For alumna and graduate student Ayana Fields, 2022-23 CCAA Female Athlete of the Year, coming to Cal Poly Pomona was an easy decision. After a short tour from the track and field coach, Fields instantly felt a connection to the campus. What proved to be more challenging was figuring out how she would balance her kinesiology coursework while being a premier track and field athlete.

Ayana FieldsLuckily, Fields’ support group came naturally — she credits the kinesiology department, her coaches, and her teammates for giving her a sense of belonging — a feeling that has since become her favorite part of campus. From the fundraisers that back athletic programs to the accommodating professors who understand student-athlete responsibilities, every department has helped Fields flourish.

Fields cites the wide range of scholarships available as a key reason why she can give it her all on the track and in the classroom. As a result, she is a 12-time NCAA Division II All-American, likely the most titles earned by an individual athlete in school history.

“The scholarships and resources available at CPP have allowed me to afford housing, pay for my books and continue my schooling without having to worry about financial needs,” says Fields, who earned her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 2022. “I know some students struggle with that and not having to worry allowed me to focus on my academics while competing at the level I am at today.”

Now Fields is a master’s student at Cal Poly Pomona, studying physical therapy. She plans to continue training to compete at the Olympic level while completing her master’s thesis on athletic identity associated with career transitioning, career retirement and student athletes.

By Dylan Luong
Published April 10, 2024