Meet the 12 12 Clark University student-athletes achieved semester grade point averages of 4.0 or higher in the fall of 2016. Find out who they are, what works for them and their advice for success.

MANA CHAVALI, Freshman, MEN'S SOCCER

Brookline, Massachusetts

Undeclared

4.0

Favorite class in Fall 2016?

"My favorite class was Bio 101, because the teachers were engaging and the labs were interesting. I learned a lot and it was a very manageable class overall."

Career aspirations?

"I hope to apply to medical school and become a doctor one day."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"The biggest hurdle is time management. Balancing practice, with class and studying/homework is definitely tricky. However Coach O'Toole works individually with us to make sure we are working around these difficulties to succeed in all aspects of lives at Clark."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Organization and time management are key in helping me achieve success academically and on the field. While I am usually up late studying, cramming is different from preparing, and I try to do less cramming and more preparation so I never fall behind."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Reach out to your teachers/coaches for help if you need it. They can be incredible resources and are more than happy to help you out if they can."

SAMI DOKUS, GRADUATE, WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Littleton, Massachusetts

Biology

4.0

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"I’m conducting independent research for course credit, and I really enjoy my topic of stickleback anti-predator behavior. I love how challenging and eye-opening its been so far."

Career aspirations?

"I’ve applied to be a penguin keeper at a zoo for next year. I love animals and am interested in continuing research in animal behavior."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"Finding time for group projects. Thankfully everyone at Clark is very understanding and flexible."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"I try to stay as organized as possible – I have a little notebook I keep on me at all times so I can keep track of everything I need to get done."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"My advice would be to keep a grateful and positive attitude about the opportunity Clark provides for athletic and academic growth."

OGECHI EZEMMA, SOPHOMORE, WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Hope Valley, Rhode Island

Biology

4.08

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"My favorite class last semester was General Psychology. The professor was very knowledgeable and presented the material in a creative way, which made the class more fun for me. Also, learning about how and why people act and think a certain way was really interesting."

Career aspirations?

"I want to be a pediatrician or obstetrician-gynecologist."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"Time management and finding a way to allocate time for school, basketball, family, social events, etc."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"One skill that has helped me during the school year is looking over my notes right after each class. I started doing this two semesters ago and it has really helped me retain material a lot better. I also think that creating time for activities you enjoy releases a lot of stress and helps with academic success."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Find a good balance between school and extracurricular activities. Take advantage of your free time - and your professors, because they are always there to help!"

KARA FISCHER, SENIOR, WOMEN'S SOCCER

Belmont, Massachusetts

Physical Anthropology

4.08

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"Advanced Biostatistics and directed study in human origins. I really enjoyed Advanced Biostatistics because I was able to learn more about different techniques used in statistics. I had the opportunity to do my own statistical analysis on a topic of interest to me, and I just feel like I learned a lot. It also helped. My professor was very helpful and always there to answer any questions. I also really enjoyed my human origins course because I am very intrigued in learning more about our human ancestors, where we came from, and how we evolved to be where we are today."

Career aspirations?

"My goal is to become a forensic anthropologist."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"I would say time management is definitely a skill that has helped me over the years. I think it's also been helpful to write out lists of what I need to do for that day or week to make sure I get all my assignments in on time and get everything I need to do done."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"I would say my biggest hurdle as a student-athlete at Clark would be finding classes that fit into my practice and game schedule. It can be tough because Clark is a small University, so sometimes a class that I need or want to take is only offered at a specific time that overlaps with games, etc."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Keep working hard and find something that you love learning about because then classes will seem easier. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help or advice from fellow classmates, teammates, coaches and/or faculty."

LIZA FRENCH, SOPHOMORE, WOMEN'S CROSS COUNTRY

Middleborough, Massachusetts

Media, Culture & the Arts

4.23

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"Intro to Photography with Stephen DiRado. It was a completely new artistic outlet for me, and I found that I really loved learning how to capture things in their immediacy and to translate everyday images into art. I think Stephen does a great job combining technical knowledge with artmaking and the class had a great community feeling."

Career aspirations?

