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Kristy Witte '22

Pursuing Her Dream of Becoming a NCAA Division I Student-Athlete

Kristy Witte '22
Kristy Witte '22

When Kristy Witte '22 was in high school, she suffered two season-ending injuries, tearing the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in both knees. However, that did not stop her from pursuing her dream of becoming a NCAA Division I student-athlete.

“Coming back from knee surgery was really tough both times,” said Witte. "I knew I didn’t want to give up my goal of playing in college, so I kept working in physical therapy and practice to get back to where I was pre-injury.”

Witte’s grit and determination have served her well at UNCW. Not only is she a four-year member of the women’s beach volleyball team, but she will also graduate magna cum laude, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry and a minor in Spanish.

“I was originally going to be a biology major and go to pharmacy school after I graduated, but I took chemistry my first semester of college. I enjoyed the subject matter and did really well in the class,” she said.

Witte credits Dr. Bart Jones, a professor in the Department of Chemistry, for sparking her interest in pursuing a career in research. While at UNCW, she conducted research on enzymes in Dr. Soon Goo Lee’s biochemistry lab, participated in the Center for Support of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (CSURF) student research showcase and joined the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Witte plans to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University in the fall to pursue a doctoral degree in chemistry and will be choosing which research lab to work in for the next five to six years. After that, she hopes to work in the chemical biology industry. But before beginning her next phase of education, she intends to travel this summer to visit London, Paris and Nice.

As she reflects on her experience at UNCW, this Class of 2022 graduate says she will miss seeing all her friends who have worked with her in the research labs and in classes within the departments of chemistry and biochemistry. She also hopes she has set an example for student-athletes to succeed academically, especially in the sciences.