Natalie

About Natalie

Major: Biomedical Science

Hometown: Rockville, Md.

Why I Chose RIT: Before discovering what RIT has to offer academically and socially, I had a great experience meeting some of my great friends from Explore Your Future (EYF) 2011. I met numerous people who are just like me and I loved the campus right from the beginning. The interpreting, C-print and notetaking services are beyond my wildest dreams at RIT, providing everything you need for success.

Clubs/Activities: I am a diver on the RIT Swimming and Diving team and an NLC math and physics tutor. I also am a part of the Rock Climbing club and Premedical Student Association. There are still many more activities that I want to explore!

Hobbies/Interests: Besides diving, I enjoy swimming, playing ball, biking, skiing, painting and traveling. In other words, being outside on a sunny day!

What I Like Best About RIT: This place has everything you could possibly dream of, both on and off campus. You can get the rural, suburban and urban feeling within a 15-minute radius of RIT. RIT provides amazing concerts, many club sports/varsity teams, hundreds of clubs, off-campus events and every kind of support you could think of. I fell in love with my major because the professors are so engaged, knowledgeable and have a great desire to help and get to know their students. My general chemistry professor taught more than 200 students in a lecture, and he still remembers me two years later! The campus has much more to offer than I originally thought as a newbie.

Favorite T.V. Show: I enjoy watching “How I Met Your Mother,” “Full House,” “Boy Meets World” and “MasterChef.”

Fun fact about me: I did a handstand somersault off of a 10-meter platform during my training for national diving competitions in high school.

Posts by Natalie

A Retired Diver Has Come a Long Way

For those who don’t know my story, here it is. It is hard to believe that I am a retired collegiate diving athlete now, with only two years of diving competitively at RIT under my belt. But I have to say that those two last years of my college years and being on the RIT Swimming and Diving team are the best two years of my life thus far. I’ve grown and fought to prove that no obstacle will stop me from diving again.

Summer before I started diving for RIT, I excelled in diving with only 18 months of training with the Junior Olympics National Team, going from getting last place at Regionals Summer 2011 to being the top 12 divers at Regionals, Zones, and my dreams came true. I qualified and competed at my first and last ever Junior Olympics Nationals Championships August 2012. I was so eager to come to RIT and break records, compete at Nationals all four years, and maybe get All-American every year. But my triceps torn right before my Nationals Championships 2012, and I had to drop out of Diving with RIT my freshman year. After my first year at RIT, I finally found out that my shoulder was severely torn in two places and I needed to get a surgery or I would not be able to dive ever again. This injury was going to end my diving career forever. I knew I needed that surgery and I wanted to come back to diving. After one year of intense rehabilitation and strength training to get ready for diving again. I stepped up and joined the RIT diving team again for my third year of college.

I came back and only did 1-meter as 3-meter was too tough on my shoulder. I kept fighting and surprised myself by getting second at States Championships, breaking one record, and qualifying for the Regionals Championships. That did not go too well. That didn’t stop me, and as a Senior at RIT, I knew I only had one more year of diving. I had one last chance to soar and make it to Nationals.

Senior year came, I got back up on 3-meter and had so much fun with it. Throughout the season I broke all four records for both one and three meter diving, including pool and team records. Won first for my States Championships on 1meter and 3rd for 3 meter. I wanted to keep my undefeated record for one meter diving and I kept it by winning the Regionals Championships and I was on my way to my first and last ever Nationals Championships.

As you all know, I got fifth at Nationals and was RIT’s first All-American diver for 1 meter and 19th for 3 meter. I was not thrilled at the moment as I wanted at least top 4. Over the last couple weeks, I had to take as step back and look at the whole picture. All of these divers I’ve competed against had far more years of experience diving at Nationals, and I didn’t. It doesn’t matter how many NCAA trophies you have, how many All-American recognitions you have, or how many years of diving you’ve had. What matters the most is where you are today and how you got there. I came back to diving after believing it was inevitable for me to end my diving career. I fought through and I made it. I made it to be the RIT’s first All-American diver, getting 5th place is incredible for me and I’ve proven that any obstacle I’ve had does not stop me from doing what I love. Diving has always been a passion of mine, and I’m not ready to let go of it. I know I will be a diving coach some day, and I will.

My coaches, Cliff Devries and Jeff Stabile, made me believe that I will succeed. I cannot thank them enough for where I am today and how far I’ve come. Thank you for your support. Thank you, my parents, my brother, my RIT Swimming and Diving family, my interpreter, Alisa J Supplee, my bosses, my friends, and most importantly my conscience to allow me to believe in myself. I hope to inspire all of you to go after you dreams, no matter what obstacles you may have.IMG_3104

The summer after my first year of college, I finally had the surgery and I had the hope to dive again.