"My current career aspiration is to find useful work that I'm passionate about. I'm currently still exploring the best options, but I'm interested in both studying large and small communities' relationships to media (film, social media, art, etc.) and educating those communities about their use of media."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"I think the biggest hurdle is making sure my personal health is the main priority. If I'm not eating and sleeping properly, I can't achieve everything I need to. It's obvious as an athlete that you need to be healthy, but I've found it's just as important as a student."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Organization and time management are super important to be successful in this. I have to be sure to set aside time for myself among all the working and working out. It's when I don't allow time for myself to be comfortable that I get stressed out."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"I guess my main advice would be to adopt the mantra "It is possible." Professors are always there to help you succeed if you demonstrate that you truly want to, and the work you're given is designed to be doable. Once I realized that, I felt capable of tackling any problem."

MADI GARRITY, JUNIOR, VOLLEYBALL

Duxbury, Massachusetts

Biology

4.15

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"My favorite course during the Fall of 2016 was Biochemistry I. As a Biology major and a Chemistry minor, Biochemistry has combined my two favorite subjects into one. It focuses on the structures, functions, interactions, and pathways that help explain how the cells and tissues within organisms work and survive. Dr. Spratt, my professor for Biochemistry I, always made lecture and lab engaging. He has offered me an opportunity to start working in his lab this upcoming semester. His research focuses on protein-protein interactions in regards to human diseases and drug development. As someone interested in pursuing a career in the medicine, this opportunity truly connects my major here at Clark to what I hope to be in the future."

Career aspirations?

"I am currently deciding if I want to become a dentist or a doctor. If I become a dentist I hope to specialize in periodontics, but if I decide to pursue medicine, I hope to specialize in cardiothoracic surgery."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"My biggest academic obstacle as a student-athlete is time management. However, once I find my routine and adjust to both my class and volleyball schedules, everything falls into place."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Time management and organization are both crucial skills for academic success. With as many as four games a week, managing my time and staying organized are essential. Most of the battle is planning ahead and sticking to your agenda."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Find what you love to do both in and out of the classroom. If you do what you love you’re bound to push yourself towards success."

VLAD KIVELIYK, SENIOR, MEN'S SWIMMING

Southington, Connecticut

Biochemistry And Molecular Biology

4.0

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"My favorite 'class' in fall 2016 was my lab experience for my Honors research in Dr. Spratt's Research Lab. I enjoyed it so much because it was one of the first times I felt really independent in a school-related activity. Although I still received much guidance from Professor Spratt, the wonderful Ph.D.s and all my fellow undergrads, it was the first time I felt like I was applying everything I've learned in my lecture courses."

Career aspirations?

"Next year, I will be completing my MBA at Clark with a concentration in general management. I hope to go on to dental school and use that MBA to one day open my own dental practice."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"The biggest hurdle is balancing classwork, friends, and swimming. I always have to know how to use my weekdays and weekends wisely to achieve my goals in and out of the pool."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"I believe that planning ahead has been my greatest tool in achieving my goals. It helps me anticipate where I can squeeze in lab and study time. However, things don't always go as planned and so I've become accustomed to studying until 2 a.m., and jumping into the pool at 6:30 a.m. Not preferred, but as a student-athlete you have to know when to make sacrifices. You have to know that sometimes a nap, or a study session, is more important than hanging out with your friends in order to accomplish everything you want to do."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"My best advice is plan ahead, don't be upset when your plans break down, work hard, and try your very best. However, very important in a busy schedule, is making time for your friends and loved ones. This is contradictory to what I've said before, but if you don't you'll just be miserable. So the best answer I can give is balance. After searching for the perfect balance myself and asking upperclassmen when I was younger, I've learned that it is up to you to find where you need to spend more time, and where you can cut out a little bit of time to be successful."

IAN LEVY, SOPHOMORE, MEN'S TENNIS

Needham, Massachusetts

Economics

4.0

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"My favorite class in fall 2016 was Creative Actor, an improv class. It has nothing to do with my major or minors, but I looked forward to that class every week because it provided a fun and productive way to let off steam."

Career aspirations?

"I'm very interested in economic research and policy, whether working for the government, a private firm, or even a public institution. My goal is to generate discussion on important economic and political problems so that we can work toward implementing well-informed solutions."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"The biggest hurdle I've found as a student-athlete is trying to put maximum effort into both athletics and academics. It can be mentally exhausting sometimes when my days are filled with classes, practice, clubs, and homework."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"The competitive attitude I have developed in tennis has actually been a major factor in my academic performance. In both athletics and academics, I won't be satisfied with my end result if I don't put in my full effort."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Your coach is an invaluable resource who understands the pressures of being a student-athlete. If you're struggling at all academically, socially, or athletically, your coach is there to make sure you excel."

