You’re a fellow in the Meriwether Lewis Institute, what has that experience been like?
“It has been a really great experience. The best thing, I think, is being in a cohort of 25 second-year students who are literally involved in all aspects of the university – there are people on the honor committee, people who are in the A-school and the engineering school, different majors throughout the college. Just being able to learn from people with different backgrounds and experiences and I learned so much about how the university operates outside of my bubble and athletics. We did our project last summer looking at the second-year slump, a national trend, and how the transition from first to second year is really hard. For us we had to look at why it was so hard at UVA and look through different data and come up with a solution to it. That experience and the process of doing all the research and coming up with a solution in six weeks was pretty intense, but very rewarding.”
By this point, I think everyone knows you live on the Lawn… give us the scoop, what’s the best part of living on the Lawn?
“I think the best part has just been the opportunity to experience so many UVA traditions that I haven’t been able to, like Lighting of the Lawn, Trick-or-Treat on the Lawn, Rotunda Sing. So many things that in previous years I had heard about and there’s been a lot of buzz, but I haven’t been able to be there and see for myself. So, that’s been a really special part. Also, it’s just a really social place. I think another really important thing to me was that at some point I realized I had never really been in a Lawn room until living in one this year. On my visit I stepped into one briefly because you have to kind of see the Lawn area, but it’s generally a place where students have to know somebody in order to be in that space. So for me to never really have inhibited that space before, it’s been a really cool experience and now I can share that space with my first-year advisees, I can share it with my teammates and people who probably wouldn’t venture into the Lawn area. That part has been really special to me in reflecting on my experience and being able to change other people’s experience a little bit.”
What’s the worst part of living on the Lawn?
“I think more recently, now that it’s been cold, it’s been going to the bathroom. I’ll like wake up right before my alarm clock and be like ‘ok, I have to use the bathroom, but I really don’t want to go outside’. So just having to embrace the cold or embrace the rain and go outside to get to the bathroom. Then sometimes, it’s a little too social. I’m trying to go to sleep at midnight and people are walking back from their activities so that’s another kind of down side, but it’s also nice it’s a social area.”
You’re a student-athlete member of the NCAA WBB Oversight Committee, what have you learned as a part of that role?
“I think that’s been a very interesting role because I’ve gotten to see so much of the thought process behind legislation and the rules and just the overall functioning of women’s basketball. I think in particular, one of the more personal things that I’ve learned is just how to advocate or provide your prospective. Being a student-athlete and talking to athletic directors, senior woman administrators and people higher up sometimes you can feel like what you have to say isn’t quite as valid or you have a completely different perspective. So, being able to build confidence and feel like ‘ok, what I have to say is valuable and maybe it isn’t something that they are thinking about’ then putting it on the table either way. That’s been a good learning experience for me is something that I can bring to the real world in whatever I want to do.”
In the fall, you went to New York with a few student-athletes and A.D. Carla Williams as part of a leadership development program. What was your favorite moment?
“My favorite moment was probably having dinner with different student-athlete alumni who live in the New Jersey-New York City area and hearing about their experience and just how much the resources have changed. I think there was one former athlete who was an engineering student and just didn’t really have guidance – like he didn’t know he was supposed to take whatever exam you need to be certified to be an engineer until the day before the exam. So, the idea of not having academic support or guidance to work your way through the system and know how to be successful in life after college – those stories were really shocking, but at the same time they are also something that you can relate with because a lot of us don’t really know what we want to do. So, to hear their stories and also their support for athletics and what Carla Williams is trying to do was really inspiring. They were like ‘if you ever need anything or need any advice, reach out to us’ and I thought they were really genuine in offering that.”
You will graduate in the spring and plan to enroll in the MPP program at Batten, what drew you to it?
“I knew I wanted to graduate in three [years] and I was kind of stuck with what I wanted to study after that. I looked at the different graduate programs, I looked at Curry and they had some interesting programs, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go into education or that was necessarily for me. Commerce school was practical but not something that I was really motivated or excited about studying. Batten, I initially applied to its accelerated program because my thought was to be able to get two degrees in four years, a little ambitious but at the same time, I felt like Batten was, compared to other schools, something I was interested in studying. Leadership and public policy are two skills that, regardless of what area of work you want to go into, are practical and applicable skills. That’s more of why I chose Batten, because I really don’t know what I want to do after school, but I feel like I can take those skills and transfer them to whatever I end up doing.”