STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Slater Robinson
BY ELLIE ISBELL, SOPHOMORE/AG COMMUNICATIONS
Meet Slater Robinson, sophomore in poultry science from Danville, Alabama and Auburn University cheerleader. Slater’s high school days were spent working cattle, growing hay and playing sports. He played five different sports over his four years of high school, but his passion was football. He was raised an Alabama fan, so it was only natural for him to dream of playing football for The University of Alabama. However, after his senior year with no interest from Alabama, he was faced with the choice of playing for The University of South Alabama, Sewanee or Birmingham Southern. Even though he was a talented athlete, he always valued education, and he knew this was the most important factor in selecting a college. He was certain he wanted to go to a school where he could get a strong science degree. His parents and teachers suggested that he visit Auburn, but he was hesitant to give Auburn a chance because he had always been an Alabama fan. Finally, he reluctantly decided to visit Auburn, but only to make his parents and teachers happy- he promised himself he would never attend. His mind was completely changed when Slater set foot on Auburn’s campus.
“But the good Lord had something else planned.” Slater shares. “Once I toured here I absolutely fell in love with this place. I told my parents that the atmosphere felt like home, and I didn’t want to pursue a football career anymore. I wanted to come to Auburn and focus on academics.”
Slater then began contemplating what he wanted to major in and decided he wanted to pursue a career in the poultry industry. It was clear to him that poultry science was the best option.
“Job security is very important to me, and with the rising population, I believe the poultry industry, being the most efficient source of food protein-besides fish-will skyrocket,” Slater explains.
So how did a guy who once dreamed of playing college football become a cheerleader? Slater never imagined that he would cheer at Auburn. He had tried it once in high school to help out a friend in a coed competition, but he never thought about it again until he bumped into one of Auburn’s male cheerleaders while working at the university’s Recreation and Wellness Center and started talking to him about his experiences. He asked Slater if he was interested, and Slater thought, “Why not?”
He began vigorous preparation just months before the try-out, including learning to tumble and stunt. In the process of learning to do a back tuck flip, he actually broke his ankle and had to continue practicing stunting and flipping in an ankle boot. His trainer ended up becoming his best friend, and the two still work out together today, nearly one year later. In the end, Slater’s determination and refusal to quit paid off, and he made the Auburn cheer squad.
He has learned that cheer is hard work and a huge time commitment, but one that is worthwhile. This fall, he practiced with the squad five days a week and cheered at every home football game and a few away games. On football game days, he had to arrive at Jordan-Hare Stadium four hours before kickoff, and do many different jobs, from filling up water coolers and testing sound systems, to leading the players down Tiger Walk and mingling with fans. In the spring, he also cheers at volleyball games, men’s and women’s basketball games and gymnastic meets. And even though the team doesn’t hold mandatory practice during the spring, he personally works out five days a week.
Slater says the most challenging part of cheering is the fourth quarter of football games. He has to be certain that a stunt doesn’t come down or shake when he is tired from stunting for hours, a task that requires determination, strength and focus. But the stress is worth it because he is able to be a part of such rich game day traditions. Cheering has also allowed Slater to be involved behind the scenes with Auburn Athletics, to stay in shape and make new contacts.
Through all this involvement, Slater still holds onto his belief that education is the primary reason he is in school. He will choose to go home and catch up on school work instead of going to see friends to assure that his grades do not suffer due to his extracurricular activities.
He is also involved in the Poultry Science Club and has been known to volunteer to dress up as Rocko the Rooster, the beloved mascot of the poultry science department. He also participated in the 2015 Sigma Alpha Stud Auction, an event where gift cards and dates were auctioned off to raise money for the “Ag in the Classroom” philanthropy. His freshman year, he gained hands-on experience in the poultry industry by working at the university’s poultry feed mill and farm. After graduation, he plans to pursue a masters’ degree in poultry nutrition, then work for a large poultry company as a nutritionist.
Ellie Isbell is a sophomore studying agricultural communications and is originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. She is an Ag Ambassador, Auburn Athletics Marketing Department intern and Project Uplift mentor, in addition to being the editor of War Eagle Words.