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Stephanie Garant-Jones of Québec City, Canada, remembers the first time she went to a Vols football game in Neyland Stadium.
"The fireworks, people singing the American National Anthem … it was just unbelievable."
Garant-Jones was a junior at Brock University in Ontario, Canada, when she came to the University of Tennessee as an exchange student in sports management. "I wanted to go to a big time American school where there are lots of sports," Jones said. "I wanted to come and have that experience."
She loved being at UT so much, she stayed to finish her bachelor's degree and is now working on her master's degree. "I was born and raised in a town of 4,000 people, and all we watch is hockey," Garant-Jones said.
"Every time I go into the stadium it still thrills me," Jones said. "I count my lucky stars that I've had the chance to do this."
Though fearful of coming to a big university, Jones has found UT feels like home. "I love how friendly everyone is, from the professors to people around campus," Jones said. "Everyone in the South is just great, and I think the university represents what the southern hospitality actually is."
She said the strength of UT's sports management program convinced her to pursue her master's degree here.
Jones has been involved with Adidas and the Adidas Partners in Sports with the Boys and Girls Club, where she volunteered with the Punt, Pass and Kick event last January. She participated in a practicum with the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame last year. Jones assisted the marketing department and helped organize events held at the facility.
Jones will complete her master's degree in about a year and then go to Australia to earn her doctorate. Once again, being at UT has given her an advantage.
"Dr. Tara Magdalinski from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, came to meet with sport management students to talk about the possibility of studying abroad," Jones said. "So I had a chance to talk and meet face to face with them. She was quite helpful, and I will actually visit that university this summer."