When Lucy Ramquist was named the 2015 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Women's Cross Country Athlete of the Year this fall, she became the first Blugold ever to receive the honor.
A top runner on both UW-Eau Claire’s cross country and track teams, Lucy earned multiple state and national honors for her accomplishments during her years as a Blugold student-athlete.
While Lucy’s success as an athlete is impressive, so too is her success as a student.
A biology major with a pre-professional health science minor and pre-med emphasis, Lucy brings the same passion and dedication to her studies as she does to her running.
As she prepares to graduate from UW-Eau Claire this month, Lucy says her challenging academic program — along with her many experiences as a student researcher, an intern, an international volunteer and a student-athlete — have prepared her well for professional and personal success.
Lucy took a few minutes to talk about the impact her varied experiences as a Blugold has had on her college career as well as how those opportunities are shaping her plans for her future.
What has it meant to you to be a college athlete?
Being a college athlete has honestly been an indescribable experience. I could go on for hours about the amazing memories and bonds that I've gained from being on the cross country and track teams. It's such a cool feeling when you realize that just four years of your life have such a positive impact on all of the years following college.
The lessons that one learns and the peaks and valleys that one endures as a competitive runner are incredibly valuable. How you handle these things and what you take away from them can be applied to literally any aspect in life, which is something that makes being an athlete so cool!
Being a student-athlete has enhanced my college experience by helping me to learn and grow in ways that you won't find in a classroom or a job.
What drew you to the biology and health sciences programs?
My major is quite a challenge and requires a lot of time and dedication. But I have always been drawn to science and the natural world. Biology, in particular, fascinates me because of its far-reaching influence. There are an insane number of different career goals in a biology major. I love that you have the option to pursue a very wide array of interests from just a single major.
I plan on going on to obtain a master's in nutrition. Although Eau Claire doesn't have nutrition specifically as a major, I feel that biology has done a great job at setting me up for this prospect.
What kind of research have you been involved in as a student?
I am on a research team that focuses on fruit and vegetable consumption in children. This topic has had a few different focuses during the time that I've been a member of the research team. We've looked at the effects of incentivizing children to eat more fruits and veggies, we've explored different methods of incentives and we've also researched the research. By this, I mean that we've evaluated ourselves and ways that we can change how we go about collecting data, or communicating with schools, or other aspects of project design.
So, not only did I take away a lot from this project in regard to nutrition and incentives, but I've also learned how to be better at performing research through self-evaluation and analyzing the setup of a project.
Tell us about your internship.
I currently have an internship in Eau Claire that is super awesome! It is through a company called Sconnie Foods that makes squeezable sauerkraut. I get to work in a lab and play around with different aspects of the sauerkraut. For example, I do a lot of flavor testing, testing of preservatives, experimenting with new products and promotion of the sauerkraut.
What kinds of international experiences have you had as a Blugold?
I volunteered abroad. I’ve participated in a program called Volunteers for Intercultural and Definitive Adventures, which is geared toward pre-med, pre-dentistry and pre-veterinary students. It allows students to give medical, dental or veterinary help in Central America. In 2012 I volunteered in Guatemala, and in 2013 I volunteered in Nicaragua.
Volunteering in Central America enhanced my college experience by truly getting me out of my comfort zone. Just going from high school to college is a step out of most people's comfort zones, but going abroad is on an entirely different level.
Immersing myself in a different culture made me see the world in a new light. I especially learned about how deep a connection you can have with someone who lives in a completely different country, does not speak your language, have your religion, etc.
The act of directly helping people and meeting them, even though you may not understand each other at a language or environmental level, creates a bond that I’d never quite experienced until going abroad.
The volunteer work involved setting up clinics in rural communities and allowing anyone in those communities to come to the clinics for free and seek medical help.
The experience solidified my desire to work with people on bettering their health. I absolutely loved sitting down and having a conversation with the patients. It all felt very meaningful, and at the end of the day, I felt like I truly made a positive impact in someone's life.
What are your plans after graduation?
I will be attending UW-Stout's dual degree program beginning in fall 2016. This program combines a master's in nutrition along with a degree in dietetics.
Until then, I will be working in Eau Claire. I am just starting a new job at Mayo Clinic as a patient dietary aide, and I will continue working at my internship with Sconnie Foods.
I’ll also be a volunteer assistant coach for the UWEC distance track team.