Studying to become a veterinarian and playing for the varsity soccer team sounds like a lot to handle, but Antoinette Chase has it covered. Now a senior, she balanced academic and athletic life at Penn State for the past four years.
"Being on the team helped me do better in school in terms of time management," she said. "The athletics department provides students with a lot of academic help, such as tutors, study halls and great academic advisers."
As an animal science major in the College of Agricultural Sciences, Chase relished the opportunities to learn about a variety of agricultural animals. Coming from the Philadelphia suburbs, there weren't a lot of chances like there are at Penn State to learn about livestock.
"I like how my major combines what you're learning in the classroom with going out and working in the horse barns. In one of the classes, I got to reach into the stomach of a cow and feel the contents. It's very hands on."
Chase plans to apply to veterinary school a year after graduation, using this upcoming year to gain more experience.
"Becoming a veterinarian has been a personal goal for a long time, and that goal was reaffirmed by coming here and going through the animal science program."
On the other side of her Penn State career, Chase has been a defender for the soccer team since her freshman year. Work ethic is a big component for the team, she noted. The players are encouraged to work hard through adversity and taught how to deal with failure.
"It really can be applied to any field. It's tough, but it made me a stronger person."
The women's soccer team has accomplished a lot this academic year. Last fall, it won the Big 10 regular season and tournament championships before capturing the NCAA Championship. Chase earned the Big 10 Sportsmanship Award and is an Academic All-Big 10 honoree.
Each year at the team's soccer banquet, the players and coaches vote on team awards. Chase won the Rodney Swineford Award, as a person who encompasses the values of the team.
"I'm surrounded by the best people. It's really cool to be with people who are so dedicated and passionate about what they're doing. I wasn't a starter and that was a struggle. But I also realized that the people around me could show me ways to become better, and that allowed me to grow a lot more."