Santa Clara has had many super-star student-athletes walk across the Mission Campus over the years. The volleyball team has one of those currently in junior Tanya Schmidt. Named All-WCC First Team this past fall, Schmidt also stands out on the campus and in the classroom as a leader.
Schmidt sports a 3.963 grade point average and has achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA in four of her seven quarters at Santa Clara. Playing in every set this season, Schmidt led the team in hitting at .338. In addition, she was the only player in the West Coast Conference to be named to the All-American All-District team as a third-team honoree.
"It's great for us to witness Tanya's approach to life and volleyball," said Bronco head volleyball coach Jon Wallace. "Her approach is the same. She takes more notes than anyone else we've ever coached. She asks more questions. She studies the game. She's on opposing teams websites to study the players. She knows their ages, their majors. She is very through in her homework to be a better volleyball player. To be a 3.96 student (grade point average), it's in her DNA to want to learn and get better every day. It's inspiring."
"She likes to learn. She likes to gain knowledge. It's not in a competitive way with someone else. She just really likes to learn," added Wallace. "What is most inspiring about Tanya is she is real. She is not only a great leader on the volleyball team, but also on campus and in the community. Her passion for learning, consideration for others and helping others and being the best she can be - we hope that rubs off on others. By watching her actions, we all could learn a lot."
SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCU) visited with Schmidt (TS) prior to the New Year and one can tell how proud she is to a Bronco.
SCU: You were named All-WCC First Team on the court this season and also to the Academic All-American All-District team as well. Both are true honors, especially the academic honor because you were the only one from the WCC recognized. How important are these type of honors for you?
TS: Santa Clara emphasizes the "education of the whole person." I am very grateful to have been named an Academic All-District All-American because I have worked hard to develop myself as both a student and an athlete. It is a great honor and motivates me to continue to work hard to reach the next level.
SCU: You obviously spend a lot of time on your studies - what is the key to your success? Hard work? Organization? Studying? What would you say?
TS: Hard work and time management are important skills. I study a lot, but often my school-work seems more like fun than work because I am passionate about my major. Should we call it school-fun instead? My professors are intelligent, personable and inspire me to delve further into each area of study. I want to be like them someday! (Literally, I want to be a professor!)
SCU: What tips would you give to a senior in high school right now? Any tips on how to be successful in college?
TS: Choose a college for you, not for anyone else. The Jesuits recommend reflecting on the three questions: What are your gifts? What brings you joy? Where does the world need you most? I think these discernment questions from St. Ignatius of Loyola say it all. To high school students, I suggest getting involved early to find or confirm what brings you joy. Then, using your gifts, go for your dreams to help make our world a more just and peaceful place!