The NESCAC has a plethora of student-athletes who excel in numerous ways on their campuses. The "Friday Feature" is a way for fans to get to know them throughout the academic year. This week, the conference introduces senior Claire Markonic a member of the women's track and field team at Bates who is a geology major and thrill seeker.
Claire Markonic, Bates
Senior, Women's Track & Field
Millerton, N.Y./Webutuck HS
Why did you choose to attend your institution?
Because I went to such a small public school in upstate New York and had no idea what I wanted to major in as an incoming student I looked at a lot of the smaller liberal arts colleges in the New England region. Bates was one that was recommended to me by my neighbor who was attending Bowdoin at the time. I knew it was the right choice after touring campus and meeting with the track coaches. Everyone I interacted with was so friendly and laid back on my visits and it was ultimately the home-like vibe that I felt across campus that led me to choose Bates.
Why did you choose to be a Division III student-athlete?
Sports have always been a part of my life and now that I'm a senior I'm struggling with how I'm going to fill that void after graduation. I knew that I wanted to play a sport in college even before I began looking at schools and it just so happened that I was drawn to the smaller Division III institutions. It seemed like a perfect fit for me.
What are three thing to do or accomplish on your bucket list?
I'm definitely a thrill seeker, which is why bungee jumping is at the top of my bucket list. I've also wanted to break the 400-meter dash record ever since I saw the record board on my first visit to Bates. I have one more season to check that off the list! The third thing on my bucket list is to learn how to surf.
What has been your favorite class outside of your major? Why?
I took a marine biology course my sophomore year that I found to be really interesting. The ocean has always fascinated me and ever since taking that class I've thought a profession that incorporates geology as well as ocean studies would be the perfect one for me. I just couldn't believe how much I learned in the class, how much material we weren't able to cover due to time constraints, and how much of the ocean is still unexplored. It just blew my mind.
What internships/research projects have you participated in? What did you learn from these experiences?
When I tell people I'm a geology major most of them say, "Oh so you like rocks". What people don't realize (including myself before becoming a geology major) is that almost every aspect of their daily lives can be linked to geologic processes. When choosing to major in geology I knew that no matter what area I specialized in, whether it be hydrogeology or volcanology, I would be able to take the knowledge I had gathered and used it to help people in the real world.
What aspect of your major are you most looking forward to?
I enjoy being in the outdoors more than anything and as a geologist I hope to make that an aspect of my everyday life.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned from being a student-athlete?
I've learned how important it is to treat your body properly and to keep a positive mental attitude. Because track is more of an individual sport than most, having an off day when a race doesn't go quite as well as you had hoped can have a big influence on your mental attitude going into future competitions. I've learned to focus only on the controllable aspects of the sport and not dwell on the things that are out of my hands. After adopting this mindset, I've been a lot more positive and a lot less stressed not only on the track but in my everyday life as well.