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ACADEMIC SPOTLIGHT: ERIN VOSS
Senior Erin Voss boasts a 3.99 GPA as a biochemical engineering major and is a starter for the Retrievers.
By Jessica Bernheim, UMBC Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
Most college students can only dream of a 3.99 grade-point average. But for UMBC senior Erin Voss, a captain on the women’s basketball team, that GPA is a reality.
A biochemical engineering major who plans to attend medical school after graduating next December, Voss is the epitome of the student-athlete. The 6-foot forward has been a regular starter for the Retrievers since early last season, all the while receiving top grades in one of the toughest majors on campus.
“The one B I’ve gotten here was in a one-credit beginner-level class last year,” Voss said. “It’s kind of ironic that I can get A’s in organic chemistry and fluid mechanics, but not in a one-credit course that was supposed to be easy.”
While many athletes may lean toward less-demanding areas of study in order to maximize practice time and minimize off-the-court stress, Voss believes her end result will be more rewarding.
“I realize that a more difficult four years in college has the ability to help me for 30 or 40 years after I graduate,” she said. “It seems like putting a little more effort into these four years and really enjoying what I get to do when I’m done is worth it.”
Though it may be unusual for an athlete to choose biochemical engineering as a major, Voss selected it the way any other student chooses a major – based on her strengths in the classroom and her career ambitions.
“I wanted to pick a major that allowed me the maximum possibilities when I got done with school because I wasn’t really sure exactly what I wanted to do,” she said. “I figured I like science a lot, and I was really strong in mathematics, so biochemical engineering is the epitome of putting all those things together. It allows me to do something in biology, chemistry, medical school or engineering. I could take it and go with it wherever I wanted.”
Voss has narrowed those options down and now plans to take the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) in the spring in hopes of attending medical school. While she hasn’t decided for sure what will be her focus in med school, she is considering orthopedics and sports medicine or neurology.
“I love the brain; I think it’s fascinating,” she said.
Following that passion, Voss volunteers at
Despite all her class and volunteer work, Voss is still able to handle the responsibilities of being a team co-captain, a position she has held for two seasons, as well as maintain a high level of performance on the basketball court. Through six games this season, she is averaging 3.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game. She matched a career high with seven rebounds in UMBC’s 71-51 rout of Longwood on Dec. 3. For her career, Voss has averaged 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in 81 of a possible 92 games.
In order to keep up with her busy schedule, Voss quickly learned the art of time management, an extremely useful skill which many college students never quite seem to master. In doing so, Voss not only can keep up with her school work, her basketball schedule and her volunteering, but she also finds time to relax and have fun.
“It’s all about time management,” she emphasized. “It’s about using every minute that you have as effectively and efficiently as you can instead of wasting 15 minutes here and there, which eventually add up to hours during your day. I use those 15 minutes and do a problem or read 10 pages, and by doing little things all at once and using my time efficiently during the day, I’m able to fit everything in.”
Voss credits her mother, a former basketball player at
“She has really inspired me both athletically and academically to always work hard, be determined and set goals,” Voss said.
One of those goals – to play Division-I basketball – brought the
“I was really looking for a school that I could play basketball and get a good education, and I had a difficult time finding a good combination of those two things,” said Voss, who considered numerous different schools before selecting UMBC. “I chose UMBC because it was the best fit of both.”
Voss also travels to local elementary schools to talk about the importance of getting a good education and being the complete student-athlete as part of UMBC’s community outreach program.
“Academics are so important because I only have four years to play basketball,” she said. “My academics are going to allow me success for the rest of my life. By striving to do so well academically, I open up so many doorways for myself in the future, and I can do whatever I want for the rest of my life.”