Project Description

Alison Bowman, Class of 2014

One of the University of Miami Global Academy’s exceptional students picked up a surfboard at 10 years of age, after her older sister began competing. She hasn’t let it go since.

Alison Bowman, 16, is currently a junior at UMGA, a fully-accredited online high school.  She runs three miles, surfs, and does yoga in-between her online biology, world history, and trigonometry classes.

When her family moved to Guam, Bowman knew she would be challenged to fit school around her athletic career.

“I wanted to compete in junior professional surfing contests in Hawaii and go to school at the same time,” she said, “but it was hard.”

Bowman has been making waves for young female athletes since the sixth grade. One of the youngest girls in the division at the time, she still qualified for the U.S. nationals surfing competition. Last December, Bowman won the gold in the women’s short board and the silver in the long board competition as the only female junior surfer on her team for the Melanesian Surf Cup in Fiji. Her athletic prowess extends to cross-country, track, and basketball, and she made First-Team All-Island in Guam.

“I’ve done sports my whole life,” Bowman said. “It’s my outlet. I’m just having fun with my friends and teammates. Competing gives me the confidence to know I can overcome barriers in the real world.”

Bowman knew she wanted to take advanced math classes and courses that fit around her schedule. Her family decided that an online education would allow Bowman to travel, compete, and study. After some time at another online school, her family called UMGA’s principal and spent the next 30 minutes on the phone.

“I was so impressed with that personal attention,” said Bowman’s mother, Andrea Bowman. “At UMGA, communication is open and allows for personal and positive feedback. Her teachers are prompt in responding and always available.”

Bowman enrolled at UMGA last year. The program allows athletes like Bowman to get a quality education without sacrificing the pursuit of their passions. The personal advising and one-on-one faculty assistance ensures that students have the tools they need to succeed.

“I couldn’t understand this one thing in pre-calculus,” she said. “I was frantic and really needed help. My teacher, Thomas Green, calmly wrote back and explained it over Skype. He just knows how I learn.

“That’s the one thing I love so much about UMGA – my teachers are so responsive and so willing to help me. They’re just an email away.”

Attending an online high school is not without its challenges. Bowman has the academic freedom she desires, but she’s also responsible for balancing the time spent on her academic and professional goals with the demands of her extracurricular activities.

“As a global school, academics at UMGA can take place anytime, anywhere. Such an asynchronous program requires focus, motivation, and self-discipline on the part of the students, staff, administration, and faculty,” said Professor Green. “We pride ourselves on instilling within our students the level of responsibility needed to organize and manage their time effectively so that they succeed in all endeavors, including academics.”

That responsibility has helped prepare Bowman for college and beyond.

“It’s challenging, but I feel I’m ready for college and for whatever I may face in life,” said Bowman, who plans on pursuing musical engineering to learn the math behind the music. “I’m excited and am looking at the University of Miami.”