When she was on the field or the court, Jaimee Reynolds was usually beating the opposition. But what wasn't evident was that she was learning more about her future doctoral field of study at the same time.
When four-time Cornell lacrosse All-American Jaimee Reynolds was leading the Big Red on the field, she was also acquiring valuable knowledge for her future research.
It's true. Reynolds, who is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Rochester, explains. "My specific project is to look at the 'Significance of Inertia on Reflexive Head Movements.' I've been able to use my experiences from athletics to help me understand my research. Everyday I think about what happens on the lacrosse field or volleyball court and try and figure out how our brain controls our posture and balance during our daily activities."
She has a lot of experience to draw on. At Cornell Reynolds played lacrosse and volleyball, and was 2002 Ivy Player of the Year in lacrosse and three-time first team All-Ivy. She also led Cornell to its only NCAA tournament Final Four appearance in lacrosse, beating seven-time defending champion Maryland to do so. "Our senior year, the Maryland game was the climax of our season," remembers Reynolds.
Reynolds chose Cornell for an unusual mix of reasons. "I wasn't sure what major I would choose, and Cornell had a very fitting motto: 'I would found an Institution where ANY PERSON could find instruction in ANY STUDY,'" she points out. But it was also the food. "I knew that I would have to eat at the school cafeteria for the next four years," Reynolds explains, "and I wanted to make sure that I had some good food to keep me energized during the late night studying."
Even in the midst of pursuing two sports, Reynolds was able to seriously pursue academics. "At Cornell, I was there to learn how to learn," says Reynolds. " I didn't get to fit in every class that I would have wanted to take," but "I was able to pursue research opportunities over the summer and pursue teaching opportunities as a teaching assistant during the school year."
"My professors at Cornell were very supportive," says Reynolds. "They were willing to work with me ahead of time, so that I could fit everything in." This also had a benefit when it came to apply to graduate school. Because of the need to coordinate athletics with classwork "I interacted more with my professors on a personal basis," Reynolds explains. "They were able to learn more about my character, and therefore have an easier time writing recommendation letters."
Reynolds' finds her athletic experiences help her deal with grad school as well. "As an athlete, you are part of a team, you set goals, you work with an authority figure and learn to accept constructive criticism, you learn a skill until you get it right and adapt when necessary."
Hoping to complete her PhD in a year or two, Reynolds plans to stay in academia, preferably a research or teaching position in "the math and sciences." She also finds time to be active in alumni activities. "I'm just two hours away from Ithaca. In October 2006, the lacrosse team will be honored at homecoming, so I'll be there to support the 2006 Ivy League Champs," she says.
"I love everything about Cornell: the people, the places, and the memories," sums up Reynolds. "Whenever I talk about my alma mater, my face lights up with emotion."
"Cornell was like having a second family."
— Stephen Eschenbach