Lauren Bailey, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, was one of 10 University scholar-athletes recognized for their abilities “on the field” and in the classroom.
Bailey, from Ossining, NY, holds the University records for the 100 butterfly, 200 butterfly, 200 freestyle, 200 individual medley, and is a part of all the record-holding relay teams.
During the football team’s season opener, she and nine other athletes were presented Garnish Awards during a halftime ceremony. Bailey said she was nervous at first to go out to midfield and accept the award in front of the whole stadium of football fans. “It was definitely never-racking,” she said. “It was a huge honor though. My whole team came out to support me, which was really nice of them. It was super exciting!”
The Garnish Award program was created in honor of Lysle “Spike” Garnish, who consecutively served as an assistant coach for the University’s basketball, baseball, and football teams from 1930-1948.
According to the Athletic Department’s webpage, “Friends of Rochester Athletics, through an alumni committee, reviews nominations of students from varsity teams who have achieved at a high level in both their athletic and academic pursuits through their junior year. From these nominees, a small number are selected as Garnish Scholars.”
It’s definitely not easy
Bailey, who has a GPA of 3.87, says that balancing athletics and academics is “definitely not easy. But I think if you’re really passionate about both things—I really like chemical engineering, and I really like swimming—but I think it’s also about time management,” she said.
“For me, I do homework with a group of people or with my friends, so it makes it more enjoyable. Plus, I don’t really dread doing homework, so that definitely makes it easier to work with other people.”
During her senior year, Bailey says one of her goals is to have fun this season. “I’m really not going to put any pressure on myself,” she claimed. “I want to do well, obviously, but I also want to make sure that I’m really having fun. This is probably the last year I will swim competitively on a college team where we all share a common goal.”
Bailey’s best advice to student athletes? “Don’t stay up too late the night before you have practice in the morning.” According to her, “Mainly you’re here at the University to do well in school and succeed.”
Another important piece of advice Bailey offers is to prioritize, and “make sure to realize when you’re struggling to balance school and swimming, or school and any sport that you’re doing, because you don’t want your academics to slip. Don’t take on too much, though, because it can be a really rigorous schedule, and you want to make sure you have free time to enjoy yourself still,” she says.
In her time here at the U of R, Bailey has taken many classes, but the one in which she learned the most was the chemical engineering class, Reactor Design. Bailey says “It’s a really important class, because it has so many applications with so many jobs, and I think it’s really important to understanding what’s going on. It was definitely challenging, since we did a lot of coding with MatLab, and I’m not excellent at that.” Starting from the most basic reactors, the class covered many fundamental chemical engineering concepts.
This year, the senior says that instead of stressing about swimming times and tests, she wants to “have a good time, and make sure I’m getting done what I need to get done…but I’m definitely going to enjoy myself.”
As graduation gets closer, Bailey says she’ll start looking for chemical engineering positions, and at some point, she may consider getting an MBA.
By Joe Bailey and Monique Patenaude