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University of Chicago Department of Athletics & Recreation

Senior Spotlight: Karina Kling (Volleyball)

Senior Spotlight: Karina Kling (Volleyball)

Name: Karina Kling
Sport: Volleyball
Hometown: Downers Grove, Illinois
Majors: Mathematics and Psychology

Why did you choose UChicago?
On my very first visit to campus, I fell in love with UChicago's blend of academic rigor, value placed on individual uniqueness, opportunities to connect with fellow students from all walks of life, and the opportunity to compete as a student-athlete for a program built on trust, strength, and integrity. Meeting my coaches and teammates truly solidified the idea that choosing UChicago was the absolute best decision I could have made, and one that I am thankful for every day.

Favorite moment of your UChicago athletic career?
Winning a crucial match against Eau Claire two years ago, having taken both matches that day to 5 sets and running on only a few hours of sleep as a team (the product of a comedy of errors from bad weather to bus time mixups the night before). We knew we were a resilient team, but that day was one for the books!

Favorite team tradition/activity?
Bunny-bunny games before matches!

What made you fall in love with your sport originally?
As a math nerd, I think one of the biggest reasons I first started to love volleyball was recognizing that it is a game based almost entirely on geometry and is such a perfect combination of skill, power, teamwork, and strategy.

What lessons have you learned through competing in your sport that have stuck with you?
Through volleyball I've learned so much but one of the biggest lessons that'll always remain with me is that an individual can be so much stronger than they could ever imagine when they pour their mind and heart into achieving a goal. The same is true for teams, and ours is comprised of so many strong and talented individuals who truly care about each other and work together for communal success.

What advice would you give to your first-year teammates?
Make the most of your four years at UChicago as a student, athlete, and person! This place is truly special and wonderful in more ways than can be counted. Take positive risks, meet new and amazing people, get to know your professors (they're really cool!), write down happy memories, take more pictures, and always remember to have fun.

Favorite UChicago class that you learned the most from and why?
The SOSC class Mind was a fantastic introduction to the basis of modern psychology, and mixed in several small-scale research topics which spanned the breadth of psychological sub-fields, proving to to be amazingly interesting. It actually helped convince me to add Psychology as a second major to my degree track!

Which UChicago faculty or staff member made the greatest impact on you and why?
Dr. Bob Fefferman from the Math department has been a wonderful mentor and role model; he is truly invested in conveying the beauty of mathematics to students in a way which empowers them to glean their own understandings while maintaining a genuine excitement for the learning process. Working for him as a TA has been a pleasure and I've learned so much from him as a phenomenal educator and person!

Favorite place on campus?
The Bond Cloister is gorgeous. Indoors, the Harper Reading Room is the coziest place to do work.

What are your post-graduation plans?
I'm currently in the process of applying to graduate programs in Mathematics Education, Cognitive Psychology, and Educational Psychology with a specialization in STEM.

Outside of your current sport, which sport or activity do you feel like you would excel at the most?
Knitting! With a lot of practice over the past year, I can now make a full-length scarf in about 8-10 hours of work.

Favorite Chicago restaurant?
Carbon Live Fire Mexican Grill in Bridgeport.

Favorite place you've visited?
Iceland with my amazing teammates and coaches!