It's not often that you find a student athlete that is also an engineering major, and for good reason. With the strict class requirements and heavy workload, it's tough for a student athlete to work their class schedule around practices and meets. However, when making her college decisions, senior bioengineering student, Rose Biddulph, was up for the challenge.
Biddulph hails from Australia, where she first made the decision to start exploring her college options. After touring a few schools in the U.S., she settled on the first one she toured, Temple.
Women's rowing competes in both the fall and spring semesters, with fall being the long-distance races, and spring being the shorter sprint races, and their busiest season. Biddulph's role on the boat is typically seven-seat, where she and another teammate set the pace for the strokes.
Biddulph's typical week-day schedule during the spring semester is enough to make anyone's head spin. "Maybe 5, 5:30 is the wakeup. Do any readings, any last-minute homework, notes that I need to get done. Prepare my bags for that day and then head off to practice," she lists. The team takes a bus on campus at 6:30am to the boathouse, for a practice start time of 7:30am, sharp. After practice ends around 10:30, she heads straight into classes until her lifting session from 12-1, then immediately back to classes. The team has another workout session later in the evening, this time the ergometer (rowing machine), until about 6pm. The rest of Biddulph's evening is spent finding time for dinner and completing homework and other assignments for the next day.
While rowing dictates much of her schedule, Biddulph is also focused on her goals for her career after rowing. As a bioengineering major, with a pre-health concentration and a minor in chemistry, Biddulph chose this major and track specifically for the number of options and flexibility it grants her in her career choices.
She explains, "I'd always been interested in STEM and engineering and making things and helping people." However, Biddulph was also considering a career in medicine. The bioengineering major with a pre-health concentration covered all her bases.
This past summer, Biddulph kept herself just as busy as she was during the school year. She took a few classes to keep her schedule flexible for her practices and meets, joined a club crew team, and completed summer research at Temple Medical Center.
At Temple Medical Center, Biddulph worked with bioengineering professor Dr. Michel Lemay in his lab using electrodes to sense neuro-activity in cats as well as completing additional work on a spinal cooling device that was previously a senior design project. The spinal cooling device allows researchers to freeze portions of an animal's vertebrae to conduct testing. This causes a temporary paralysis and allows researchers to gather data without causing permanent damage to the animal.
Completing a course in addition to this research experience over the summer allowed Biddulph to stay on top of her degree requirements while balancing rowing during the school year. She explains, "I overloaded the first few years, 18 credits, summer classes, all of it, so I could have a more relaxing [senior] year."
Biddulph admits "the lack of time is a challenge," but is grateful that she decided to pursue this opportunity. "It's taught me a lot," she explains, "...it's taught me life lessons that I can take through engineering, medical, professional, anything." Biddulph credits her academic advisor, Danielle, for helping her keep a manageable schedule, while still completing all her obligations as a student athlete.
In the fall semester of her senior year, Biddulph is still weighing her options for her years after graduation. With an interest in neuroscience and medical school as her professional options, Biddulph also has an additional year of athletic eligibility she may use while pursuing a master's degree.
Regardless of the life path that Biddulph chooses, she feels certain her experience balancing school and rowing has prepared her life after college.