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Belinda Lum
Professor of Sociology is fan and friend to women's basketball team

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To say that Belinda Lum, PhD is a big fan of USD Women's Basketball would be a bit of an understatement. The professor of sociology attends every match, observes game time superstitions, and has built personal relationships with the athletes as well as their parents.

Belinda Lum

"Her impeccable attendance at women's basketball games demonstrates Dr. Lum's commitment to the whole person, whether it be academically, athletically or personally. She is constantly aware of those around her and truly makes a difference in the lives she touches."

Emily Hatch ‘11

Lum began attending games with her Sociology Department colleague JJ Schlichtman, PhD and his wife, Monique. The three of them wanted to be near the action, so they moved to the family section, which is closer to the court.

"We got to know the families pretty well, because when we walked in they'd ask 'Who do you belong to?' They were trying to figure out if we were someone's family," Lum said.

It was the beginning of a number of lasting friendships. Lum, who claims that sociologists are naturally curious about people, began chatting with the parents before games and during the 20-minute half-times. Soon enough, both parents and athletes came to know the professor as a friend and ally.

Belinda Lum

"Dr. Lum is a amazing woman. She is indeed a supporter and passionate about what she does!"

Dominique Conners ‘12

"I love looking up in the stands and seeing her sitting right next to my mom," Samantha Childs '11 said. "She's one of our biggest fans. Win or loss, she always has the most positive things to say."

Tom Hatch, father of Emily Hatch '11 said it feels good to know that his daughter has the support of a faculty member.

"She impresses me as the type of person who would go the extra mile to help students on the spot, or get help to them in a hurry," he said. "That's very comforting as a parent."

Lum built such outstanding rapport with basketball families that one mom actually helped her sneak into the family section at Maples Pavilion during the 2008 NCAA tourney.

"She was so appalled that JJ, his wife and I were in the bleed seats," Lum said.

Belinda Lum

"Dr. Lum is a great teacher and an amazing support system for our women's basketball team. She is a wonderful woman who has taken time to get to know not only us as players and individuals, but also our families."

Morgan Woodrow ‘12

Sitting with the families has become something of a superstition for the professor. She was feeling ill one night and decided to sit higher in the stands, where she wouldn't be around too many people. Five minutes into the game, the team was down 16 to nothing.

Lum looked at her colleague Judy Liu, PhD and said, "I have to go back to my normal seat. They're losing!"

After she moved back, the women won the game. She hasn't strayed from the family seats since then, and the parents couldn't be happier.

"It speaks very highly of her that she takes the time out of her day to come and support the players, said Sally Pitt, Childs' mother. "She's there to help my daughter, and I think it's great that she takes a genuine interest in me as a mom."

Belinda Lum

"I love looking up in the stands and seeing her sitting right next to my mom. She's one of our biggest fans. Win or loss, she always has the most positive things to say."

Sam Childs ‘11

Lum said that she has a great deal of respect for the basketball parents, who often fly around the country to see their daughters play, spend holidays apart, and work around their daughters' practice schedules whenever they come to visit. Through it all, they still appreciate the dedication that Lum and other professors require from the athletes as students.

"Every one of the parents on the team sees school as the most important thing that their daughters need to accomplish," Lum said.

"I've had some really fantastic students who work hard, who understand that they have two jobs to do and do whatever it takes to make it happen," Lum said. "I think it speaks well of their coaches and how their parents have taught them."

- Anne Malinoski '11

Interview with Belinda Lum

Interview with Belinda Lum

Meet the Athletes

Samantha Childs

Samantha Childs ’11
Major: Communication Studies
Minors: Psychology & English
Dream job: Prosecution Attorney
On being a student athlete: "I gained the knowledge that once you put your mind to it you can really get through anything. I couldn't have had a better experience."

Emily Hatch

Emily Hatch ’11
Major: Psychology
Minor: Sociology
Dream job: Sports Psychologist
On being a student athlete: "I have not only grown as a human being, but have also learned how to handle myself in the real world. I have learned the importance of time management, dedication, and persistence through my life both as an athlete and as a student."

Morgan Woodrow

Morgan Woodrow ’12
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Leadership Studies
Dream job: Teacher in a low-income area
On being a student athlete: "I have gained the knowledge of time management, working together on a team through adversity and success, and I have learned that hard work is required in all areas of my life, not just basketball."

Dominique Conners

Dominique Conners ’12
Major: Communication Studies
Minor: Spanish
Dream job: Professional Athlete, Coach
On being a student athlete: "I have learned what it is to multitask and challenge myself when times seem bleak. Being a student-athlete has taught me to set goals in anything at which I wish to excel."

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