As a Big Ten student-athlete, what were some of the life lessons you learned throughout your collegiate career?
"When you are a Big Ten student-athlete, you learn the life lessons of organizing your time and being disciplined as to how you operate, both on the court and in the classroom."
Talk about the demands of balancing schoolwork with being a Big Ten student-athlete...
"Balancing the demands of being a Big Ten student-athlete is very difficult because as a Northwestern student, academically, it's very tough. You have to make sure you spend enough time on your schoolwork and your studies, going to see your professors if necessary, as well as putting in the fitness and training time that it takes to be a top athlete. You have to realize how to fit one into the other and accomplish both."
How did competing in the Big Ten help you gain success in the classroom?
"I think competing in Big Ten athletics helped me gain success in the classroom because you're in a competitive atmosphere. At Northwestern, it's competitive regardless of what you are doing. You're competing against yourself with your GPA, as well as against other students, and then of course you have to have a certain GPA to compete on your team. It was very tough to be able to balance that."
Looking back on your collegiate career, what are some of the things you are most proud of?
"As a newcomer, I was voted Big Ten Freshman of the Year and then in my sophomore season, along with my partner Diane Donnelly, we won the NCAA Championship, which was the first team to win a national title at Northwestern."
What advice would you give to aspiring female student-athletes?
"The advice that I would give to aspiring student-athletes is to make sure you love what you do and to enjoy every minute of it, no matter if it's on the field, on the court, or in the classroom. Because it's after that, when life really matters as far as your profession is concerned, that you look back and you take from the discipline and the dedication that you had to have as a student-athlete to accomplish your goals."
How did your collegiate success prepare you for playing professionally?
"My collegiate success prepared me for my professional career in tennis by competing with my teammates, against other schools and being able to thrive in tense situations, especially if it came down to a clutch match. My goal was to be a professional athlete once I started to succeed through college. It was those times when I could hear my teammates cheering for me and pulling for me that helped me thrive initially in my professional career."
With the success of Cristelle Grier and Alexis Prousis winning this year's doubles crown, what did that mean for you knowing you helped lay the groundwork for their path almost 20 years prior?
"I followed Prousis and Grier's success throughout their career at Northwestern, as well as when they were at the NCAA Championships, knowing that they had an opportunity to achieve that goal. It was exciting for me to know that someone else would be able to feel and experience the excitement that myself and my partner Diane Donnelly did 19 years ago. To know that they would be a part of that history and have a taste of that NCAA Championship was exciting for me, as well as their coach, Claire Pollard, who I keep in touch with and sent a nice message to shortly thereafter."
From serving on the USTA Player Development Committee to putting on your tennis workshops and talking with young people about education and discipline, what do you incorporate in those lessons from your time at Northwestern?
"When I put on USTA clinics or junior workshops with kids, I always stress the important of academics. Sports are great, but it's not everything, and you should always have an education to fall back on. I always stress that point because my parents stressed that to me. They were teachers themselves. For me, I talk about the life skills and how it correlates with how you develop throughout life as far as your discipline, dedication and your desire to want to do something. I make sure that they're having fun in the sport, but to never lose sight of it just being a sport and to really understand that your academics are so important. You want to pace yourself and really thrive on where you want to be in the long run."
What does it mean for you to represent NU in the Big Ten's 25th Anniversary of Women's Championships?
"It is such an honor for me to represent Northwestern University in celebrating 25 years of women's championships in the Big Ten. The competition that I experienced throughout my college career was unbelievable. I have had the chance to meet some exciting people, including NU alums all over the world."