Staff: Dena Freeman-Patton  | Sidney Ball | Dusty Bennett  | Jessica Summey | Brittany Price | Graduate Assistants
Dena Freeman-Patton | Associate Athletic Director for Student-Athlete Development

Dena Freeman-Patton

Primary teams: Football

Dena Freeman-Patton serves as associate athletics director for student-athlete development at Georgia State, overseeing the athletic department’s academic support of all student-athletes. She also serves as the academic advisor for the football program. Previously, she spent four years guiding the academic success for the men’s basketball program, which boasted a 100-percent exhausted eligibility graduation rate with 15 graduates in four years.

Under Freeman-Patton’s supervision, Georgia State student-athletes have increased the department’s cumulative grade-point average to record heights, and maintained a GPA of above a 3.0 for each of the past 10 semesters. In addition, the APR rates for the department have reached all-time highs in nearly every sport.

Before her current stint at Georgia State, Freeman-Patton was associate director of academic support and career development at Maryland from 2005 to 2007, and served as academic coordinator for the football program at NC State from 2002 to 2005. She returned to Georgia State in March 2007, where she also served as academic advisor and then academic coordinator from 1997 to 2002.

Freeman-Patton lettered in basketball at Liberty, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in sports management in 1996. She added a master’s degree in sports administration from Georgia State in 1999.

Freeman-Patton is an active member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics and previously served on the organization’s board of directors. Georgia State’s academic support program is nationally certified under through the N4A, the second program in the nation to earn the distinction. Freeman-Patton currently serves on the N4A Ethics Committee, was the chair of the Life Skills Committee and chaired the organizing committee for the N4A regional conference in 2012. She is also an active member of NACDA and NACWAA.

A Baltimore, Md., native, Freeman-Patton is married to Samuel Patton and has one son, Cameron.

Sidney Ball | Senior Academic Advisor/Community Service Coordinator

Primary teams: Men's basketball, women's cross country and women's track and field

Sidney Ball joined Georgia State in the student-athlete development department in 2012. His main responsibilities include tracking the academic progress of the Panther women's basketball, volleyball and men's and women's track and cross country teams.

Ball spent six years working in the academic advising department at UAB before coming to GSU. Ball is a former UAB student-athlete, lettering four seasons on the Blazers' men's basketball team. During his tenure at UAB, he was a two-time team captain and a valuable asset to the program, both on and off the court. During Ball's senior year, he helped the Blazers to a 22-10 record, including a 12-4 mark in Conference USA and a share of the regular-season crown. He ended his career with an appearance in the NCAA Tournament where the Blazers reached the Sweet 16.

A native of Duncanville, Ala., Ball earned his bachelor's degree in justice sciences from UAB in 2005. He is currently an active member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A).

Dusty Bennett | Senior Academic Coordinator/Student-Athlete Affairs Coordinator

Primary teams: Football, baseball and men's and women's golf

Dusty Bennett joined the Student-Athlete Development staff at Georgia State as a full-time member in 2009, but his tenure as a member of the Panther family is much longer. He is a former student-athlete on the baseball team and served as a graduate assistant before being elevated to full-time status in academic support of GSU student-athletes.

In his years working with football and men and women's golf, Bennett has guided student-athletes to multiple CAA Scholar Athlete of the Year awards (Tom Sherreard in 2010 and Charlotte Lorentzen in 2010, 2011) while also helping six Panthers earn eight national academic awards: Tom Sherreard (2010), Charlotte Lorentzen (2010, 2011), Alan Fowler (2010, 2011), Laura Sanchez (2011), Solveig Helgesen (2011) and Scott Sarratt (2013).

As the inaugural season of GSU football approached, Bennett worked with the team that posted a 2.82 cumulative grade-point average during the 2009-10 academic year. The 2010 football season brought success both on and off the field for the Panthers as they secured a winning record for the inaugural season and accomplished a 2.75 cumulative GPA. The woman's golf team won the 2010 CAA Championship and earned an automatic berth into the NCAA Regional while maintaining a 3.14 cumulative GPA. The Panthers finished as runner-up in 2011 and sent one individual to the NCAA Regional while the team posted a 3.62 cumulative GPA that academic year.  The men's golf team recorded the highest GPA for all of the men's sports represented at Georgia State during the 2009-10 seasons, when it sent one individual to the NCAA Regional.

Bennett spent the 2008-09 season as a graduate assistant working primarily with the Life Skills area at Georgia State. He worked with the men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, volleyball and women's soccer. Bennett also helped with the planning and execution of different Life Skills events such as the CAA Blood Drive and Toys 4 Tots.

Bennett was a four-year member of the Panther baseball team (2005-08) and an active member in the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He was one of two student-athletes to represent Georgia State at the CAA Conference in Baltimore, Md.

After receiving his bachelor's degree in art history from Georgia State in May 2008, Bennett went on to complete his master's in sport administration in 2009. Bennett currently teaches GSU1010 at Georgia State, a class structured for freshman student-athletes to learn the essential skills needed to be successful. Bennett also serves as the International Student-Athlete Liaison, establishing a relationship between student-athletes and on-campus international student resources.  

Along with his duties as academic advisor, Bennett also leads the Student-Athlete Affairs program at Georgia State.

A native of Tyrone, Ga., Bennett currently resides in the Atlanta area.

Jessica Summey | Academic Coordinator/SAAC

Primary teams: Women's basketball, men's and women's tennis and women's soccer

Jessica Summey joined Student-Athlete Development at Georgia State in 2012.  Summey graduated from Appalachian State in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in organizational communication and was a member of the track and field team.  She returned to Appalachian State and earned a master's degree in college student development in 2008.

During the 2008-09 academic year, Summey interned at Winthrop, where she was responsible for advising and mentoring student-athletes. She also worked with the CHAMPS/Life Skills program by planning and implementing various events. In 2010 she was an intern at Memphis, working with football and men's basketball. She also assisted with initial eligibility of all sports. 

Summey is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletes (N4A). She is a native of Hendersonville, N.C.

Brittany Price | Academic Advisor/Tutorial Coordinator
Primary teams: Softball, court and sand volleyball and men's soccer
2013-14 Graduate Assistants
Lauren Mitchell - Tutorial Services
William Judson - Football
Jenna Closner - Football
Jennifer Wallace - Men's Basketball
Monica Pope - Women's Basketball
Sara Dashiell - Baseball
David Ferrer - S-A Affairs/Volleyball Advisor