Name: Emily Schmitt
Sports: Women’s Cross Country / Track & Field
Hometown: Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Majors: Chemistry and Biochemistry
Why did you choose UChicago?
I wanted the opportunity to learn as much as possible in my major classes and also in the Core. I knew that the professors at UChicago would push me academically and I have grown so much because of it!
Favorite moment of your UChicago athletic career?
My favorite moment was during the 2020 cross country season when we ran a 3,200-meter time trial as a team and then jumped into the lake after. It was so fun to be able to make the most of an unusual season.
Favorite team tradition/activity?
I love pre-meet runs with the women’s cross country team. We run together to the golden lady statue and do a little dance/cheer.
What made you fall in love with your sport originally?
I used to swim competitively but I joined the cross country team during my junior year in high school. While I’m fine leaving the cold pools behind me, I loved how running is so versatile. There are so many different reasons that make running such a fulfilling sport for people of all ages and abilities.
What lessons have you learned through competing in your sport that have stuck with you?
When I had a major surgery done on my hip, I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to run competitively again. My occupational therapist in the hospital told me that I needed to celebrate the things I accomplished each day and not compare myself to what I could do before the surgery. Now that I am running again, I still try to find small victories in every run (even if it is just starting and finishing the run!), and it makes the journey so exciting and enjoyable.
What advice would you give to your first-year teammates?
Find a way to enjoy every run! Being on the team is such an amazing opportunity to train with driven and inspirational women. It is also a gift to be healthy and able to push yourself.
Favorite UChicago class that you learned the most from and why?
“The Bright and Dark Sides of Empathy” was one of my favorite classes. I took the psychology class for fun and learned so much from my professor and his fascinating research of empathy. Mostly, I appreciated learning about and gaining a perspective from an entire field of study that I didn’t know much about before!
Which UChicago faculty or staff member made the greatest impact on you and why?
Professor Fagan – my professor from my Power, Identity and Resistance class – helped me believe in my writing and myself as a student. She taught me that reading Hobbes and Marx can be quite exciting, you can learn anything you set your mind to, and it’s okay to ask for help along the way.
Favorite thing to do in the city?
Go to a Second City show!
What are your post-graduation plans?
I will be working in clinical research during my gap year before medical school.
Outside of your current sport, which sport or activity do you feel like you would excel at the most?
I am quite good at badminton! I can’t provide evidence but I am a very enthusiastic player.
Favorite Chicago restaurant?
Girl and the Goat.
Favorite place you’ve visited?
Yosemite National Park.