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A role model on the court and in class

By : Eric Coker

As an exemplary and busy student-athlete, Dawn Lammert places an emphasis on time management.

“I write everything down,” she said. “I make lists. Whatever company makes Post-it notes should thank me. I use my planner a lot and set alarms on my phone. I usually list every night what I need to get the done the next day and what order to do it.”

An overview of Lammert’s accomplishments shows the need for multi-tasking:

• On the volleyball court, Lammert is a four-year starter and co-captain of a team that won the America East championship and competed in the NCAA Tournament. She was among the top three blockers in the conference for three seasons and will graduate with one of the highest block totals in the program’s Division I tenure. Lammert also spent three seasons as a high jumper on the track and field team.

• In the classroom, Lammert’s 3.94 grade point average is the highest of any student-athlete and has earned her a nomination as NCAA Woman of the Year. She will complete the 3+2 BA/MA program a year early, receiving her master’s degree in biology after her fourth year on campus.

• In the community, Lammert serves as a youth mentor for the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier, working with an 11-year-old at-risk youth for the past two years.

Lammert, a 21-year-old from Sussex, Wis. (a half-hour west of Milwaukee), was recruited to play volleyball after graduating as valedictorian of her high-school class. Binghamton’s size, location and science program were all factors in Lammert’s decision.

“I didn’t want to go to a school where it would be the same high school friends,” said Lammert, adding that many attend Wisconsin-Madison or Minnesota. “I didn’t know if I was cut out for a huge school with 40,000 undergraduates. So Binghamton was a nice combination. The people were nice.”

While Lammert began to excel in athletics, she found her academic calling in biology and independent-study research. With Yulong Chen, assistant professor of biological sciences, she studied the effect of ethanol on cell differentiation. With Steven Tammariello, associate professor of biological sciences, she is studying the factors and signals that cells give during development and death.

People sometimes misunderstand the time commitments of the student-athlete, Lammert said. It is more than just practices, a weekend game and classes.

“It’s not a cakewalk,” she said. “It’s a full-time job for me on top of being a student keeping my grades up. … If we have a bus ride, I can’t just sleep the whole ride. I have to do my work. If we’re in a hotel, I can’t lounge around. Get your homework done; take your books to breakfast.”

Lammert also minored in German and studied at Technische Universitat Darmstadt in Germany during the summer of 2008. She said the trip was both a positive educational and social experience.

“If anyone thinks they are inhibited socially, the best way is to throw yourself into a new group of people with a language you don’t know and try to fend for yourself,” she said.

Lammert credits head volleyball coach Glenn Kiriyama with providing the support to take the Germany trip and join the track and field team.

“He leads by example and encourages us to not only do well on the court, but in academics, too,” she said. “He wants you to grow as a person.”

Kiriyama said Lammert has accomplished more during the year than any player he has had on the team.

“She is the consummate student-athlete and has set the bar high for others to follow,” he said. “Dawn has been a trusted and gifted player for us and will be truly missed.”

Next for Lammert is an MD/PhD program at SUNY Upstate Medical University. The program offers her a chance to study developmental neurobiology in a smaller, upstate environment and is the result of her love of research and mentoring and admiration of her mother’s work as a special-education aide.

“The best way to combine all of that is an MD/PhD degree,” she said.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08