Cavalier Corner

August 2021

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30 CAVALIER CORNER cavalier profile ALANA WALKER Graduate Student • Volleyball When Alana Walker takes the court for the Virginia volleyball team this fall, she'll be a new face for many Cavaliers, having transferred into the program after graduating from Northwestern in the spring. She brings with her an impressive résumé after turning in a program record with the best hitting percentage by a first-year at Northwestern and finished her career there with 333 blocks after leading her team each of the last three seasons. She also added 741 kills. Despite being a new face to the Hoos, she's not unfamiliar to many. The middle blocker brings with her a strong presence on social media and boasts almost 500,000 followers across her social media platforms. The strong following is something that grew organically, but as is often the case, her following erupted after a post went viral. After modeling as a child, she continued to be involved in taking pictures with friends and updating Facebook profiles. That tran- sitioned into Instagram posting with a solid following of friends from other schools, but it skyrocketed with the viral post from her first collegiate media day. "I really didn't try to be an influencer," Walker said. "I had a bigger following than maybe some people, but that all changed after my first media day in college when a post went viral. That's where it started, but really, I continued doing what I had always been doing — taking pictures." She continued taking pictures and posting, and went viral a few more times, leading to an even greater following across her platforms that include Instagram and TikTok. "It was crazy because I feel like people mostly go viral on Tik- Tok or Twitter, but mine happened on Instagram," Walker said. "My phone started blowing up. It was cool and I really liked it, but when it started happening for volleyball reasons it became little girls DM-ing me for volleyball advice or saying I was their role model. It was cool knowing I was being impactful on other people." She values the opportunity she sees ahead of her through her social media exposure and hopes to use it in the future to con- tinue to help people. "One of my dreams is to start my own non-profit for inner-city girls in Chicago through sports," she said. "Without actually having a set organization or thing going, I'm inspiring other people. That's really cool to me and something I take to heart and personally." — Bill Bunting Photo courtesy Northwestern

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