did and she was going to make sure of it.
After her disqualification, Enna was nominated to serve on the NCAA’s Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) where she was later voted in as Vice-Chair. In this role, she began representing both the American Athletic Conference and the student-athlete voice within Division I. To make an immediate impact, she helped plan a conference wide mental health initiative, #POW6FULMINDS, to promote mental well-being and access to resources for student-athletes. The campaign is currently in its second year and has reached national attention, including a feature on ESPN. The campaign also had an impact at her own university, where the athletic department hired a total of 3 licensed mental health practitioners and 50% of the football student-athletes sought out mental health resources.
As a member of the National SAAC, Enna also represented Division I student-athletes on the NCAA’s Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspect of Sports, the Sport Science Institute’s Mental Health Task Force, the Division I Council, and various panels across the country. Her voice on these committees has allowed the NCAA to implement Division I legislation, mandating mental health resources and education for its members and ensuring that mental health is labeled a priority by the Sport Science Institute.
While advocating for student-athletes, she began to understand the power of her platform, and the potential to reach the greater campus population. With her peers, Enna started Mental Health Ambassadors and the Bearcat Support Network at the University of Cincinnati. The latter is based on the framework established by the Wolverine Support Network, developed by the co-honorees of the 2018 JED Student Voice of Mental Health Award. The Bearcat Support Network provides a safe space for 200+ students on the campus to freely discuss the highs and lows they encounter as college students.
While her time at the University of Cincinnati is coming to an end, her four years there have been empowering, challenging, and nothing short of spectacular. The skills she has gained during this time have afforded her the opportunity to become a research coordinator for The Brain Injury Research Center of Mount Sinai. She plans to attend medical school in the future.
We would like to recognize and congratulate this year’s impressive finalists:
- Emily Kumpf, University of Rochester
- Yasmina Al Ghadban, University of Pennsylvania
Thank you to our distinguished panel of judges:
- Dr. Joseph Behen – Executive Director of Counseling, Health and Disability Services School at the Art Institute of Chicago
- Bonnie Lipton – Senior Prevention Specialist, The Suicide Prevention Resource Center/Education Development Center, Inc.
- Sam Orley – 2018 JED Student Voice of Mental Health Co-honoree
- Max Rothman – 2018 JED Student Voice of Mental Health Co-honoree
- Hannah Strashun – Campaign Director, Ad Council
- Carol Ullman – Founder, Jerry Greenspan Student Voice of Mental Health Award
Learn more about the award and view previous honorees.