Meet Kelly Maluccio, a Math major and Division 1 Athlete at Loyola University Maryland
Tell us a little bit about Loyola’s Women in Sports Day. How did you get involved?
I have volunteered at Loyola’s Women in Sports Day for the past four years. I am on the varsity women’s swimming and diving team here at Loyola, so I volunteer every year with my entire team and we have a blast with all of the young female athletes. Tons of girls come to Loyola and we get to give them a tour of the athletic locker rooms as well as get them pumped for the basketball game later that afternoon. In previous years, I have given tours and talked with the girls about what sports they play and how much fun it is to play a sport in college. This year I was able to work at a few different tables helping with poster making, face painting, tattoos, and hair ribbons. The girls get so excited to get a Loyola tattoo or sparkly green hair ribbon to wear to the game. Also, they decorate and create posters that say ‘Loyola’ or ‘Go Hounds!’ because they can bring these posters to hold up at the game. It is always a fun experience to talk with the young athletes and encourage them to keep it up.
Personally, I love to work with the young athletes because many of the girls remind me of myself when I was younger. All of them play multiple sports and are incredibly excited to talk with college athletes. Making them smile and get excited about continuing with their sports teams is encouraging for us college athletes as well because we want to see kids who look up to us and will one day follow a similar path in athletics.
How have you coped with the stress of being both a student and an athlete?
I have done sports all my life, so I think it actually helps me stay disciplined and keep up with school work. However, my freshman year of college was extremely difficult because I was not used to such a rigorous athletic program. My team, as well as other athletes, acts as a great support system when I was struggling with school or my sport. After that first year, I knew that I could handle it and I wanted to finish my college career as an athlete, so I did my best to stick with it. Sometimes I did consider quitting because I would have much more time for school, but ultimately swimming defined a part of my college journey which made me happy, so I did not give it up.
Have you faced any adversity being a female in a male-dominated field (Math) or on the swimming team?
Yes, I sometimes faced adversity as a female athlete because many people do not give us as much credit as male athletes. This is a stereotype that I had to overcome with my teammates and the only thing we could do was prove others wrong by being successful as a female athlete. However, I have been lucky at Loyola because there were more female math majors than male math majors in my class; therefore many people applauded me for choosing this particular field.
As a Math major and a Division 1 Athlete, do you have any advice for other female students or student athletes?
My only advice would be to do what you love because if you find that you are no longer having fun, then something needs to change. I have always loved math, so I knew that I wanted to be a math major and swimming is such a huge part of my life that I knew I would be unhappy without it. Happiness is what kept me going and allowed me to maintain being a math major and division 1 athlete, so I encourage other female students and student athletes to ignore any stereotypes or false judgments and pursue what makes them happy. Keep in mind, I am not saying this will ever be easy because there were times when I seriously struggled, but make sure you are always happy with what you are doing.
By: Laurette McIlwee