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Two and a half years later, my persistence and determination brought me to my dreams of diving at Nationals, placing in the top 5, and being RIT’s first All-American diver.

Diving Championships!

Hi everyone!  Sorry this is so late, I had two big championships to train for the last two weeks and I wanted to share with you for how it went!

Before we dive into my diving stories, I want to briefly talk about Rochester and what’s new around here. If you have heard of Painting with a Twist, they just opened one in Henrietta last week and I went with a girlfriend. It was a blast and brought out the artistic side of us. See the paintings we did of the Rochester city skyline? Now we can remember Rochester and all the great places we have been to for the last four years! I highly recommend going to Painting with a Twist with a friend or your mom sometime!image

School is going great but it can be hard to juggle all the homework, tests, and assignments I missed due to diving competitions! I’m enjoying them regardless and learning a lot, especially in gross anatomy where I have the amazing opportunity to dissect a cadaver to observe the muscles.

Back to diving, I recently had long intense trainings for the States Championships two weeks ago. I won 1st for 1M!!! It was an exciting meet and I had a blast meeting other divers from all over New York at Ithaca College. I came in a close 3rd place on 3M and I was very pleased with my performance! imageThen last weekend I just came back from NCAA Regionals Championships, where I won first on 1M again!!! I also qualified for Nationals Championships for both 1M and 3M coming up in North Carolina during the week of March 14-20, 2016. I could not be any more thrilled to know I made it this year especially after two years off from diving due to an injury. The meet will be streamed live online and you can watch me dive!

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Two weeks of school then one week of Nationals Championships then one week of spring break in New Hampshire for skiing! I’m so excited.

The Last First Day of School at RIT!

Last week was Week 1, so it was really hard getting back into the routine of going to classes, eating meals on campus, and having less diving practices. All winter break I have been diving a lot! I went home after finals week for 10 days before joining the RIT Swim and Dive team. We went to Florida for our training trip consisting of two practices a day outside in the spectacular sunny weather and it was a blast. Returning to Rochester via a 24-hour bus ride from Florida was tough and arriving with snow on the ground and 10 degrees outside was a rude awakening.

After a week of double practices a day training at RIT, I decided I needed a break. So I went to New York City and visited a friend. We went to watch the New York Rangers game, and they won by a close call. It was a great experience to watch a professional hockey game.

Then for the rest of the January, I had a lot of diving everyday and meets every weekend. I finally broke the last diving record I have been wanting to break since I was in high school. Now I have all four records up on the board of the RIT pool! Recently, my mom came up to visit and watch my very last dual meet of my diving career and it was bittersweet. The picture below is right after my last meet with my mom and coach at RIT. But I’m excited to go forward with the States Championships, Regionals Championships, and Nationals Championships upcoming! It will be an amazing journey to remember. Back into diving training (and school, of course.)IMG_1145

The Perfect Break Before the Homestretch

Reflecting on my Thanksgiving break last week, it was truly an amazing time seeing my family again. I have not seen some of them for three or five years! With the time off and separation from school, I was able to wind down and be uplifting around my family.  Here’s a photo from our traditional “Night after Thanksgiving dinner” from Friday.

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Now that I’m back on campus, it is definitely a homestretch to finish up all of my coursework for my classes, start studying for the final exams, and finish up the projects. I also have been getting the last practices down before the Liberty League Championships meet this weekend, which will be in Schenectady, N.Y.  The team will be taking off tomorrow morning at 8:00 AM bright and early for the weekend long meet! I will blog again after the meet to share how it went.

A little piece of advice for prospective students: Taking a 30-minute nap during the day is the best refresher you can have, not coffee! It’s cheaper, too. 🙂

Ten Out of Ten, That Week 10 Was Crazy

Boy, that week was rough with three exams, two projects, homework assignments, and training in diving for a tough competition the following Saturday! I remember clearly staying up all night till 2:00 am or 3:00 am, studying for the exams and completing the projects. I stayed on campus with another friend who was having a rough week with trying to complete his long lab assignment. I’m thankful to have somebody experiencing the same thing along my side as we encouraged each other to keep going and finish the night. After the brutal week, I had a home diving meet with a diver who beat me last year. She was one competition I had to look out for. Yet, I beat her on 1M diving! She beat me on 3M, but only by few points. It was good and I felt the fire in me wanting to keep going and get better for later in the season.

