Claire Martin, a senior in mechanical engineering and a member of WSU’s volleyball team, balances her classes with practice and training sessions.
We recently caught up with Claire to find out how she got into volleyball, what made her choose to study mechanical engineering at WSU, and how she juggles athletics and academics.
How did you get interested in mechanical engineering?
I really enjoyed my science and math classes in high school. My physics teacher, Dr. Samuel Bechara, is a WSU alumnus and exposed me to the world of engineering and challenged me every day in class.
My dad is also a mechanical and nuclear engineer for the Navy, and a lot of my family are engineers. My cousin was a women’s basketball player for University of Portland and graduated as a mechanical engineer. With her being an athlete and going into this major, I knew I could do it, too.
How did you get involved with volleyball?
I grew up playing basketball because of my mom. She is a member of the University of Idaho Hall of Fame after holding the school’s basketball record for career-scoring for 20 years. I started to play volleyball my freshman year in high school and had a lot of fun. During my high school career, we were state champs for three consecutive years. I still play basketball, but my love for volleyball is much bigger.
Do you feel pressure to follow in your parents’ footsteps?
At first, I felt pressure from myself to become a college athlete because my mom was one, but that pressure soon turned into a goal. I don’t feel any pressure because I like what I’m doing.
What is it like playing for WSU volleyball?
It is a blast! I am surrounded by great girls and coaching staff, and I am surrounded by an even greater community that constantly supports us athletes in everything we do.
Do things carry over from engineering to the court or from the court to the classroom?
Sometimes during practice, the coaches and teammates will jokingly say, “Look at Claire’s engineering skills on the court.” I like to break down the technique in drills to the details. It’s something I do in my homework, too, to make sure my calculations are correct. From the court to the classroom, I feel like I also bring great teamwork ethic. It’s something I’ve developed while working with the team and it really helps during group projects.
How do you successfully balance athletics and academics?
I had to work on my time management skills and know my priorities. I needed to find the right time to do my homework and when to go out. What also helps is writing things down. I have an hourly schedule, and I keep sticky notes all over my room to remind me of everything that needs to be done.
What are your plans after college?
My mom played basketball in France for a few years, so I have thought about playing volleyball overseas, but I also want to work for big companies like Boeing, Amazon, and Microsoft. I’m still not sure what lies ahead but I’m excited for it.