Lehigh softball graduate student outfielders Josie Charles and Emily Cimino spoke with The Brown and White about their time on the team and key takeaways as they head into their final season.
Q: Looking ahead, in what ways do you think your time at Lehigh will have a lasting impact?
Josie Charles: Lehigh has really prepared me for the real world. I’ve had such a great time here and have made a lot of connections with alumni. I’ve also learned a lot of skills at Lehigh such as leadership skills and the ability to become a better person.
Emily Cimino: I’ve learned a lot and have grown a lot over the years at Lehigh. Time management between the hard academics and softball schedule (Charles and I) have had has set me up really well for my future. Being a student-athlete, especially at Lehigh, will bode well for me.
Q: How have your younger teammates impacted your graduate season thus far? Have these impacts varied heavily since the end of your undergraduate career at Lehigh?
JC: It’s always so fun to have new players come onto the team. Younger players are always extra excited which helps me get excited. Seeing them get to experience a new place and feel at home is great. The big difference now is that I’m the oldest on the team, but otherwise, I wouldn’t say much else is different.
EC: I don’t think undergraduate versus graduate status has been really different on the team, but it’s always nice to have new players come in with different personalities and new energy. It’s so cool to get to know new people every year.
Q: What has been the most memorable game you’ve played at Lehigh?
JC: I’d say there probably are two. Two years ago, we won the Patriot League Championship and that was super exciting. It was extra exciting because it was on (Boston University’s) home field and they have traditionally been our rivals. The other one would be when we beat Alabama last year, which was absolutely surreal. They were ranked pretty high, and we beat them on their home field in the season-opening game.
EC: There are two that come to mind — the championship game of the Patriot League the year that we won, which was a ton of fun, and also the Alabama game. You can’t forget that one. It was the first time Lehigh had beat a team from the SEC, I think, ever. Those games were really memorable.
Q: How are you feeling about the upcoming season? Does your status as a graduate student compel you to take on more of a leadership role on the team?
JC: I’m so excited about the upcoming year. I think we have a fantastic team and are capable of having exciting games and competitive games. Hopefully, we can win a Patriot League championship which would be really fun. As for my graduate status, I think (I) want to help better the team in any way that I can and sometimes that means assuming a leadership role and helping communication among everyone on the team.
EC: We have a lot of great players who can do a lot of really special things this year. From a leadership standpoint, I do think that as one of the older people on the team, younger players definitely look up to me — because of that, I find myself in leadership roles frequently and I’ve chosen to embrace that.
Q: What are your plans after Lehigh? Dream job? Location?
JC: I’m still trying to figure that out a little bit. I’m in the process of applying to graduate schools. For some background, I applied for a Fulbright grant in industrial analytics, which is similar to my undergraduate degree in industrial and systems engineering, to do a second master’s (degree) abroad in Sweden. If I get that, then I’ll be doing it. Otherwise, my plan is to attend a Ph.D. program which I’m in the process of applying to now.
EC: Next year I’ll be starting physician assistant school at DeSales which is really exciting. I’m looking to have a career in the medical field as a (physician’s assistant). I don’t know exactly the direction I’m leaning toward yet, but right now I like orthopedics.
Q: What is the biggest lesson you’re taking away from your time at Lehigh?
JC: Don’t be afraid to do hard things, and I mean that in every aspect of life. In softball, there are mentally challenging things and hard days in the weight room where you have to push yourself to do things that are hard. Try things you don’t necessarily know you are going to succeed in. If you want to study abroad, do it. Even if you don’t know what that might look like, you will always figure it out.
EC: I would say that I’ve always known I have to work hard for things, but being at Lehigh and dealing with tough academics and a hard softball schedule has taught me how to balance everything (like) time management and organization.