Regina Hernandez ’17 and Brian Brownfield ’17 Win Menlo College Spirit Award

Regina Hernandez ’17 and Brian Brownfield ’17 win Menlo College Spirit Award

Regina Hernandez ‘17 and Brian Brownfield ’17 were this year’s winners of the Menlo College Spirit Award, given to graduating seniors who have given generously of their time both inside and outside the classroom during their four years at Menlo College. Both were heavily involved in many aspects of campus life from the day they set foot on campus as freshmen; both have certainly left a mark on the Menlo College landscape.

The opportunity to get involved on campus and make changes was part of the Menlo draw for Hernandez when she was a student at a boarding school in Texas. She attended Preview Day and noted her amazement with the small, caring, and vibrant community she found awaiting her at Menlo College. During her tenure as an Oak, Regina worked in Admissions and Student Life. She was a resident assistant for two years, worked a job with the IT department, was a member of the Fashion Club. And all the while, she was also a member of the Competitive Cheerleading team (and team captain in her senior year). She sang the National Anthem at sporting events and at commencement this year, and was a staple at Apollo Night.

“Heart, a talented activist and oh-so-fearless — she is passionate about and works powerlessly for arts and culture, children, sustainability and human rights. I’m very happy I’ve had the opportunity to watch her grow into the powerful woman she is, and will continue to be,” said Assistant Professor of Management, Frances Turner who presented Hernandez with the award at this year’s Honors Convocation ceremony.

Hernandez was quick to give credit to the caring people who work at Menlo College who helped her along the way. “I just kept meeting the right people who kept pushing me to explore my leadership skills and keep growing. It was never hard to start a club or get a job on campus, and the more I got involved, the more I wanted to climb higher and higher into leadership positions.” Hernandez spent much of her senior year as a marketing intern with Sodexo, a role she plans to continue following graduation.

The second winner of the award in 2017 was “The Voice of the Oaks” Brian Brownfield. A native of Salinas, California, Brian came to Menlo as a freshman who had hopes of pitching on the baseball team. When that opportunity did not come to fruition, he turned his energy and attention to his other passion, becoming a professional play-by-play broadcaster.

This dream led Brownfield to the Menlo College Athletics Department, where he began working as an intern and eventually worked his way into the primary play-by-play role on the Menlo College Sports Network (where he has since been on “the call” for over 300 career games). Taking that initial chance was what led to his positive experience at Menlo College, according to Brownfield.

“When I came to Menlo and realized the multitude of opportunities there were to get involved, I had to sink my teeth into a few of them. I also had the feeling that Menlo College could help me become a better leader among my peers, and I found quickly that the more I got involved, the more confident I became in a leadership setting.”

That confidence led to growth, and that growth led to even more opportunities. Not only did Brownfield work nearly every home sporting event during his four-year tenure on campus, he was also active in a number of clubs on campus and co-founded the school’s first ever Ultimate Frisbee Club. Adding to his laurels, Brownfield was honored by the Oakland Athletics as its Bill King Memorial Scholarship award winner in 2015.

In addition to excelling outside the classroom, Brownfield was a stellar student, which did not go unnoticed to Sports Management Professor Doug Carroll. “I’ve taught hundreds of classes and thousands of students and I’d have to put Brian into my top five students all-time.” Carroll then joked, “We would have a quiz and I would grade his first just to make sure my answer sheet was correct.”

Brownfield credited those who gave him his start: Director of Athletics Keith Spataro and Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing and Communications Aaron Gillespie.  “Aaron gave me my start and really there has been no other person more important to my success as a broadcaster than him. He took a chance on a quirky freshman who had a crazy dream, and through his guidance and assistance, that dream is becoming a reality.”

Brownfield was hired full-time with the Athletics Department as its Sports Information Coordinator following his graduation. He will spend the summer working in Broadcasting and Communications for the Hagerstown Suns, a Class A affiliate of the Washington Nationals.