Mickey Hayes: Tackles It All, Victoriously


Most students have a lot to juggle. Then, there is Mickey Hayes '21.

In four years, this Ambrosian from Romeoville, Illinois, successfully checked off every academic requirement for two challenging majors: Psychology and Art History, and two minors: Art Therapy and Communication. As a Fighting Bees student-athlete, she took the court for women's volleyball and the high jump for track and field, victoriously participating in both during the same season.

Mickey's ability to seamlessly, and successfully, juggle a very demanding schedule was noted by her professors, coaches and peers; the same people she noted as having played a part in her success.

"There are amazing people here at SAU," she said. "They want to help you reach your goals."

Now, Mickey is charging into the future with a new to-do to tackle. This fall, just a few months after graduating, she will start working on a master's degree in developmental psychology at Illinois State University. Her goal is to be a caseworker for children with disabilities or to work in a therapeutic day school.

A volleyball player since fifth grade, Mickey chose to enroll at SAU after having a conversation with Fighting Bees Volleyball Coach Dawn Kerr. "We clicked instantly talking about beach volleyball, and I knew then that SAU was going to be the school for me," she said.

But volleyball wasn't the only sport she knew she could take on. "I reached out to Track and Field Coach Dan Tomlin about joining the team right before my freshman year at SAU. Luckily, he was happy to have me on the team and work with the little overlap there is between volleyball and track," she said.

Mickey's high jump coach and the SAU Associate Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Ryan Saddler '05, '06 MEdT, said he was initially worried about her demanding schedule.

"With pure grit, perseverance, and a good head on her shoulders, Mickey maintained a solid relationship with peers, remained super competitive on both the court and track, actively participated in various extracurricular activities, all while maintaining a GPA above 3.5," Saddler said. "She is a tremendous competitor with an outstanding work ethic."

Mickey Hayes '21

Mickey is charging into the future. This fall she will start working on a master's degree in developmental psychology. She wants to be a caseworker for children with disabilities or work in a therapeutic day school.

Mickey added her second major, Art History, and the Art Therapy minor, on the recommendation of Professor of Art History Terri Switzer, PhD, who was continually impressed with her work ethic.

"Mickey is an example of how much a student can accomplish through hard work and dedication," Switzer said. In fact, Mickey's many achievements were recognized this spring with the Chouteau Art History Award.

"She was beyond question the top student this year, always going above and beyond her peers," Switzer said. "Even more impressively, her excellence in the classroom never wavered during the pandemic, despite the additional stresses of never knowing which sport would be competing when, and whether classes would be online or in person."

Mickey said the people she met in the Psychology and Art History program made a huge impact on her SAU experience. "They were amazing," she said. "The classmates I had in art history made the class even more interesting, and they have become some of my closest friends."

And she is thankful for the support of her professors. "They were available to answer questions and meet with me outside of class when it fit into my schedule, and they were understanding about missing classes for athletics," Mickey said.

For her, all of the planning and organizing was worth the effort. "I loved the team aspect and all the people I was able to meet along the way," Mickey said. "Athletics have been such a big part of my life, so I wanted them to be a big part of my college experience."

As she prepared to leave campus, she offered future Ambrosians some advice. "Get involved; meet the faculty and students," she said. "Don't be afraid to do something different than those around you. The people here will support you and want to help you reach your goals."

"There are amazing people here at SAU. They want to help you reach your goals."

Mickey Hayes '21


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