In the Game: When Everything Clicks

Aphnie germain '17 takes flight on the track but finds her grounding in research and with friends. Photo by Chris Knight.

Aphnie Germain '17 takes flight on the track but finds her grounding in research and with friends. Photo by Chris Knight.

by Caio Santos Rodrigues '16 

Student-athletes choose Dickinson for several reasons. Some want to be a part of a strong program; some want to participate in collegiate athletics without sacrificing academic pursuits. Many fall in love with Dickinson during a visit, where things just click. That was the case for track and field standout and biology major Aphnie Germain ’17. 

“It was the buildings—all the buildings,” she recalls. “I came in the fall and the leaves were falling. You know when you see something and you know this is meant to be? Just feel it in your heart, that blossoming? I thought, ‘I can see myself here.’ ” She soon joined the team as a walk on. “It was the best decision I’ve ever made, because I love competing.”

And compete she does—in the 100, 200 and 4x100 meter races outdoors; indoors she runs the 60, 200 and 4x200 meter. This year, she set a school record on the 60 meter dash (8.14) and earned a silver medal in the Centennial Conference outdoor championship. That competitive spirit has given her the confidence to set her sights on a career in medicine. 

Germain came to Dickinson on a Samuel Rose ’58 Scholarship and secured the National Science Foundations NSF-STEP scholarship before being awarded the Forney P. George Prize this spring. Germain also conducted original research with John Henson, Charles A. Dana Professor of Biology, and Missy Niblock, associate professor of biology, and she volunteered in a nursing home and a holistic clinic, experiences that opened her eyes to the need to make quality health care more widely accessible. Her goal is to return to Haiti, her home country, to improve its health care. “I can see myself in this field and I can see what I can do to make a difference,” Germain says. “That’s what is motivating me to keep going.”

Germain, tapped this spring to the Wheel and Chain women’s honor society, is also a member of the Pre-Health Society, the African American Society and the Latin American and Caribbean Club; she serves as a multicultural ambassador for the admissions office; and she works as a student supervisor at the Waidner-Spahr Library. Last fall, while studying abroad at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, England, she also joined that school’s track and field team.

For many, this might seem like a full schedule with no time to relax, but for Germain, it works. “Working, interacting with my friends and running helps me to relax,” she says. “My coach asks me, am I all right? My adviser’s like, am I all right? I talk to them, and I feel better because I know that people are here for me.” Nothing beats being around one’s teammates, she says, especially when everything clicks. Germain recalls one of these moments, when the Red Devils beat Johns Hopkins University in the 4x100 relay last year. “We were doing well and we thought, ‘We’ve got this,’ but then saw that our competitor was Johns Hopkins,” she says. “This was such a huge team. Then we actually beat them, and we were so happy. It was the best win ever.”

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Published July 12, 2016