Lehigh junior women’s tennis player Hamsa Javagal has a drive to help and connect with others, whether it be on the tennis court or through her online content.
She is one of the Patriot League’s premier athletes, with a first-team All-league selection, as well as being recognized with the Lehigh women’s tennis outstanding athlete award last season.
Off the court, Javagal has over 2,500 subscribers on her YouTube channel with 94 videos. Javagal posts videos about her “day in the life,” student-athlete pros and cons, how to pass organic chemistry, Certified Clinical Medical Assistant questions, poems, and singing music covers.
Javagal said she started her YouTube channel during the COVID-19 pandemic because she had a lot of free time on her hands.
“I thought to myself, ‘I love poetry, why don’t I record my poems as audiobooks?” Javagal said. “So that’s kind of how I started off my YouTube channel.”
She racked up over 47,000 views on a video titled, “I’m sorry for hurting you — Sentimental Messages,” with many other videos receiving thousands of views as well.
Javagal said her audience started growing around six months into starting her channel, and that’s when she started making more videos in other niches. When Javagal’s videos started gaining more views she realized she was doing something right.
“I love video editing, and I love helping people, which is also one of the reasons that I want to be a doctor,” Javagal said.
She said one of her favorite videos is “A day in the life of a medical assistant,” which shared an experience that was meaningful to her.
Javagal studies biology and hopes to go to medical school after graduation. She said her dream is to be a dermatologist and help those with skin cancer. She worked as a medical assistant in a dermatology clinic and said she fell in love with the profession even more as she saw it firsthand.
“I’ve been to the dermatologist for various reasons, and that’s why this career really resonates with me, due to my personal experiences,” Javagal said. “I want to be able to help people just like those doctors helped me.”
Aside from her YouTube channel, Javagal also researched sickle cell disease while traveling in Sierra Leone through Lehigh’s Office of Creative Inquiry. She said her team is working on creating a device that can test sickle cell disease in low-income countries such as Sierra Leone.
“We’re working to make it affordable and point-of-care, which means that it would be able to be used like a COVID test,” Javagal said. “So in 15 minutes, you would know your status.”
Javagal said she started playing tennis back home in Brentwood, Tennessee, because her mother played badminton in college and her father played cricket, and they thought tennis was similar to both sports.
She was 9 years old when she played her first tournament. She said this sparked her interest in playing college tennis as she loved the competition aspect.
Javagal said her previous season was one of the best seasons she’s had and believes it’s because of her “give it your all, not worrying about the results” mindset while also getting her fitness levels up.
“I feel like I’ve grown a lot from the sport itself and just playing at the Division I level with such a great team, as it teaches you a lot of things like time management, team bonding and leadership, which are all qualities that are very important not only on the court but also off the court,” Javagal said.
Coach Olivia Leavitt’s first time meeting Javagal was when she coached against her before she committed to Lehigh. Leavitt said she already knew Javagal was a versatile player with a high tennis IQ.
She said Javagal has been a leader on and off the team as she is a strong tennis player but is also involved in many other programs and activities.
“She definitely does a lot, and it’s obviously amazing how she can manage it all and excel at it too,” Leavitt said. “She definitely holds herself to high standards which makes everyone else around her better too.”
Javagal is the Student Outreach Committee Chair in the Student Senate and plans events such as The Rivalry tailgate, Civic Engagement Day and Diner en Blanc, a formal event that brings together students and faculty to celebrate the end of the academic year.
Her first-year teammate Audrey Harrington said despite all of her commitments, Javagal has been a resource for her because of how understanding she is.
During a doubles match Harrington played with Javagal, Harrington said she was making a “ton of mistakes,” but Javagal saw this and tried to help.
“(She said), ‘It’s okay, we’re just practicing right now,’” Harrington said. “She didn’t mind how I was missing or anything, she kind of just saw that I was struggling and wanted to help me out.”