Earlier this month, senior women’s rower Ma’at Hembrick was recognized for her academic and athletic excellence with the Arthur Ashe Jr. Sport Scholar Award. The award is given to one member of each individual college sport nationally, with Hembrick winning the award in the category of women’s rowing.
The Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award is named after famed tennis icon Arthur Ashe. The award is meant to recognize students who have shown dedication to both academic and athletic performance. Hembrick has managed to balance both her life in the boat and life in the classroom in exemplary fashion during her time at LMU.
However, through all this, she still remains humble and grounded in her achievements.
“I’m just very grateful to be recognized because it is such a prestigious award. I’ve been familiar with Arthur Ashe since I was a kid because I used to play tennis. It hasn’t really hit me yet.”
Members of the crew team wake up nearly every morning at the crack of dawn to either work out on campus or row in Marina Del Rey. This type of schedule can become very taxing on a student’s mind and body. However, Hembrick powered through. She excelled as a rower while also maintaining a high grade point average.
The rower admitted that despite the success she has had, she still finds it difficult to balance her sporting responsibilities and her school work.
“I’m still not too great at it — it’s really hard. It’s a balance between taking stuff day-by-day and [getting overwhelmed] with all you have to do, and also trying to plan ahead as much as possible. So I try to just stay as grounded as I can.”
Hembrick is also someone who firmly believes that the skills developed in sports are applicable in other areas of life as well. This growth through hard work as a team is something that many student-athletes benefit from. The skills learned on any respective playing field help athletes get ahead in areas outside of sports where these skills are transferable.
Commenting on what sports have taught her, Hembrick stated, “[They] definitely taught me discipline and being able to do something even when you really don’t want to do it. For practice, we have to get up at 5 o’clock every morning. We don’t want to, but we know that it pays off at the end of the season.”
Hembrick is almost complete in her pursuit of a degree in health and human sciences, a major within the Seaver College of Science and Engineering. The rower has lofty personal goals for herself after graduation. Hembrick is looking to become an obstetrician-gynecologist, a doctor who specializes in delivering babies.
“As of now, I want to go to medical school in the fall and, with that, become an [obstetrician-gynecologist]. The purpose of that is to one day open my own clinic," said Hembrick. "I want to have an entire women’s clinic for low socioeconomic groups in my community ... I want to take everything I have learned at this school about community and service and take that back to my community.”
Matching the high aspirations of Hembrick, the women’s crew team she is a part of has high hopes for themselves as their season nears its conclusion. They will head to Sacramento this weekend to compete in the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Championships. On May 18, the Lions will participate in the West Coast Conference. If the Lions can pull off a first-place finish there, they can earn a spot at the NCAA Rowing Championships for the first time in program history.