MELISSA ORZECHOWSKI, SENIOR, WOMEN'S SWIMMING

Windsor, Connecticut

Biology

4.08

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"Biology of Cancer. This course prepared me with knowledge that allowed me to engage in topics and research that I found very interesting and applicable to my life. It challenged me to go beyond the textbook and I really enjoyed the outcome."

Career aspirations?

"Physician's assistant. I'm waiting for the final decision from a graduate program."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"Finding the energy to fulfill these major commitments to the best of my ability."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Extreme organization. I keep a calendar of all my assignments, practices, meets and any other obligation and check them off as I go. I like to start assignments or studying as early as possible."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"It’s okay to ask for help; go to office hours, reach out to other teammates in your classes, and communicate with your coaches; they can be a great resource."

RISHI SINGH, SENIOR, LACROSSE

Sterling, Massachusetts

Geography

4.15

Career aspirations?

"To work as a remote sensing/GIS analyst at a company that is involved in ecological forecasting and conservation efforts. I have had the opportunity to take a few classes related to remote sensing and feel like it's a rapidly growing field I want to become a part of."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"For me, the biggest hurdle as a student-athlete has been time management of my GIS labs and season play. During the season, lacrosse demands a lot of time from my schedule and it often requires late nights to get my labs done on top of class and playing. The labs require a lot of problem-solving and often have errors, which are difficult to resolve when I don't have a lot of time to meet with professors. It forces me to be an independent worker."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"One thing that has helped me to stay on top of my work is collaborating with other students. I have found that it is easier to stay on track when you are constantly interacting with other students. Not only does it hold me accountable for staying up-to-date with course material, but it also gives me a network through which I can ask questions and answer questions for others."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"My advice would be to stay connected with your professors as best as you can. If you can carve any time to meet with your professors or stay after class with them, it's always worth it. They're always there to help and getting to know your professors can open doors for you down the line past academics and sports."

LYDIA WARTERS, SENIOR, WOMEN'S ROWING

Simsbury, Connecticut

Sociology

4.0

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"My favorite class this fall was Environmental Inequality, my capstone. I got to do some really interesting research and it gave me the opportunity to apply knowledge I've learned in all the sociology and environmental science classes I've taken at Clark."

Career aspirations?

"I'd love to work in outdoor education, especially in a program that uses fitness and physical activities to empower girls."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

"I think the biggest hurdle is just working to find a balance. As a student athlete there's a lot of pressure to put everything you have into doing well academically as well as performing well athletically and being there for your team. But it's good to also remember that you're a human being. You have to make time for yourself to just step back from everything and breathe once in a while. It took me time to figure that out."

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Time management has definitely been helpful. I always try to stay on top of work and not let things pile up. It's hard to perform well when you have a billion different things to do so it's good to get things done a little bit at a time whenever possible."

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"No matter how stressful college can be, it's not the end of the world. If you're pushing yourself to succeed because you genuinely want to learn and make yourself better then you can't expect to be perfect 100% of the time. So if you make a mistake, take a breath, learn from it, and move on."

TORI WHITNEY, SENIOR, VOLLEYBALL

Sunderland, Massachusetts

Biology

4.0

Favorite class in fall 2016?

"The Human Genome. Dr. Gibbons was great, and learning from him about our evolutionary history and what makes humans unique made for an interesting class."

Career aspirations?

"I am currently in the process of applying to different graduate schools for Audiology. I spent last summer assisting in children’s hearing tests and want to continue it."

What is the biggest hurdle for you, as a student-athlete, in achieving academic success at Clark?

Time management.

What skills have helped you achieve this success?

"Time management. I know I said it is the biggest hurdle for me, but it is also a skill has contributed to my academic success. My skill includes spending all of my free time on academics, which also leads to a hurdle for my social life. I think I’ve found a balance but … it’s difficult!"

Any advice for your fellow student-athletes about academic success?

"Prioritize things— school is usually first, but not always! Everyone would go crazy if school was all they could think about during the semester. People need breaks."

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.