Fan ambassador: Good work not deterred by disabilities

Centennial High grad knows her football, and throws one well, too.

By Ann Hardie For the AJC

Don’t even think of taking Kristina Brewster on in the quarterback challenge at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown Atlanta. The 25-year-old who works as a fan ambassador at the attraction will blow you away with her throwing accuracy. And don’t even try to outsmart her with your knowledge of Heisman Trophy winners and national champions and the like. Her knowledge of college football pales only in comparison with her knowledge of baseball. Brewster is so good at her job that many visitors to the Hall of Fame ask for her for their tours. And while that’s all very nice, something much bigger is at play. While Brewster, who was born with Down syndrome, may not see herself as leveling the playing field for people with disabilities in the workplace, she is doing just that. “She earned her position here based on her ability to naturally entertain, educate and engage our guests,” says Robert Bready, one of her supervisors. “Honestly, Kristina is a high performer without grading on a curve at all.” For Kristina and other people with disabilities, those words are a big win.

Q: What did you do before working this job?

A: I graduated from Centennial High School. I interned at North Fulton Hospital and worked at the Georgia Aquarium. I see myself working for a long time.

Q: What do you do at the Hall of Fame?

A: Fan ambassadors rotate around to different stations. Sometimes I help guests register in the quad in front of the helmet wall. I also work in the Champions Archive with the trophies and interactive media wall, do the preshow for the movie, help with the Game Day desk, or work in the Hall of Fame area.

Q: Is football your favorite sport?

A: My favorite sport is baseball. My second favorite sport is college football, then pro football.

Q: What are your favorite teams?

A: The Atlanta Braves — sometimes my dad and I go to the games. In college, UGA all the way. I like Georgia Tech, too, if they aren’t playing UGA. I also have friends that went to Alabama or Ole Miss. Sometimes I pull for them. My sister is at Rhodes College and my brother played football at Amherst College, so I like talking to people at the Hall who are from those areas or went to those schools or their rivals.

Q: Who is going to be the national champs this year?

A: Alabama over Clemson in a repeat of last year. Roll Tide Roll.

Q: How do you know so much about sports?

A: I read the sports pages every day. I watch SportsCenter every morning and afternoon, and I get alerts from ESPN, CBS Sports, and Yahoo Sports. And if we have time at work, I like to study the stats and learn about things, like the Heisman winners.

Q: What do you like about your job?

A: I like to help out the fans and engage with them. My job makes me want to wake up in the morning. It makes me excited to go to work. The people at work are really great. They give me happiness and encouragement. They treat me like any other person.

Q: Any visitors to the Hall stand out?

A: I’ve seen coaches, like Nick Saban, and some of the Hall of Fame members. Sometimes the team that is going to play one of the local colleges comes in for a visit with their fans. I also like when friends and people I know visit.

Q: You got some special awards at work, right?

A: We have a pin program where the leads and managers give out pins. I’ve gotten ones for Happiness, Teamwork, and one Saturday game ball. Still working to get MVP.

Q: How did you get so good at throwing a football?

A: Practice.

Q: What would you tell other people with disabilities who are nervous about getting a job?

A: I would encourage them to work. I would say it is a fun experience. Maybe they would learn something.

Q: Do you like getting paid?

A: I like getting paid. I like getting paid a lot.

The Sunday Conversation is edited for length and clarity. Writer Ann Hardie can be reached by email at