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Star Outfielder “Keeps Eyes on the Ball” in Class

June 14, 2013

Cassandra Clayborne has been a student-athlete for as long as she can remember. The Honors Program student adeptly balances her coursework as a biology major with practices and road games with the Lady Bulldog softball team. She was named the 2012 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Rookie of the Year, while maintaining a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

Cassandra loves science because she wants to work toward finding solutions to improve people’s lives. “My parents always taught me to give back and help, and I think that science is a great way to do that,” she said. She envisions using her degree to set up a clinic in an underprivileged community.

Even as a star outfielder, Cassandra never loses focus on her schoolwork. Her teammates often find her studying on the field before and after practice. During away games, she totes her textbooks to the team dinners.

“Softball has taught me a lot. It teaches you how to balance your time – it teaches you how to make sacrifices,” she said. She has also learned effective communication and patience when working in a team – skills she uses in the classroom.

Cassandra attends Bowie State University on a full scholarship through the Honors Program, and she values the extra support she receives. “I love the Honors Program. It’s a big family,” she said. “[The staff] have great expectations for you, so if you slip up a little bit, they’re right there to tell you, ‘Get back on track.’”

The biology faculty have also encouraged Cassandra to pursue excellence in her academics. “The professors show you that they really want you to succeed and that they are going to be there for you,” she said.

Faculty recommendations helped Cassandra land an internship in summer 2013 with the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes for Health. She is working with scientists on immunotherapy cancer research.