Graduate School Q&A: Daphne Tilton expects degree to provide many opportunities

Daphne Tilton is a graduate student at Henderson State University majoring in Sport Administration.

Please tell us about yourself and share a little bit about your background and how it relates to your current graduate studies.

I’m from Iowa, Louisiana, which is a small town in southwest Louisiana about five hours from Arkadelphia. I found my way to Henderson through an amazing opportunity to come here and play golf. I graduated with my undergraduate degree in Health and Human Performance with a minor in psychology in May 2023, and I am currently completing my master’s in sports administration. I was a freshman in fall 2019, which unfortunately meant that I was not able to finish my spring golf season due to COVID. While it was heartbreaking at the time, it has provided me with so many unique opportunities. I have been able to play golf this year as a 5th-year senior, and have the opportunity to start my master's degree. While I am not employed anywhere at the time, my full-time job is being a student-athlete. Golf is a very time-consuming and demanding sport when it comes to being a student-athlete

How do you manage your work-life balance as a graduate student?

The most important thing for me is to stay aware of my limitations and true to myself. As a full-time student-athlete, it is very easy to get caught up in a cycle of trying to burn the candle at both ends. I have always been someone who makes sure that I have the proper balance of things that I need to do, as well as things that I can do that bring me joy. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to find out what works best for you.

What inspired you to seek your graduate degree?

I wanted to pursue this graduate degree because I have played golf since I was five years old, and while I do not want to pursue a professional golf career, I do want to stay in the world of sports. And as a woman in this field, I believe I will have a lot of opportunities.

Why did you choose Henderson to pursue your graduate degree? When do you plan to graduate?

I have attended Henderson since I was a freshman in college, and since I graduated with my undergraduate degree in 2023 with one more year of NCAA eligibility left, I decided to continue to play golf here and pursue this master’s program. I will be graduating a semester early in December 2024, which means I will be completing my master’s a semester early.

What has been your favorite class (related to your major) so far, and why?

My favorite class that I have had throughout college was probably my therapeutic modalities class. I have always enjoyed classes that allow me to have hands-on activities because I feel like I am able to retain information better that way.

How has your perspective on your field changed since starting your graduate studies?

As I have gone through college, the biggest thing that I have learned is that there are a lot more opportunities in my field than I originally thought, and being a woman that has been involved with sports since I was a child, I will be able to have an advantage in the workforce.

What advice would you give to future graduate students to make the most of their experience at Henderson?

You have to be able to make your degree your own. Graduate school has provided me with a lot of opportunities to explore topics that I find interesting related to the class.

Is there anything you wish you had known when you first started graduate school?

The only thing that I wish that I knew earlier was the amount of freedom I would be able to have with my projects and the ability to make them my own and not have to meet a ton

of specific points, but rather follow an outline and get creative with it.

What are your career aspirations or plans after completing your graduate studies?

I want to be able to have a job where I am able to stay in the sports scene. While I would definitely prefer golf, since that is what I am most familiar with, I would also enjoy learning new things about different organizations. I would also like to be able to have a career where I will be able to travel and make new memories while I am young.

Please share something about yourself that might surprise most people.

I’m from Southwest Louisiana, which is an area that is very well known for Cajun foods. I actually don’t eat any seafood, but I do love some Cajun seasonings.

If you could have lunch with any historical figure, who would it be? And why?

I would want to have lunch with Annicka Sorenstam, who is a professional golfer, because she has won 72 events in her career. I would like to get her insight about how she was so successful and learn about the types of challenges she faced along the way and how she overcame them.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

My biggest inspiration would be both of my parents, John and Trudy Tilton. I have watched them work so hard to be able to provide me with so many amazing opportunities, and I want to continue to make them proud with everything I do in life.

How important do you believe a graduate degree is for a successful and satisfying career?

I believe that having a master's degree in sport administration will give me an advantage when it comes time for me to look for jobs in the future. I also believe that being a student-athlete while I was in college has provided me with a lot of structure and the ability to juggle many different tasks at once.

Are there any questions you wish we had asked you?

Advice to my younger self: Everything will play out how it is supposed to in your life,

and there is no reason to compare your timeline of things to other people’s timeline. Your journey is yours and no one else’s, so spend time doing things that make you happy and will help you throughout your own journey.

For more information about Henderson State's Sport Administration, visit