BMSc student among top student-athletes

Thursday, December 10, 2009

By Communications Staff
December 10, 2009

Academic All-Canadian Profile: Cassandra Welten

LONDON, Ont. - With a 95% average, Cassandra Welten is as gifted in the classroom as she is on the ice with the Western Mustangs women's hockey team.

A native of Crysler, Ont., south of Ottawa, the women's hockey defender hopes to be a doctor one day and believes Western was the perfect choice for her to blend her athletics with academics.

Welten is a 3rd year student in the Bachelor of Medical Sciences program at Schulich school of Medicine & Dentistry with Honors specialization in pathology and toxicology. She is one of 239 Mustangs being honoured Dec. 10 at a luncheon to congratulate over 1/4 of Western's student-athletes in achieving an 80% or better academic average in 2008-09.

Welten said she doesn't really think about the high level of both academic and athletic standing she has displayed as Mustang student-athlete.

"Western is home to some of the brightest and most engaged young people that I have ever encountered," Welten said. "Everyone here kind of has 'their thing.' It's an awesome community dynamic. Doing hockey, sophing and school is just my own niche."

Self-discipline, Welten said, and time management are key to her success in both the classroom and on the ice.

"Lately, my days have consisted of loading backpack to capacity, biking into campus, then buckling down for the day," Welten said. "Maximizing those small time gaps between classes and practice, among other things, makes a big difference."

"I have also learned that I am most productive when I lead a very balanced and active life," she said. "That is, I tend to be more engaging and focused on the whole at times that involve juggling social, student and athletic aspects of my Western experience. It's like channeling some hyperactivity mode."

Welten credits the Western community as a whole for facilitating her success.

"I am grateful to the lovely ladies at Einstein Café adjacent to the Taylor Library," she said. "I'm a victim of constant feeding while studying. The nutri-squares are my guilty pleasure."

"(And) I am very thankful for the many professors who have been accommodating in terms of scheduling exams around games or weekends on the road. It means being able to focus on hockey while at hockey," Welten said. "It's great peace of mind."

There are some additional challenges student-athletes face, Welten said, like scheduling classes around practices.

"It can be problematic sometimes, especially for upper-year students, whose course offerings may be limited to one section at a particular hour," she said. "For some girls on the team, this means sacrificing one or two practices a week."

Welten is a national scholarship recipient, awarded for her dedication and commitment to both sport and study.

"This award covers a large chunk of my undergrad tuition in addition to offsetting residence fees in first year," she said. "Moreover, I received funding via the NSERC undergraduate student research award, which allowed me to spend the summer months working in conjunction with Professor Dr. Maxwell conducting lab research here at Western."

"Doing this is what fulfills me," Welten said, noting upon checking her desktop-dictionary, the very definition of 'fulfill' is what describes her best: gain happiness or satisfaction by fully developing one's abilities or character.