2000-2001 at Penn State Hazleton, during which time she maintained a .476 batting average.
She recalls that softball "complimented my entire academic experience. It allowed me to make friends and find support. I was playing when I took this C++ class, which the worst thing ever and some of my teammates were in that classes and we really bonded. We sort of had this instant study group."
The fact that the teammates formed a study group is no surprise to Kate Mattes, a Residence Life staff member.
"Student athletes are held to a higher standard. This is peer pressure in a good way," Mattes said.
This higher expectation of student athletes often results in a deep commitment to academics, both on the part of the coaches and the student athletes.
Krystin Baker, Junior, certainly credits her love for softball and the support of her coaches as a factor in her academic achievements. She says that softball has taught her a great deal about discipline and focus in and outside of the classroom.
This dedication and focus has paid off as Baker was recently admitted to the campus honors program. Baker also won Academic All American in recognition of her academic achievement. She concedes that balancing her obligations as both a student and an athlete is not always easy. "You miss a lot classes and have to make up more work than the average student," Baker said.
Baker quickly adds that her coaches are cognizant of the importance of academics.
"Practices are scheduled around the team's academic schedule."
When asked how she keeps up with everything, she insists that it's all about finding a good way to manage time.
Time management is something Karen Stylianides, Instructor of Kinesiology, stresses to students, especially in the upcoming exam season. As students at Penn State Hazleton start yet another semester, it is quite rare to hear a professor tell her students to put down the books and take a break. However, this is exactly the advice she gives her students. Instead of using this break to watch TV or text, she advocates becoming physically active.
"Exercise will improve your mental state and bring blood up to the brain, allowing you to focus on your schoolwork," Stylianides said.
She notes that no matter a person’s current level of fitness, it's "good just to move."
It just may be that a healthy level of psychical activity is the key to a higher GPA this semester.