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The Road to Success for STEM Student-athletes

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Tricks of the Trade

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1336.1 - 25.1336.26



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Paper Authors


Adam Neale University of Waterloo

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Adam Neale received the B.A.Sc. degree and M.A.Sc. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 2008 and 2010 respectively. He is currently working toward the Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering also at the University of Waterloo. His research interests are in the area of high performance/low power SRAM design, and engineering education. He is an NSERC scholar, member of the University of Waterloo Varsity Men's Track and Field team, and recently won the university's Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student.

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Oliver Grant University of Waterloo

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Oliver Grant is currently working toward the B.CS degree in honours computer ecience (Bioinformatics Option) at the University of Waterloo. He is interested in pursuing research at the graduate level in bioinformatics or other related fields of applied computer science. He is also a Captain of the University of Waterloo Varsity Men's Track and Field team.

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Manoj Sachdev P.Eng. University of Waterloo

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The Road to Success for Student-Athletes in EngineeringVarsity athletics and university engineering programs are both extremely time intensivecommitments. Each requires a considerable amount of discipline and self-motivation on the partof the student. Initially, it would seem that combining these two commitments would be a recipefor disaster, leading to an exhausted, time-crunched student and yield poor performances both inthe classroom and on the field. Many students however, continue to prove that concurrentsuccess is possible in both demanding disciplines. In this work, members of the university trackand field and cross country teams majoring in engineering and other science, engineering,technology, and mathematics (STEMs) disciplines have been interviewed to discuss their timemanagement and coping strategies for successfully navigating life as a student-athlete. Studentsdiscuss lessons they have learned, and how they have successfully been able to apply conceptsfrom their studies to athletics, and vice-versa. These teams were chosen due to the fact that theyeach contain the most recent male and female award winners for the university’s varsity student-athlete with the highest academic average during a competitive season. Further, both of thesestudents are majoring in STEMs programs. Interviews were conducted with students rangingfrom freshman through senior undergraduate programs, as well as students in Master’s and Ph.D.programs. The interviews highlight a series of commonalities and differences across thestudents, as well as provide an indication as to how perspectives change, both in regard to theirsport and their studies, as students progress through their post-secondary education. From thesepersonal accounts and interviews, a series of best practices for success as either a student-athleteor a regular student can be developed. It also becomes clear that there are many paths leading tosuccess.

Neale, A., & Grant, O., & Sachdev, M. (2012, June), The Road to Success for STEM Student-athletes Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--22093

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