Ends Career on Athletic and Academic Highs
Top Field-Hockey Player Admitted to Oxford University
by Anne C. Paine
Walker '02 epitomizes the best in Oberlin's tradition of scholar-athletes.
An All-American and all-conference field-hockey player, she's the
best Division III goalkeeper in the country this year. She's also
an honors psychology major heading for the doctoral-degree program
in experimental psychology at Oxford University next fall, provided
she can secure funding.
courtesy of Sports Information Office
- who attends Oberlin with the assistance of a John Heisman Club
Leadership Scholarship and a John Frederick Oberlin Academic Scholarship
- spent two semesters at Oxford last year. Since then, she's been
in telephone contact with the eminent social psychologist Miles
Hewstone, who is interested in her current research and her ideas
for graduate research.
is doing honors research with Associate Professor James Tanaka;
her project examines interracial experience as a factor in facial
perception. She and Tanaka presented their findings at the Perceptual
Expertise Network conference in San Francisco last April.
"Our study shows that on a very basic level, we tend to perceive
differences in faces of our own race more easily than we do in other
races," said Walker, who has a second major in law and society
and a minor in religion.
she enrolls at Oxford, Walker hopes to keep her connection to Oberlin
strong by helping establish research connections between the two
institutions. Both Tanaka and Hewstone have expressed interest,
she has done since high school, Walker combined academics and athletics,
playing on four different Oxford field-hockey teams. Before coming
to Oberlin, she played on her high-school team in Vancouver, British
Columbia, as well as on the British Columbia Provincial team, which
won several medals in Canadian national championships. She completed
the Oberlin field-hockey season last fall with a save percentage
of .938; her career save percentage was .874 and her career goal
against average was 1.41.
expects to continue playing at Oxford next fall.
been playing for so long, I don't see myself as being able to stop,"
she said. "I have such a respect for the game. Some of the
skills take years to learn. I love the competition, I love that
it's not a high-scoring game. I like to win. I like to be a part
of a team - it's very rewarding," she said.
credits Oberlin's tough academics with helping her gain entry to
Oxford, but as a high-school senior she hadn't ever heard of the
was looking at U.S. schools for field hockey - mostly the Ivy League
schools," she said. Oberlin's field-hockey coach started making
weekly calls to her, and the persistence paid off: Walker decided
academic experience at Oberlin has "far exceeded my expectations,"
Walker said. "The feedback here is terrific - in my freshman
year, on every paper, the professors wrote notes and comments. The
professors really care. And the research opportunities have been
wonderful. Many classes I have taken have been very demanding, but
that pushed me to succeed."
already an accomplished athlete when she arrived, Walker said Oberlin
taught her a few things about athletics, too.
on a Division III team, I've learned about sportsmanship and the
importance of working as a team member. I've been on many teams,
but none has been so cohesive as Oberlin's. Until I came to Oberlin,
I never turned to my teammates for help or support. I've learned
that a team is a team on the field and off as well."
also has had a huge impact on her personal development, Walker said.
"Oberlin changed my life," she said. "I came from
a very conservative high school. I'm not radical at all, but I've
become more liberal. I've learned not to be prejudiced against anyone
for unfounded reasons. I've become a more open-minded person.
are very different from Canadians," she continued. "Americans
have opinions about everything. I've learned that it's good to have
an opinion, to develop and express your opinions. This has helped
me grow as a person."
spent spring semester preparing for graduation and applying for
every scholarship she could find to help her pay for Oxford. "My
professors keep telling me I have to find a way to make this happen,"
she said. "It's been my dream." ATS