During the week, I relearned one of my dives that I had before I came to college, three years ago! That dive was back 2 1/2 somersaults off 3M diving board! It was so much fun relearning it, even though I over-rotated and smacked onto my thighs hard and kept going. I competed it for the recent meet last Saturday, November 7, and I did very well.  I also broke the St. Lawrence 1M diving pool record. I had so much fun being with my team and watching a bunch of movies on the 4-hour long bus ride there and back! The photo I’m sharing is my favorite team photo thus far; we have this amazing family dynamic going on.

I have learned that no matter how bad of a week you may be having, whether it’s academic- or life-related, you can still find that fire in you and keep doing what you love.11230911_10207120263780677_2543113350552472788_nIt’s week 12 tomorrow and as it is an even week, you will be hearing from me again shortly! I cannot wait for Thanksgiving and reuniting with my family in Pennsylvania.

A Tiger Retires and a Hawk Spreads Its Wings

A Tiger retires and a Hawk spreads its wings.

Are you wondering what that means and why I’m blogging about a tiger and a hawk?  To rest your confusion, I have some exciting news!  Two weeks ago after I returned from a racquetball tournament with the RIT Racquetball Club/Team in Albany, NY, I came home and immediately checked my mail because I know there’s something waiting for me.

It was a letter from my dream graduate school for Physical Therapy at University of Maryland Eastern Shore near Salisbury, MD! The letter explained that I am accepted into their Doctor of Physical Therapy program! I was ecstatic and emotionally overwhelmed. I felt that all of the hard work I have put into my undergraduate career is finally paying off. I knew since my second year of college that I wanted to attend UMES and become a physical therapist, and now it’s happening! It’s great to know that I am already off to another amazing school and to be a part of a new family starting this fall 2016 immediately after I graduate from RIT this May 2016! Since UMES’s mascot is a Hawk, I will be graduating this May and retiring as a Tiger and spreading my wings for the next chapter in my life as a Hawk. It sounds so cheesy, I know.

I want to thank my family, friends, roommates, swimming & diving teammates, professors at RIT, and the NTID ambassador group/family for all of their tremendous support and love. I’m extremely lucky and thankful to be a part of the UMES DPT family next year, but I cannot ever thank everyone at RIT enough. The following photo is my happy face, eagerly signing the paper in a heartbeat, agreeing to attend their program in the fall!

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Aside from my exciting news, I also had my first RIT swimming and diving team meet of the year, and it is my last first meet as a diver! We competed against one of the strongest competitors, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and I competed on 3M diving board for the first time since my Nationals Championships competition where I got injured the summer before I came to RIT! I did well and am excited to dive off 3M again. For the homecoming weekend, my brother also came up to visit me and see RIT for himself as he’s only a sophomore in high school! It was great having him around and I know he really likes RIT, he even observed a college class! You can see my brother, who is in the middle, in the following photo!

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Dive Big or Go Home

As previously mentioned, the Swimming and Diving season just started for us last week and we’re already getting intensive with our trainings. We’re not practicing just once a day, but almost like twice a day if you incorporate the dry-land work-outs and weight lifting in the schedule. Last week, I was surprised with five new divers coming in! We were so worried that it’ll be just the three of us, two girls and one boy, but then three boys and two girls walked on and wanted to dive. My coach was extremely pleased to see that we have a large group this year, as it will give the team more of a “family” sense. I’m really excited to see where this goes in the season, getting to know them and diving on three meters once again. I was out of 3-meter diving for three years due to a shoulder injury I had. I forgot how much I loved doing 3-meter diving!

I have attached a picture of the team, but the picture is missing one boy, so there’s really supposed to be eight of us there, plus the coach.  IMG_2305

What’s going on around the campus? A lot of things, there are SO MANY flyers and event advertising for the month of October. There’s a trip to a pumpkin farm, a trip to a picnic, a trip to zoos, etc. If only I didn’t have diving meets on the weekends, I would be going all out and attending all of these events. That’s one thing I learned as a college student, “When you see an opportunity, take it and make memories from it.”  For the first two years at college, I did not attend enough of the events, go out in the Rochester or New York State area, or do enough outings with friends. Now I’m a senior, and I’m making sure I’m traveling and going on adventures! You will never get bored in Rochester, and I can guarantee you that.

A Busy Month

One month has passed. What’s new? A lot of things! Lately, I haven’t had any weekend of sitting on my couch, watching some television and staying in. It seems like every weekend since the Triathlon, I’ve been occupied by many activities including biking with friends, going camping in Allegany State Park, driving down to Maryland to visit my family for my parents’ birthdays, and going out to eat. 🙂 It seems like there’s always so much to do in this Rochester area, and I love it!

