IUPUI’s roster of CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, having stood at 10 through nearly two decades of NCAA Division I competition, grew by two this fall when seniors Sarah Jacobs and Kori Waelbroeck became the first honorees from IUPUI’s women’s soccer and volleyball teams, respectively. Jacobs has a 4.0 GPA as a health sciences major in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, while Waelbroeck has the same GPA as a community health major in the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. The Evansville natives talked last week with IU Communications about the award, favorite IUPUI professors and when they last made a B in school.
Q: You’ll always be the first Academic All-Americans in your respective sports at IUPUI. How special is this honor?
Kori Waelbroeck: This is what being a student-athlete means. I’m really happy to represent the university. It’s special for me as a person, and it’s fun to see your name with all those other people who are great students, including people you played against. We played Lily Johnson from Missouri State, the Academic All-American of the year in volleyball.
Q: How does the pressure of maintaining a 4.0 compare to the pressure of college sports?
Sarah Jacobs: We compete as athletes; it’s kind of the same deal, but you’re competing against yourself. I went into college putting that goal for myself – not really as pressure, but seeing if it was attainable. As the semesters kept going on, I did find it attainable, and I wanted to keep that standard.
KW: I definitely did not come to college thinking I would keep a 4.0, but the first couple of semesters it happened – and then the pressure kind of builds. This last semester, I was thinking, “I can’t get an A-minus, or it’ll just be embarrassing.” I’m just happy I made it through.
Q: Any close calls along the way?
KW: I took sign language my second semester, and that was a pretty close one, just because that was something completely new. I got a 93 in another class; that’s pretty much the cutoff for an A.
SJ: Organic chemistry – that was a doozy. Fall of my junior year, in soccer season. It was a stressful one.
Q: Do you even remember your last B?
KW: The only B I remember was in Algebra II in high school. I had one other A-minus.
SJ: My high school was on a number system. Instead of A-B-C-D-F, it was 6-5-4-3-2, so basically a 6 was an A, 5 was a B, and so on. I got a 5 in Calculus and another one in an English class where I took the final and didn’t see a page of it. I missed like 20 points on that one page, and my teacher wouldn’t let me go back and do it.
Q: What have been some favorite classes and favorite professors at IUPUI?
KW: One of my professors in the School of Public Health, Charity Bishop, has been a great mentor – just a great person to talk to about what I want to do with my program and what I want to do for my degree in general. And a professor last year, Tess Weathers, taught social determinants in health, which is interesting as to how your socioeconomic status and your education level affect your health. She was just so passionate about the material and really interested in students in general.
SJ: Anatomy this last semester with Dr. Michael Yard. He’s very involved in the university and just makes his lectures very interesting. He’s very passionate about anatomy and seeing other people succeed, and he makes it known that he would do anything for anybody if they came to him. He was a great professor. I also enjoyed Dr. Amber Comer; she’s in my field. She taught ethics and really broadened my viewpoint in how I think about things, especially toward health care and the care I will one day be giving others.
Q: Is it strange to think you’re now just a student, not a student-athlete?
SJ: It is weird, but I don’t think it has set in as much as it will when all of my teammates will be practicing in the spring and I’m not going to have to be there.
KW: I’m looking at playing professionally, so I’m going to stay in shape and not forget how to play volleyball.
Q: Sarah, you had a remarkable end to your career with the Horizon League title after three wild tournament games. Are you still talking about it with your teammates?
SJ: We knew this season was something special. We almost broke the school record for consecutive games won. Then, when we got to tournament time, we knew we couldn’t let it all go to waste. We still look at each other and say, “We won, right? We did this.” It’s amazing, and it’s something I’m always going to be thankful for having experienced.
Q: If you have two hours on campus to study, where are you going?
SJ: I really like the library. I’m not going to lie: I’m a library nerd.
KW: The library, too. We were forced to do study table hours as freshmen, and I got comfortable there doing homework. I always go to the fourth floor. It’s not a quiet floor; people are working together. It’s comforting to be there with a lot of people. I just got into the habit of going to the library when I had a chance.