After placing third overall for the regular season at the University Athletic Association (UAA) volleyball tournament this past weekend, senior Chisom Amaechi and the rest of the Tartans are eagerly waiting to hear whether or not they received a bid to the NCAA tournament.
As the team holds onto the hope of continuing into post-season play, Amaechi gave The Tartan her insights on maintaining her upbeat attitude while balancing academics and athletics at Carnegie Mellon.

Tartan: Now that you are a senior, what has been your favorite year at Carnegie Mellon?
Amaechi: Since this year isn’t over yet, junior year was my best year all around. In volleyball I became a dominant player and had a lot of success on the court. Also, I became an aunt! I did really well academically, bonded more with my close friends, got an internship at my favorite company, BP, and went to Brazil!

T: Do you have any end of the season goals that you hope will come to fruition during your final matches?
A: Our biggest goal is making it to NCAAs. We’re always cheated out of the opportunity and this year we’ve worked even harder and deserve to make it more than ever. We are a solid team this year and I know we can give all those teams a run for their money.

T: What do you hope to pursue with your upcoming degree in chemical engineering? Are there any graduate school plans for you in the future?
A: I plan to go to graduate school for my Ph.D. in environmental engineering with a concentration in energy issues. I’m so passionate and excited about these issues and want to learn as much as I can about them and conduct a lot of meaningful research, so I can become an expert in this field.

T: What was your favorite children’s book growing up?
A: My favorite book when I was growing up was Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. It was about an elementary-school-age African-American girl who desired to play Peter Pan in her school play, but was told by her white classmate that she couldn’t because she was black, even though she was the most qualified for the part.
The book shows how that comment negatively affected Grace’s ego and temperament — she was typically always happy — and the importance of family. Grace’s family was there to help restore her confidence and attitude and remind her that she can achieve anything she put her mind to.
This book would always remind me that I can do whatever I put my mind to even if I’m the only black girl in my class. Since then, I would try to never let any racial or sexist comments bring me down or change my optimistic and cheery personality.

T: Do you like to cook or bake?
A: I love cooking and baking, but I never really have time to do it. Next semester, I’m hoping to have more free time so my roommates and I can cook more and have friends over for dinner. My favorite dish to make is a baked tuna casserole. I love tuna and cheese, and this is one where I enjoy the process of making it and eating it!

T: What advice can you pass on to the younger players and incoming first-years on the volleyball team?
A: Definitely have fun! We all tried out for the team because our love for volleyball was so strong that we couldn’t imagine the next four years of our life without it.
Don’t ever lose that love for the game and cherish every moment with these girls and play hard every game because it’ll be over before you know it!