Everyday Champion: Katie Humm

April 29, 2010

This week’s “Everyday Champion,” Katie Humm, has found a family in the Oregon State women’s rowing program. As a sophomore, Humm joined the program as her participation in the program has helped her grow on and off the water. This season, she has rowed with the varsity 8+ boat and has become a senior leader for one of the top rowing programs in the nation.


A biology major with a focus in education, Humm plans on teaching with “Teach for America” following graduation, a program that “builds the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting the nation's most promising future leaders.”


As this week’s everyday champion, Humm took some time to discuss her life as an Oregon State student-athlete and the Teach for America program.


Why did you choose to attend Oregon State?

“I came to Oregon State because my older brother came here and it was close to home.  I wanted to major in sciences and between Oregon and Oregon State, Oregon State was where to go for sciences.”


What surprised you about Oregon State once you got here?

“The thing that surprised me most about Oregon State was that it wasn’t as big as a campus as I had prepared myself to see.  I could still find friends in the dorms.  I ran for president of Sackett and made a lot of friends through that position and was really surprised that all the things I had heard before about it being too big of a campus were not true.  I was happy to find a small community where it was easy to make friends.”


How did you get started in the rowing program?

“I got started in the rowing program my sophomore year at Oregon State.  I spent my first year trying to find where I would fit in at the University and really struggled to feel a part of the whole campus.  So my sophomore year I joined the PAC class, which is no longer available, just to try out rowing.  It was the only sport that you could really jump into without any previous experience and I had some friends on the team as well who encouraged me to sign up.  After the PAC class was done, we had the opportunity to try out for the team and I jumped on board and here I am four years later.”


What’s it been like rowing for Coach Ford?

“Emily had definitely been the toughest coach that I’ve had.  She really demands a lot out of all her athletes, but in retrospect it’s also pushed me to be the best athlete I’ve been thus far.  I did sports all through high school and all my coaches were tough, but when you come up to D1 sports they are going to ask a little bit more of you.  Emily has definitely gotten the best out of everyone inside and outside of rowing.  It’s been great to have her pushing us along.”


Why did you choose to become biology major?

“I chose sciences originally because I was interested in medicine.  After thinking about it my freshmen year it was too much school for me, so I felt like teaching would probably suit me better.  I wanted to go back to my high school and teach science and be a part of the work being done there and be a part of the education system.  I’m really excited to get to that point.”


After graduation, you plan to enter a program called Teach for America: talk a little bit about the program.

“After graduation I’m moving to Mississippi and I am going to be a part of Teach for America.  I interviewed during the course of the school year and it was a process to be accepted.  Over the summer, they are going to teach us about how to be excellent teachers and how to get our students to respond to the material.  Then in August, when school starts, we are placed in poverty stricken areas where kids are not achieving as well as they could be.  Teach for America has made goals to decrease the achievement gap between wealthier and low income area schools and I’m really excited to be a part of that for the few years.”


How did you find out about Teach for America?
“My brother’s wife, her bridesmaid was in Teach for America so I learned about it over the bachelorette weekend.  She told me about her experience and then my best friend’s sister had a friend who did it as well.  It seemed like the right thing to do.  It was the right time in my life where I could pick up from graduation, pack a suitcase, and be a part of something much bigger than myself before I had to start getting into teacher credentials and master’s degrees.  It is the perfect time for me to help out this wonderful organization.”


How do you balance your time as a student athlete?

“Balancing my life as a student athlete is tough.  I think the number one thing you’ll hear from athletes is that it’s really difficult to have a social life between practices and school.  It’s really hard, but I think it helps our team become close.  There are a lot of different people on the team and groups of friends and opportunities to hang out so that provides the opportunity for us to be social and have that outlet.  The toughest thing with school is definitely traveling during spring.  I don’t know how the baseball team does it, being away so much because we only miss a day here and there.  I think time management skills have been very important in getting our assignments done on the road and during weeks with intense practices.”


What can you take from playing softball and running cross country in high school that helps you with collegiate rowing?

“Cross country and softball have helped me in rowing in different ways.  Cross country is definitely the endurance part of rowing.  I had a good cardiovascular system coming into the sport of rowing.  Softball has more technical aspects that help me in rowing.  All the time spent trying to learn the proper swing and dynamics of how to swing the bat properly transition to the skill required to learn the rowing technique.  I would definitely say the endurance acquired in cross country has really helped me in the sport of rowing.”


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