Q&A with the Class of 2009 Cyclones

By
May 4, 2009

APER

Hanako Hjersman
Track and Cross Country Teams
PLEA Major with an Emphasis in International Relations

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills and beyond?
A: As a transfer student, being on a sports team allowed me to both meet new people and also form friendships with Mills women younger than me and in different disciplines. I can’t imagine my Mills experience without Laura and the team.

Q: Advice for students on the fence about participating in a team sport?
A: For new athletes – absolutely go for it! It is your chance to be on a college sports team, which is amazing. APER is an incredibly supportive department, and whether you are a continuing athlete or a brand new athlete, you will find the opportunity to grow in many ways. Don’t be afraid of the time it takes because you will gain so much by participating. Plus being an athlete means you can startle your friends with the amount you eat while still staying trim, it’s great.

Maya Oubre
Soccer Team
Public Policy Major with an Emphasis in Urban Planning

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills?
A: Participating on a team at Mills has helped me express myself outside of academia, yet still with my “Mills sisters” I am so grateful for friendship as well as the ability to be able to play competitively throughout the four years.

Q: Any life lessons you have taken from your experience?
A: Playing a sport at Mills has allowed me to get in time with myself and with other students and truly express the most basic parts of our personalities, being really goofy and being really fierce, and at the end of the day we are all on the team together and it’s great to feel that support.

Q: Favorite Cyclone memories?
A: Probably the most fun I had on the team was traveling to Vermont two years ago. We spent a lot of time together bonding and got to go on a hayride, run through a corn maze at night, and really just relax and enjoy one another. My soccer team has always been a strong support for me, and being able to take my frustrations out on the soccer ball helps too!

Loke Davis
Tennis and Volleyball Teams
Intermedia Art Major, Journalism Minor

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills and beyond?
A: I think every student should be on an athletic team at Mills. During my freshman year, the volleyball team was the family I needed to help with my transition to Mills. They, as well as the entire athletic department, have never failed in their support for me as a student-athlete.

Q: Advice for students on the fence about playing sports while at Mills?
A: Your experience will vary from team to team but regardless of what happens, you’ll definitely have some awesome learning experiences that could really inform the rest of your time at Mills.

Q: Favorite Cyclone memories?
A: We have all sorts of inside jokes and cheers that we made up for each other. We have a lot of fun – but we’re also there for each other for the other parts of our lives-both good and bad-that are unrelated to volleyball.

Robin Cumming (a.k.a O-Tang)
Swim Team
Chemistry Major

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills?
A: The APER department at Mills has been my family and my rock my entire time here. My Mills experience would have been completely different without them. My teammates are my best friends in this world, and my coaches have been my mentors.

Q: Favorite Cyclone memories?
A: They have been my strongest source of support. Neil has opened my eyes to so many views and experiences that I would have never before seen, and Daniel has been one of my biggest inspirations. Every one of my best friends at Mills has been my teammate.

Q: Any life lessons you have taken away from your experience?
A: Sports have shaped my entire life; I literally think that every life lesson I’ve ever learned has come back to sports in some way. Perseverance, dedication, working hard, pushing past obstacles, celebrating success, helping others, learning to be a leader, encouraging people, setting goals, accomplishing them, traveling to exciting places, I could go on forever.

Kelly Stewart (a.k.a. Krokodile)
Swim Team
Environmental Studies Major

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills?
A: My time at Mills wouldn’t be the same if I hadn’t joined the swim team freshwoman year. My teammates created a great support system and my coach guided me as an athlete within the pool and as a person out of the pool.

Q: What was your first day of practice like?
A: I was absolutely terrified my first day of practice – I could not believe I signed up for a college swim team with no previous swim team experience, but then I showed up and everyone was so nice and supportive. The pool became a grounding place for me, which I turned to every day.

Q: Any life lessons you have taken away from your experience?
A: I learned an enormous deal about sticking through something, even during the toughest of times. The reward of sticking through four years of swim team despite serious and chronic physical injuries has been more than I imagined. Swimming has become a meditative experience for me, and it is my home base.

Amal Gaada (a.k.a. Roo)
Swim Team
Math Major, Chemistry Minor

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills and beyond?
A: Being on an athletics team at Mills has made my time (at Mills) much more enjoyable, fulfilling and life changing. I have grown physically, mentally, and emotionally as a person.

Q: What was your first day of practice like?
A: The first day of practice was exciting, nerve-wracking, and I didn’t really know what to expect.

Q: Any advice to new students who may be on the fence about playing sports while at Mills?
A: Try it out! Being on a team is best way to make friends that will last a lifetime and a good way to relieve the stresses of being away from home for the first time.

Q: Any life lessons you have taken from your experience?
A: There is no I in team, but there are two in swimming.

Jennifer Safrano (a.ka. Ch’illa)
Swim Team
English Literature Major, Film Studies Minor

Q: How has participating on your team influenced your time at Mills and beyond?
A: Being a part of athletics here was seriously one of the greatest experiences ever. Athletics gave me the opportunity to push myself physically but it has also taught me the power of motivation and dedication.

Q: What was your first day of practice like?
A: I was terrified! Although I had swam competitively since I was seven, I was so nervous to be around such amazing athletes. As soon as we began talking, though, I realized that other freshwomen were feeling like I was and I began to relax.

Q: Any advice for students who may be on the fence about playing sports at Mills?
A: Do it! Seriously ,I can’t imagine my Mills experience without athletics. Use practice to relieve stress and frustration.

Q: Any life lessons you have taken away from your experience?
A: Ice is your best friend. and even if the rest of your life seems to be crazy and overwhelming your team is always there to help clean it up.

Graduating Cyclone Athletes

Vaughan Bradley-Willemann
Volleyball

Robin Cumming
Swimming

Loke Davis
Tennis & Volleyball

Amal Gaada
Swimming

Milan Givens
Volleyball

Hanako Hjersman
Track & Field

Claudia Jimenez
Volleyball

Dolores Molina
Soccer

Maya Oubre
Soccer

Lily Ann Page
Cross Country

Vivianna Pena
Soccer

Shelby Phillips
Swimming

Jenny Safreno
Swimming

Kelly Stewart
Swimming

Britt Taylor-Vernon
Track & Field

Ana Tijiboy
Track & Field

Congratulations Class
of 2009!


Q&A with the Class of 2009 Cyclones was published on May 4, 2009 in Sports & Health

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