The classes are going extremely well, but the tests are creeping up this week and next week! Ahh! Not only the tests are coming up, but the diving practices just started and we’ll have practices eight times a week. Still not enough, which is why my coach told us to do our own work-outs in the gym everyday to get stronger for the season. Isn’t he crazy, but I love him.

I’m sharing a photo of the crew who went camping two weekends ago, and it was a blast. We had dinners by the fire both nights, played games all night, and hiked up a really long trail. As you can see, we’re all dressed down so comfortably and having a great time. 🙂 We’re missing Rebecca, who was taking the picture, and she’s an awesome girl! Will definitely go camping again!Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 8.50.37 PM

Senior Year is Off to a Great Start!

I’m thrilled to announce that I am in my last year of undergraduate studies, earning my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and minoring in Exercise Sciences and Psychology.  In addition to my 18 credits this semester, I have been training hard everyday for diving with the varsity team, teacher-assisting (TA) for an Anatomy & Physiology lab, tutoring math for deaf/hard-of-hearing students, giving tours to prospective students as an ambassador, participating in the Student Wellness Ambassador Team (SWAT) to promote wellness awareness across the campus, and a few other clubs. As you may think, “when does she ever have time to eat, sleep, and do homework?” It’s all about time management skills! I’ll be blogging throughout the year and we can see how it goes!

Now, let’s have a quick recap of my summer. I volunteered at the military hospital in the department of rehabilitation again this summer. It was extremely a rewarding experience being able to help out and contribute back to the community and assisting the veterans.Some of the veterans I assisted had amputations and prosthetics, or even a simple lower-back soreness. I was exposed to a wide variety of injuries and recoveries to learn for my potential future career!

When I’m not volunteering at the military hospital, I coached the summer league diving team with close to 50 young divers (ages 5-18). The kids were so adorable and I had a blast teaching them how to dive and improve their performance. I know that this is the type of job I look forward to everyday, and I’m excited to see what my future holds with a potential admission to a graduate school. As I did not have any assistant coaches this year, I had to manage the growing diving team myself with some assistance of coaches-in-training. It may be challenging to watch, coach, and manage the whole team while ensuring the kids are having FUN. As matter of fact, I uploaded an end of the year slideshow for the banquet on YouTube. Feel free to watch here, it’s more fun toward the middle where all the kids are dancing their butts off. I had to sadly announce that it is my last year coaching the diving team as I was a part of it since I was seven years old as a diver. The team has shaped me for who I am tremendously and they lie in a huge part of my heart.

IMG_1215I finished up the summer with a family vacation out in San Francisco and Lake Tahoe. It was beautiful out there and we did a lot of activities in the water, which was very cold! It was still a lot of fun boating, tubing, swimming, paddle-boarding, kayaking, and hiking the exotic vacation spot of Lake Tahoe. I would highly recommend you to go out there for a vacation at some point in your future!

After the vacation, I moved in my apartment in Rochester early on to prepare for the hectic school week AND THE TRIATHLON!!! Yes, I did my very first triathlon with all of my friends who were also first-timers. It was so much fun and a beautiful day to swim in Lake Ontario, bike and run in the park nearby in Irondequoit, N.Y.  The picture I shared is from the triathlon. As you can see I was already sweating enough from the non-stop race! It was definitely an experience to remember and I’ll do it again!

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As it is my senior year, I have a bucket list to check off as I go on through the year. Hopefully I’ll get through them quickly and I’ll share with you guys!  Happy September!

Sweet Surprises

I had two great weekends with my dad flying up to visit me for my Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award ceremony and dinner.  It was an honor to have received this award as one of four deaf recipients and attend this special occasion with my closest friends, colleagues, and my dad. You can see the three other fellows who received this award here.

This past weekend, after the NTID Spring Open House and meeting some pretty awesome students who will be coming in the Fall, I drove home to Maryland. I drove down approximately seven hours with a couple of friends to visit Academic Bowl at Gallaudet University and attend a baby shower of an old friend I’ve known since I was a toddler. Her sister contacted me and asked me to come down and surprise her at the shower. We both saw and could not let go of each other; it has been too long. The last time I saw her was probably 10-plus years ago and we were always so tight like twin sisters. The whole seven-hour drive was truly worth it and I hope to see her again! The picture below proves that no matter how long it has been, the love is always there.  IMG_9355